Monday, August 25, 2008

87.8 degrees and Dr. Alonso visiting my classroom

A couple of Christmases ago, my parents got me a digital wall clock that also tells the temperature, both inside and out. I used it for a bit, but I have a thermostat, so am never really wondering what the temperature is. I got the idea this year to bring it into my classroom, figuring the large digital features might help with timing, on occasion, and kind of totally forgetting about the temperature gauge.

Today, though, I concentrated on that little number every period. At 7:45 am, I had come from a decent workout (6:00-7:30) at the YMCA, and, despite my shower, was still sweating a bit. Taking two loads of crap up the four flights of stairs to my classroom didn't help matters, and, by 8 am, the time the students arrived, I was pretty much drenched in sweat.

That's sort of my m.o., though; I'm always sweating when I teach, especially in September and October. Last year, one young man, when doing a parody of 9th grade teachers in his drama class, portrayed me by running across the hall to the drinking fountain, drenching himself with water, and then teaching. I try to embrace it, I guess, knowing there's nothing I can really do about being high-energy and naturally sweaty in a 90-degree environment. I wear tons of antiperspirant and carry around a sweat towel and drink tons of cold water but I'm still a hot mofo.

The thermometer didn't help matters. Every hour, I saw it inching upwards. 83 degrees at 8am. 85 by 10am. It did not go above 90, but hit a high of 87.8 degree sometime in the early afternoon. It felt hotter, though - no breeze through the windows, considerable humidity.

I was drenched in sweat, then, when Dr. Alonso, the Superintendent of schools, stepped into my classroom at around 1:15 pm today. We had heard rumors over the last few days that he was going to visit, but I thought the rumors had passed, so certainly was not expecting him. I just looked over, and, all of a sudden, there he was - shorter than I'd imagined him, a little thinner, smiling at me in the doorway. With him was an entourage - my principal, an older woman who I didn't recognize, my department head, another adult figure I didn't know - and, as always when something like that happens, I didn't quite know what to do. Go over and shake the hand of a man I'd come to respect quite a bit over his year running the schools? Ignore them? I decided on a nod and a smile, and continued with the students, who were busily finishing up their summer reading quizzes.

I don't know why they were there, other than to check out the first day of schools. I have gained some considerable interior decorating skills in the years that I've been part of these dog-and-pony shows, and definitely made sure to have my "Core Learning Goals" up, but, beyond that, I'm pretty proud of my classroom anyway - barely an inch of wallspace is uncovered, with posters of authors and literary terms and Negro League baseball players alluded to in Fences and "words to use when writing about literature" and "transitions" and calendars and just about anything else you can think of - and only heard good things later when my department head recounted the "Thank you for being ready to go" praise we later received.

Otherwise, he first day of school was as it always was - exhausting, with equal parts dullness ("Oh, let me read through this syllabus for the 5th time while my students sit in a heat-induced coma") and excitement ("Oh! All my new students! And all my old students shouting 'Hey!' down the hall!"). Thank goodness the Charles Village Coldstone Creamery seems to be employing about half of the female seniors at our school; they always hook us up with deeply discounted ice cream and today was definitely a day for ice cream after work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. YOur room sounds cool. no pun intended