I think that I have everything lined up now. I hope I do, anyway. I made myself about a dozen lists of things to get done before school starts tomorrow, lost all but four of them, crossed of most of the things and then realized that I needed to buy some more supplies. Of course, being Labour Day, nothing is open, which hammers home the irony of the name.
Now there isn’t much to distract me from the impending terror of having a class again tomorrow. I’ve tried reading, drawing, playing games, juggling, and cooking, and none of those things are helping me to forget that I’m 16 hours away from showing up at a school where I still can’t remember everyone’s names, where I have yet to get a photocopier password, and where I fear that I will finally hysterically cry in front of the kids. I keep remembering things that I should get done, and then I forget them before I can write them down. Last night I dreamt that I couldn’t find my classroom and my next-door neighbour had wild, mountain-man like hair that he shared with his small, hairy son. They ate my lunch and laughed at me.
I want to try to sleep right now (mountain-man dreams are not conducive to REM), but if I do, I won’t get to sleep tonight, which will leave me exhausted and useless (more so) tomorrow.
Intellectually, I know that tomorrow will be fine. I really do. This is not my first time teaching, not even my first time teaching this grade. And yet here I am, driving myself bonkers with imaginary scenarios of kids that won’t listen, hostage taking, forgetting to wear pants, getting lost, getting killed, sleeping in, passing out, throwing up, and breaking down (all at once).
Then I try to remind myself what I hated about the jobs I had where I wasn’t teaching:
Connections to other humans were superficial and shallow.
My brain was going to waste.
I never made a difference in anyone’s life.
I’m really trying hard to bear in mind the fact that I accept the long hours, frustrating marking, and difficult board and ministry expectations because I need to be doing something that actually leaves the world a better place than it was yesterday. One kid just a smidge smarter, one resolution in place of a conflict, one moment of triumph over difficult material, one child that can look back and say that they learned something – anything – from being in my class makes me think that I should stop worrying and get in there to do what I was always meant to do.