Monday, September 8, 2008

Leading horses to water cuz it's so damn hot

The temperature, which I thought was dropping for the season, hit 89 degrees in my classroom today, and the humidity was pretty stifling as well. I don't remember the heat bothering me so much in the past, but I was feeling so crappy today that I went home early, right after my last class at 2:30. It's not just the heat, I don't think, but also the deadness of the air. It feels musty, nasty, and hot, and it's making me ill.

After class, I attended my first of two re-certification courses that I must take this year before my certification expires in July of 2009. According to state law, I must take two Reading courses, or six credits, every five years to maintain my certification. Unfortunately, none of the courses I took in the Towson MAT Secondary Education program counted (I don't think, at least... no one at the certification office bothered to return my numerous emails). This is my 8th year of teaching, but, luckily, the fact that North Avenue initially lost my Michigan test scores meant I had to re-submit them five years ago when the budget crisis meant my job was on the line. This, in turn, meant that my paperwork was all re-submitted to the state, and I was given a brand new 5-year teacher certificate. It has worked out serendipitiously, but sure did scare the hell out of me at the time.

The class was much different than I expected. From friends, I had heard that the classes generally are under 10 people, and the professors are chill and relaxed. I've heard some really bad things about the course, as well, about professors who come an hour late every class period, about classes where you don't learn one thing. Beggars can't be choosers, though, and one of the solid things our union does is partake a deal with Coppin State University to take these classes for $50/each. Because I've got to do it anyway, I'm trying to keep a positive attitude, and, after the first day, I think my positive attitude paid off. Despite the fact that the class is around 40 people, I think the professor is pretty nice, and the Reading Strategies handout she gave us today was actually pretty interesting. I hope I learn something. I'm already a little bitter that I have the take the classes at all, and that things like my Performance-based Reading Shakespeare course this summer doesn't count, so I'm hoping I get something from it.

The big problem was the setting. It was at the Professional Development Building on Northern Parkway, a building I had not set foot in since the horrible pre-service training I attended there a little more than seven years ago. I thought I remembered the building air-conditioned, but, alas, it wasn't. So, I taught all day in a 90-degree classroom, then sat in a sweltering 1st floor room - with no windows - with forty adults, sweaty from working all day, in a room with two fans that blew around hot air. When I got up after the two hours, my back and chair were soaked with sweat. The professor says she's requesting an air-conditioned room next week, but one wonders why were were placed in that hellhole room to begin with. The classroom - like my own classroom - was noticeably warmer than the outdoor temperature, as well as the hallway temperature.

I don't remember the heat affecting me so much in the past. Perhaps it is a function of age, or perhaps it's because I'm trying too hard to wear ties to school every day. Whatever it is, I'm getting more and more upset about the simple physical conditions of my job. I don't think kids should be forced to learn in 90-100 degree humidity, and don't particularly feel that I should be forced to teach in it. I can't wait for the autumn to really come.

Hopefully this will be my last entry whining about the heat. You knew this entry would be whiny, though, from yesterday's entry about being wore down to start the week. I could have chosen any number of topics to whine about, though... it was one of those days. These are not limited to the following: the honeymoon period ending, with students texting in class and me actually hearing myself give the "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink" speech, something I've never actually given until today. Some of these kids need to take a big swig, though. Indeed. At least Fences was fun, and a lot of the kids seem into it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Last year I got heat exhaustion from working in my sweltering school and ended up in bed for two weeks, recovering. The heat really can make you sick.