Morning comes. I have waited for it, sleep being a strange commodity these days. I methodically stumble through the darkened room, grabbing items for after my shower. It's been the same ritual for the past four years. Sometimes I find I still have my eyes closed, half way through getting ready for the day.
Still tip toeing around other sleeping members of the house, the coffee pot and kitchen calls me deeper into wakefulness. I read the verse of the day on my phone app as I sip the first taste of morning, then open my real Bible and read a little more something. It is always different since I prefer the bits of non schedule and general disarray of my devotional habits. There is enough schedule and 'by the books' in my day already. This morning time of coffee and Bible is too personal to make formal.
My desk is still there, yesterdays quizzes needing put away, today's quizzes pulled. A scrap piece of paper has names with books needed from the shelves upstairs. I used to run up and get them as soon as a kid took their test. Now I wait till the next day. Although the one kid will come through the doors asking for his new book. I have learned to mildly say, "After school starts, I will give it to you." The date on the blackboard needs changed, the plants need water, the encyclopedias need rearranged, the floor needs sweeping. Again.
There is morning prayer, just the teachers in the lounge praying and discussing the days plans, while kids burst through the doors with new energy and yelling and banging lunchboxes on shelves, totally ignoring the "Quiet Zone" signs.
As I fill my water bottle, two or three kids will search for me and find me and tell me something that is missing from their desks or their lives or that they have a new scrape or bruise that needs revealing.
When I get back to my desk, there are two or three missed texts or phone calls. One of my students are sick. Or all of my sisters are doing a sister chat and I'm too close to the bell ringing to enter in on the chat. Sometimes there is a text from a true friend, the faithful one that texts a prayer every Thursday evening.
The bell rings before I can respond and then we are off. There is no quiet moments the rest of the day. Math class is long and there are blank stares. Sometimes there are questions like, "If it says to copy and solve, do we actually have to copy and solve?" I sometimes ask if they have learned to read or not, because it seems they are having trouble deciphering the directions. I encourage them to do what the directions have stated.
Sometimes just for fun random kids take the long way around the room to get to the score table. I wonder about this. We have discussed disruptions at length yet still, there is ambling around the room, lengthy clearing of throats, and rat a tat tat of drumming of pencils and fingers on the desks.
At lunch there is general mayhem and noise. Very recently though, with the ratio of boys to girls being 8 to 4, it became clear to me they were being highly unmannerly at lunch because they were getting by with it. When I asked them if they were allowed to holler and yell their way through a meal at home, some said "Yes" and "Sure" others looked sheepish and said "No". Currently they have all gotten the memo that they will find themselves alone in their desks with their lunch staring back at them if they can't find their table voices. It's working. After four years, my food is settling better.
At story time there is great bluffing of "I hate that book" or "I have read that book a million times" or "I saw the movie". I have learned to not respond and read the book. We are reading Heidi right now. At first I was bored with the story in book form, it seemed the author had a hard time getting started and it was especially stumbly to read aloud, but then it changed and the kids are spellbound. There is a mutual groan when I close the book and ring the bell for study time.
Today I found a kid sitting twenty feet above the concrete floor of the gym, above the basketball hoop, just resting. He seemed rather proud of his feat. I had him come down and sent him to his desk. In the classroom alone with him I asked him if he knew that was probably not a good idea. He said "No, I didn't know." I told him he could sit in his desk till he could see how that could be a problem in a school of 65 plus students. It seemed he thought we should let anyone who wants to climb up there and hang out. Why are some kids so "entitled"?
Finishing up the day is a hub bub. There is usually half of the students done that ask with big eyes if I need help. I admit to them my need of help but tell them they can read, write, or draw till school is out. The other half spend time jittering their legs and glaring at the clock as if its galloping ahead in a race. When I bring the homework slips around their faces turn red with frustration and gloom. I think to myself, You spent a lot of time day dreaming and wandering around the room snooping and being an overall delinquent. Now you want to pretend like there shouldn't be homework?
I love teaching these kids. Even after four years. They are fun, intelligent, and talented, along with being obnoxious and chaotic. Teaching has been my teacher. I made a choice early in my stint of teaching that I would have to get rid of fluff and clutter and chatter of everyday living. This has been my biggest helper in teaching but my biggest disadvantage in friendships and relationships.
In as many ways as I feel blessed to have been able to experience these years of teaching school, I also feel ruined in what everyday living looks like. This is overboard thinking, I know. There will be adjustments to make, but I am looking forward to making them. I'm pretty sure I will still be learning long after I am done teaching...A day in the life happens to us all.