Monday, September 12, 2005

On The Fly 

Parent visiting night coming up Thursday, my own parents coming up tomorrow, plenty of grading to do in the intervening evening, and our temporarily local library is open 'til 9:00 tonight, so everclever I chose procrastination over the two-hour screaming fiasco that has become our children's bedtime ritual. To be fair, it was my wonderwife's sggestion that we each take a night off this week. Pity I left the iPod at home.

Surely the girls are glad to get me out of their hair. Monday it may be, and the scholday short, but I've been coming home drained, still struggling to ration the adrenaline as the job comes together. Where other teachers teach four classes, broken up by a full-period prep and a full lunch, I teach thre of my own, two of someone else's, and in the tween hours flit throughout the building, planing for more to come, laying board in front, building the bridge as I cross it.

It's my kind of work, to be sure: a wide mandate, free reign to fulfil it as I see fit, supportive and trusting supervisors on each of the myriad weblines that radiate out from my frenetic center. I've made a name for myself as a solver of long-standing cultural stagnation, a creator of situations, a pitter of problems against problems where'er possible. The Math teacher I partnered with today and tomorrow asked for my instructional support in part because "the kids think you're so much fun" -- not a bad commendation for a metateacher and co-conspirator less than ten days into the job.

They care, too. The principal asks me to please keep myself from burning out, though I'm just geting started, and love the hot flame, the tapdance on the edge of sanity. My assigned mentor suggests that I keep my ear open for mention of "tacos," this institution's cultural code (every business has one) for drinks after work, perhaps at the Ground Round, where our hardworking faculty are known for closing the bar. The administrators offer me coffe, though I haven't joined the club.

And as go the supervisors, so go the served. Teachers wait patiently, ask questions, adapt to my new rules about library lab sign-ups with little resistance. The kids bug me about the nicotene gum (but really, I remind them, would you want me to be the kind of teacher who follows the rules to the letter, and in doing so keep them on my side for one more hilarious rendition of "FAQ is not an obscenity."). The janitors board up the broken shelves without a work request just because "you looked like you deserved it."

It's my kind of work, to be sure: my throat burns at the end of the day and I love it.

Walking into a mass of ready-to-drop blood-of-my-blood, undismissable and often cranky, can be a tough end, especially when I walk in the door squeezed dry, a full day's energy expended before the shadows stretch even past the classroom perimeter.

But it's great, too, to come back at day's end to a grinning infant sprouting new red hair like her daddy; a thre-year-old in her underwear runing to the door for a hug; a calm and centered wonderwife reading furniture catalogs at the center of the whirlwind.

Though the tiny nest we've borrowed chafes at our psyche, the cool wooded end is near. Soon, my family, the whirlwind will cease, the balance will be struck, the home will be a haven. Peace is on the tip of our tongues, our horizons, or Christmas stockings. I can feel it in the air, as sure as Indian Summer.

posted by boyhowdy | 6:23 PM |

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