A good friend of mine says, when the world is flying around her and falling to pieces, “I just laugh. If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.”
When she would say this, I never could quite understand her philosophy. When things are flying around me and the world falling to pieces, I get frustrated and angry.
This week, I’ve finally understood her philosophy, and have been laughing all week.
(Before I begin my tirade, let me be the first to admit, when it comes to my work—MY TEACHING—I become more than a bit of a planner. I’ve learned, in my teaching experience, that if you plan well, the teaching goes well. And if you don’t plan well, well, you’d better be ready to endure a very uncomfortable 45 minutes of the students taking bites of you, chewing them well, and spitting them out on the floor. Teaching is like this children’s rhyme I was taught as a child: There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. Teaching is like that: when it’s good, it’s very, very good, but when it is bad, it is HORRID.)
So, it’s Sunday, February 14, and tomorrow is Monday morning. Before Monday morning, I need to grade 70 papers, have two sections of Grade 6 English planned and ready to go, grade assignments for my college English Level 3 class, and have their lesson planned for.
It was the Valentine’s Day weekend and I hadn’t realized how all of the Valentine’s Day activities would crunch my time. I had company coming so needed to clean and do laundry, which swallowed most of Saturday morning/afternoon. We had a Valentine’s Day dinner/dance on Saturday night and a lengthy church service on Sunday.
(Oh, also, I had hoped to work around 20 hours in the community garden. Didn’t happen.)
So, Sunday night, I grade 40 of the 70 papers and wake early Monday morning to develop my lesson plans for the 3 classes I will teach later that morning.
I go to the college staff meeting at 7:30 Monday morning to learn that a) we still don’t have a class schedule and b) we still don’t have textbooks for our students.
(Classes “officially” started on the 25th of January, but we haven’t had a schedule to direct us where to go or what time to be there to have class. So, neither educators nor learners had anywhere to go or have anything to do, so nothing—especially any teaching or learning—has happened. We have had a temporary schedule for the past two weeks, so I’ve had a week to teach about the 4 students who knew enough to show up the first week, and this week, most students have shown, but their “exams” started on Tuesday. Yes, their exams, for which they haven’t been to class for, or had the textbooks for, started on Tuesday.)
After the staff meeting, I teach my 9:30 class then sprint to the primary school for my 6th graders. After their classes, I return to campus to grade the remaining 30 papers, grade the college papers that have come to me that same morning, and now need to create a test for my 6th graders to take later in the week (but the test I create is needed tomorrow—Tuesday—for submission and approval.)
Oh, I should mention here, that there is a bone of contention with my supervisor at the primary school. He believes I should remain at the primary school all day, everyday, and is unhappy with my comings and goings. He knows that I have other commitments, but doesn’t realize all of the “groundwork” I’m laying in trying to get my classes up and running, without having the resources to do so. So, he’s not happy.
I should also mention, that while the college is struggling with their schedule, the primary school’s schedule is changing weekly. (The college is trying to arrange my schedule around the primary school’s schedule, which is ever-changing.)
I’m up most of Monday night and rise early Tuesday morning to do more of the same: grade papers, create lesson plans, conduct class, run back and forth between the college and primary school, and attend meetings.
I spend all of Tuesday night creating the test for my sixth graders that must be submitted on Wednesday. Wednesday, I teach my college class, (oh, thank goodness, the textbooks finally arrived, so at least they have the course materials available to them, even if they don’t have a concrete class schedule, informing them of when to go to class and which room to go to), and run to the primary school to submit the test I’ve created for approval.
I come home Wednesday and collapse. (After having a conversation with my supervisor at the primary school attempting to reassure him that “You (I) will be here tomorrow, right?). I don’t collapse for long because I have my college class to prepare for tomorrow.
On Thursday, today, I show up to my college class, after spending most of Wednesday night and most of Thursday morning preparing my lesson plans to find there is no class today, because the students are at the police station having their registration papers certified so they can apply for scholarships next year. Yes, this is important, but why is this happening today/now, and not weeks (or even months) ago?
Not only is there no class today, but there is no class tomorrow. Tomorrow, Friday is when we are PROMISED our class schedule. What are the chances of us having a class schedule, finally, on Monday?