Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why it can only get better from here

As a teacher, the first day of school is always a bit of a nerve-wracking affair. I used to have nightmares about oversleeping and missing my class, and what do you know- one time I overslept and almost missed my class. This year my classes are at noon and 1:00, though, so oversleeping isn't an issue. I woke up this morning before my alarm went off, even, and laid in bed another blissful half hour with the covers pulled up to my chin and the cool morning air drifting through the open windows. I did want to make sure I wasn't late, though, and I still had syllabi to copy and classrooms to find, so I got ready in short order and arrived on campus two hours early. After circling through full parking lots for ten minutes, I realized that perhaps they hadn't been kidding at orientation when they said parking was a problem. I moved from lot to lot, finally locating a spot right on the end that looked... well, it sort of looked like a spot. Though it was right next to a handicapped space, and looked like it had at one time been marked with yellow paint that had either faded almost completely away over time, or had been removed. I hesitated. It almost seemed too good to be true- why would everyone else have by-passed this primo (although admittedly sketchy-looking) parking spot unless they knew something I didn't? I didn't have too many other options at the time, though, so I parked and hoped for the best. By the time I had finished my copies and scouted my classroom location, it was only 10:30, so I decided to grab a coffee and hang out in my dark, windowless dungeon office until class. I self-served some Green Mountain French Roast with Hazelnut Creamer into a paper cup and placed it on the counter to pay for it, which set off a chain reaction of the lid popping off, coffee sloshing all over the counter and burning my hand, and my face turning a deep, scarlet red. But still though, I thought, it could have been worse. I could have spilled hot coffee all over myself, or on my new white skirt. (I know, what is up with the optimism, right?) And so, with my coffee cup half full (half full!) I left to waste some time on the internet before class. Once in my office, and having exhausted all my Facebook, e-mail, and Google Reader possibilities, I timed my departure so that I wouldn't arrive to class too early, because then you end up staring at the students and twiddling your thumbs for five minutes, and you know, awkward. So, of course I ended up flying through the door at 12:01, winded, disheveled, and gasping out a strangled bonjour as the students glanced around nervously at each other, wondering what in the farfegnugen they'd gotten themselves into this semester. Whatever, I mean it's not like first impressions are that important or anything. Right?

"Bonjour!" I said again brightly, trying to compose myself. "Je m'appelle Rachel [last name]..." I said, grabbing a dry erase marker and scribbling my name on the board, as several students gasped and interrupted me. "Um... that's not a white board," they said, their voices ricocheting off of each other in their haste. "That's a smart board." Though the board in question was by definition a white board, or a board that was white, anyway, apparently it was not the white board, which was located several inches to the left of the so called "smart board." I wasn't entirely sure what a smart board was, only that it sounded expensive, and like it could probably teach the class for me (and maybe do a better job at it), and that I had just defaced it with green marker. (Though it ended up wiping right off, so all's well that ends well.)

I muddled my way through the next two hours, handing out syllabi and hemming and hawing my way through questions I didn't know the answers to regarding scheduling and placement and online registration before promising to find out the answers and get back to them, and then sending them on their merry way. I then spent an astonishing amount of time (even for me) wandering around various parking lots looking for my car and getting rained on. I wouldn't have minded so much except that I was getting pretty wet (white skirt and all), because of course I didn't have my umbrella. Because it was in the car. (The car that I couldn't find.) I did finally find it sitting in the same wonky parking space I had left it (of course), and hey, what do you know- no ticket!

I decided to count the day as a success.

(And yes, my life is just as boring as this post would indicate, so, you know, different place, same old story. Though I did just see deer! through my bedroom window. I gasped out loud and it froze in place, listening. Then it went away and another one came, and then that one left and then a different one came, and then it peed! A deer peed in my yard! So you see, you never know what crazy shenanigans will happen next. Stay tuned, folks...)

9 comments:

  1. Haha. You are teaching french now? I love it.

    Also, I am liking the tone of this post. You sound much better than a few weeks ago. Happy to hear it!

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  2. "...my life is just as boring..."

    Sometimes "boring" morphs into "content." You're going to get to that happy (or content) place. Give it time.

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  3. Hazel nut creamer? Yuck. No wonder you don't have a boyfriend!

    M.

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  4. i recently accidentally wrote on a smart board, too. after class i went to erase everything (my students i guess aren't as nice as yours, they didn't tell me), and it wouldn't come off. i went to the bathroom for supplies; so there i was with a roll of toilet paper (no paper towels, of course) and that nasty pink stuff they call soap scrubbing away for about a 1/2 hour. all's well that ends well i guess..

    sounds like your first day was pretty good. not too many nerves, a little spilled coffee, and no ticket. woohoo!

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  5. If it were me in this situation, I definitely would have gotten a parking ticket. My parking karma is miserable.

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  6. In crafting my cute little riposte above, I completely failed at the friendship thing...which is to wish you a truly happy and productive career. You're just beginning and things will be exciting and novel-worthy in no time. Be well!

    M.

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  7. seriously, what's a smart board? is it one of those things where you write on it with water and then it dries and fades? I doubt it - but that'd be awesome. Imagine the scribbling of the students bwhahaha (this is why I am not a teacher).

    You sound like a spectacular teacher! :)

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  8. Wait, you're a French teacher now? How'd I miss that??

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