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Routines.  Damn routines.

Every school is different, even the ones in the same board, so as a supply teacher I quickly became used to the fact that I never knew when things started or ended, where I should be when bells rang, and what I should do with students in the gray in-betweens that occur before and after classes.  Some schools insist on lining kids up everywhere.  Some have an earthier “free-roam” approach where kids just drift off and show up according to their whims.  Some places have them all congregate in gyms for lunch to cut down on stabbings.

Even when I checked the websites ahead of time, I rarely knew what kind of school I would find on the first morning in.  I’d be waiting in my classroom for ten minutes after the bell, only to find out that I was supposed to have found my class outside, escorted them in, and distributed cookies for them in the meantime.  I would run downstairs, burst out into the blustery wind, have the door shut and lock behind me, chase around the perimeter of the school, crash through the front door, and finally end up back at my designated classroom where the class would be waiting for me so they could stop vandalizing things for fun.

I’m hoping that I will settle into the routines more as the days progress, but I am still finding myself forgetting where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to do, and at whom I should be blowing my whistle.  I think that I’m on duty on some of the days, but the schedule operates on a number system that does not conform to the days of the week, so half the time I think it’s Tuesday when it’s actually day 12.7.  Lunar phases appear to be involved in the lunch monitoring, and computer time is booked according the pre-Gregorian dates systems.

My goal is to not lose kids or forget to show up to things by Friday at the latest.  I’ve tattooed the schedule on my forearms and set 33 different alarms on my watch.  I will also be flogging myself for all missed deadline.