Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ms. C's Got (A) Class!

It’s almost 10PM, and I sit at my computer sipping some cold Ovaltine, reflecting on sore feet and a very long day. I expected the first day of classes to be hectic and troublesome, but not the day which teacher return to the classroom to setup and gather for workshops. I am a wreck, seriously exhausted, but dying to get back into the classroom and do it again tomorrow.

I spent an hour last night, slowly poring over my wardrobe, wanting to wear something professional, but allowing my comfort and stability for moving around my new classroom and setting up shop. Helpless to the impulse to impress, knowing how difficult it can be, being the new kid on the block.

The day began with teachers flocking to the cafeteria for free bagels and gossip, moving toward an hour long speech by our principal and a 90 minute power point presentation on blood-born pathogens. Fun! You honestly don’t know pleasure until you sit on a lunch bench for 3 hours…my ass felt like hamburger meat fresh from the grinder.

But after all that state-mandated chuff I got to the fun part: working on my classroom! Except I walked into my class, and the floor is littered with shards of glass from several broken windows. A chilly, late-summer breeze flowed casually through the empty casements. Wonderful. There is a completely disconnected sink still attached into the wall, and murals of peeling paint mixed with the snowy white blotches of joint compound on the walls. Welcome to New York City public schools.


(A photo re-enactment...not actual classroom)

I’m sure how the principal felt when I complained about the glass and lack of bulletin boards. Something about the tender-foot green teacher without so much as a certificate or a backbone…but honestly, how could I feel comfortable teaching students in a class that was, as I learned later, broken into? Happily enough I got moved to a new room, in much better shape.

The next few hours flew by as I papered and bordered bulletin boards, put up my standards, my motivational pieces and my word walls. I met not one, but my two paraprofessionals who will be with me in my class, guarding my teenage denizens against themselves and others. Hopefully, it will work out for the best between the three of us. Ms. J seems very kind, very helpful and a hard worker and Ms. W can be described as strong to the point of willful. (I can’t really hope that they maintain helpful and cooperative attitudes more than I can pray from my own assertive stance.)

One interaction of note was with my principal; I asked her if the school had extracurricular activities like a book club or drama guild. She guffawed loudly, perhaps at the very thought, and walked into the main office. Fabulous. Can we say work cut out for me?

Tomorrow: Ms. C gets keys to her classroom! Buys a padlock for her closet! Gets the results of her tuberculosis skin test that she took on Wednesday! Takes pictures of her classroom!

Stay tuned!

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