Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First Days

Wow Boy! Monday was tough -- physically tough. During the summer the janitors remove everything from your room so they can buff the floors. It appears they don't do much else except maybe turn your desk upside down six or seven times and shake it and leave your lounge chairs in the classroom across the hall and completely lose your bookcase. They don't clean anything. But the floors sure do shine. After doing the floors, they put stuff back in classrooms, but they don't much care whose room things go back into.

The first days are always spent on a scavenger hunt, looking for your desk chair, the keyboard to your computer, and your overhead projector. I didn't go in to school early this year; I spent the last free days of summer wallowing in TV reruns of Stargate and Burn Notice. So Monday, I came into a huge classroom mess.

It was hot. And humid. Very humid. Though we are air conditioned, the size of the school and the height of the ceilings preclude us getting nice and chilly. I spent the first hour pushing around loaded bookcases and file cabinets. By the time I had worked up a complete sweat it was time for the first all school faculty meeting.

I spent lunch snacking on the sandwich Hubby had provided and moving my teacher's desk and setting up the computer equipment. Then it was time to head down four flights of stairs to the cafeteria to get the equipment needed for the newest faculty push -- MIRP (used to be called Sustained Silent Reading back in the '80's -- now it's Monitored Independent Reading Practice). The whole school will be participating this year. The tub, the file folders, and labels, and the hanging strip blanket (which looks a lot like a shoe rack with much smaller cellophane panels) had to be lugged back to the third floor.

Next we had MIRP training. Then back up to the third floor to push around more furniture and work up a good lathering sweat before finally going home at 4 p.m.

I got home, fell into bed, and passed out. Hubby fixed me a plate of pancakes (comfort food) for dinner, I took a bath, and passed out a second time. My whole body hurt. I told Hubby the only thing not in dire pain were my lips, my ear lobes, and my eye lashes. Somehow I had wrenched my bad knee, strained my back, and pulled my shoulder and neck muscles. I took a muscle relaxer at bed time and when I woke up at midnight I swallowed my second Celebrex of the day (I try for only one a day and only if in dire pain -- but by midnight I was still unable to walk upright).

At 3 a.m. when I woke up to turn over (the arthritis is bad enough I can no longer turn over in my sleep) I was still in misery. But two more hours helped enormously and by 5 a.m. I was feeling much more normal.

Today we had Convocation -- away from my high school. Then it was SPED meetings in the afternoon at the downtown convention center. I spent the day, happily sitting on my butt. It was much needed rest.

Tomorrow I'm once again back at my high school, going to meetings and pushing around my classroom furniture to try and find a pleasing arrangement. Thursday is dedicated to spending a whole day in our classrooms, working on lesson plans and adding "pretty" touches to make the room feel more home-like.

On Friday the Freshmen will come for a day of orientation but this year, for the first time, a group of student mentors will be handling the entire day -- and the faculty is delirious with the joy that this freedom brings us.

Let me add that Convocation today was really lovely. Instead of importing pompous speakers and people of dubious importance, this district puts on a home-grown show of good cheer and support. The faculty members who can play instruments make up the band. The ROTC brings out the flags. The teachers of excellence selected throughout the year are honored. The superintendent tells some funny stories about her year. This year, at the conclusion, a kid came out and asked if we believed in him (the district motto is "We Believe") and he was charming and outgoing and well-rehearsed and we cheered him lustily, as he ran through the secretaries, the custodians, the cafeteria workers, the principals, the down-town administrators, and the teachers. It was a sweet, warm, soulful experience from a district who is proud of its accomplishments and aware of its shortcomings.

I'm very, very proud to say I teach in here. Now if only my poor old body would just cooperate . . .


Margaret said...

You make my body hurt just thinking about it. I'll need to organize my desks too,which get all "arranged" by the custodians--and not in the way I like. I like the sound of your convocation; we had rallies a few times in our SD stadium, but they were really boring.

Donna said...

Do you take glucosamine? It doesn't get rid of arthritis pain entirely, but it seems to help.

I've had my knees scraped a couple of times, and I know eventually I'll be getting knee replacements. Once I retired from my job, though, the pain became much less.