Hot, Tired and…

I’m not sure that I am cut out to be a teacher. We haven’t even completed the second week of school and I’m exhausted. More specifically- I’m hot and tired and pissed. And I’m not even a teacher yet.

It’s September and approximately 147 degrees outside, after dark. This heat is excessive. To make matters worse, you could hang meat in most of the classrooms on campus. There is a 193 degree difference between inside and outside. It makes me cranky to lug six layers of clothing around in my bag to account for this.

I’m tired. I don’t sleep regular hours like a normal person. I sleep in chunks of four or five hours, take a break and maybe go back to bed. I like naps. My schedule this semester doesn’t allow for that. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I have five solid hours of class beginning at 9:00 a.m. I’m only a student for two of those hours and a teacher for none. I help a professor who is hard of hearing by repeating what the students say in class directly into his ear. It’s not a hard job. I don’t need to make lesson plans or create course content, but I stand by his side for three hours. If my mind wanders, I miss student replies. If I stop paying attention, I’m liable to be winged with a wildly gesticulating arm during the exciting parts of the lecture.

During my breaks in the day three days a week, I work five shifts in the campus learning center as a writing assistant. I love all kids I’ve worked with so far and they give me energy, but not so much time for my own work. I have great classes this semester. Classes that I’m excited about- a godsend after last spring’s semester. Classes that require me to be creative and live an authentic literate life. I have so many things I want to do to fulfill these requirements. I struggle to find the time. We preach time management to the kids that come to learning center, but I can’t do it.

I’m pissed. I’m pissed because today a professor insinuated that one of the kids I work with will have trouble passing a freshman level class. This kid has the ability. This kid sparkles, this kid has energy and personality. This kid knows what a mistake is. I’m already invested in this kid’s success. The professor has taught for a long time. Maybe I am not a good judge of ability, but I know that I will never write a kid off after five class periods.

I’m pissed because I’m hot and tired and out of food that doesn’t need to be cooked, so I went to Safeway. The sandwich meat I bought tastes bad. Not only am I out five bucks, but I don’t still don’t have any food that doesn’t need cooked tonight, or for tomorrow either. Bread and cheese it is, rounded out with apples and the few pickles remaining in the bottom of the jar, for the next two days.

But today there was also time during one of the class periods in which I am that professor’s ears when he left the room for individual conferences and I got to write in my notebook while the students wrote quietly at their tables. We shared writing together! Today one of my professor’s read us a book about a fish and a snail, and shared two really inspiring poems, along with a wealth of planning ideas. Today I sat down to write before I did my “real” homework. Today I think maybe I can do this.

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2 thoughts on “Hot, Tired and…

  1. Sitting down to write before you begin your real homework sounds like a win to me. I’m really excited that you’re blogging this semester. I love your writing, Melissa. Voice, voice, voice. In my first year teaching, I struggled with a lot of challenging students and what I heard most often from colleagues was “you might as well give up on that student, you aren’t going to be able to reach them, they shouldn’t even be here,” etc. And I don’t get that. If you’re a teacher, you should be in the business of hope. You should be in the business of recognizing and nurturing untapped potential.

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  2. Sometimes I feel like I’m the meat hanging in the classroom. Loved the imagery here, Melissa. Not only was I laughing half the time, but I was also sympathizing. We have a wonderful community here that understand, and that’s why I love blogging. Thank you for sharing your week with me, and I’m happy for the glimmer of hope that the end.

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