Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"...And I Feel Fine"

The second day of school, even without kids, was much better than the first. There are good reasons.

One, I went to the building where I teach instead of some conference center. I opened the windows and put on music as I put my room together. Being there made me think about learning in good ways rather than feeling stifled by lectures at a bad conference.

Two, my colleagues were there. We were in good moods. Sure, we still grumbled about yesterday's nonsense, a day lost to bad presentations about things that don't matter, but it was a new day. We dropped by one another's rooms and it probably seemed like we were just bullshitting, but we were getting back in touch with the people we depend on to do this job.

Three, we worked mostly alone in our classrooms. Listening to music, typing at computers, hanging posters, labeling folders. We were left to do our work. No supervision, no agendas, no meetings.

Four, things had the shape of a school day. I showed up half an hour early just because I needed the tone being there would set for me. We stayed through to quitting time, said goodnight and see you tomorrow.

It felt like school in good ways even as I printed out Common Core nonsense and wrote lesson plans on a damn template that in no way fits my teaching. It felt good to create ideas for students. I thought about writing and reading, speaking and listening, thinking and learning. All that plays to my skill set. It's a set of delightfully challenging puzzles for me to solve and today I got down to that business.

I still don't belong in my school system and I'm still leaning toward getting out of teaching, but I'm calmer. Yesterday I wanted to quit the job and burn down the profession. I was tired and worn down. Today I could see that when I close the door tomorrow and talk with kids, when we put pen to paper, magic will happen. Magic makes me smile. Running away gets me in trouble. Moving on with a smile just might take me wherever I want to go.

Solving puzzles and getting down to business. That's a good theme. Yesterday I wanted to solve my problem, today I want to solve the puzzle. That difference is everything.

Tomorrow it gets more interesting. I get to spend the day with students wondering what is in store for them. I'm curious too. I wonder what we'll get up to. I haven't figured it all out. At the conference yesterday, a presenter suggested that we should have the whole thing mapped out. That's crazy wrong. I ground my teeth about it then. Today, I smile, shake my head and head into tomorrow saying, write on.