A Funny Thing Happened At Work Today
I liked my job.
This was highly unlikely because it was the first day back after spring break. I have been nuturing a pit of bitter anxiety about this day. It had been growing in my stomach, honestly, since before spring break even started. I would think to myself: it will be so awesome to be on spring break; no kids, administrators, lesson plans, etc. for 11 days.
But then, before that thought had really had a chance to develop and come into its own; and before I really had a chance to revel in it: Goddamn…it’s going to suck to come back. Everybody will be crazy. The dicks will be bigger dicks. The lazy will be more lazy. The mostly absent will simply disappear. It’s just so bad to be there that the longer I am away the more painful will be the return. I feel like a space shuttle with damaged heat tiles. Reentry may kill me.
The exact some thing happens in minature every Sunday night and, really, almost every day. The anxiety of going back drives people crazy. I can’t quite put my finger on it. But it has something to do with not being able to just amble into work and sort of pick up where you left off. You have to have a goddamn plan for everything, all the time. I know exactly what is going to happen today, yet I have to plan it? That drives me nuts.
Anyway, I walk into the school this morning…slowly. And immediately it became biblical. I walked into the building, knowing there was a meeting somewhere I should be at in about 10 minutes. So I run into a friend at about 7:52. Asking about the meeting I say, “So, what’s going on?”
“Crying, wailing, and gnashing of teeth,” he says.
I already knew that. But where is the meeting?
So the day wore on.
But today was actually a pretty good day. I had a hunch that there would be no career-make-or-break-surprise observations today. So I relaxed and taught. Ahhhh…….
The best part was in government class. Talking about separation of powers and checks and balances and all manner of good government things. The question came up about the difference between impeachment and removal from office and all that. Bill Clinton, etc.
Then, spontaneously…and, believe me, I know how crucial it is to kill spontaneity in the classroom in all its non-standard forms…I starting talking about Nixon. They don’t know anything about Nixon, but some have heard of Watergate. I explained what the building is and where. I told them the story of the break in, the cover up, and how Gerald Ford became President of the United States without ever having been elected president or vice president because Agnew was already gone. It was all off the grid. Unrelated to any project. Unrelated to the standard on the white board. Unrelated to what I had thought we would be discussing.
But it was so much fun. Questions and answers. Making me think. Making them think. Making them make genuinely quizzical looks on their faces.
I felt like a teacher on a day I really didn’t expect to.