A four day school week, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, produced tired teachers and unstructured students. There were moments I felt like a main character from Dr. Seuss land, complete with random hair tufts protruding and backwards speech flowing. Take these moments for example . . .
What do you do when you realize your classroom keys are 45 minutes away in the purse you decided not to bring today? The keys that unlock not only your door, but also your desk, the filing cabinet, and the closet containing your computer and snacks?
What do you do when a student hands you your classroom door handle – unattached from the heavy door – at the end of second period?
What do you do when Maintenance arrives to re-secure the offending knob and innocently asks you where your door stop might be? “We need to hold the door open,” they might say, “while re-attaching the metal handle.” What do you do when you admit that it is missing, but they quickly assure you that “they just found a door stop in the toilet. Could that be it?”
What do you do when your all-boys class breaks up into groups to design several country advertisement posters for a project and decide that glitter glue would be the best way to outline the big “Costa Rica” sign – on top of one of your desks – mind you?
What do you do when one student decides that the best method for bedazzling face masks from Ghana is to borrow their neighbor’s colored pencils and smear them through sticky gobs of glitter before returning them?
What do you do when one teacher plays a hip hop “Good Morning” song by Mandisa and Toby Mac during teacher staff devotions, and you have a strong urge to get up on the desks, kick up your heels and dance?
Let me tell you what you do . . .
You call school, requesting keys and a padlock cutter for the second time this year, wondering all the while if this is just an omen that should be taken very seriously and that you shouldn’t be teaching today.
You nonchalantly take attendance in third period while eyeing the door handle, before rushing to your desk and sending the office a desperate IM: “Do you think you could call maintenance? I WANT OUT OF HERE! [Emphasis added later J]” Their response: “We’ll slip food under your door.”
You stare at Maintenance, hoping your shock is not too evident, then try not to roll your eyes in disgust at the places disorganized middle students decide to put important items – like door stops. The toilet, really?
You assess the hopeless gazes of the all-boy “Costa Rican” group, take off your hampering scarf to protect its unmarred nature from the sloppy art project, grasp the bottle of silver glitter, and say, “Move back, boys, and watch a pro. This girl got this.”
You shake your head sympathetically at the owner of the colored pencils and pretend you didn’t notice. Ignorance is bliss, right?
You wiggle in your seat, try to ignore the patronizing stares from the around the room, and let loose – on the inside. Might not be the best way to lose your job, breaking the no-dancing policy. At least not this morning . . . when I want to go out in a blaze of glory, however . . .