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Day One

It's always jarring coming back after a break. Everyone says, "Happy New Year," and asks, "How was your break?" I want to tell them, "You know, it was pretty good, but I woke up this morning and it was over." I'm always shocked when that happens. I don't feel too badly about going to work, but it's an adjustment thing.

The first thing I found when I got in was a broken elevator. My first classroom is on the third floor. This is because I am so extraordinarily classy administration has determined I need to be placed in the penthouse. It also has something to do with my morning class being so small it fits handily in one of the special ed. classrooms, but if I choose to delude myself with the former, who are you to stop me?

My morning kids were pretty good. Aside from one who wandered in late, they were all there. Not only that, but they were kind of awake and alert. One girl wandered in with so many layers she looked a little like a penguin, but after she waddled out of them she had the look of a normal human being. It's too bad we can't manage giving these kids lockers somehow. I'm sure there are reasons for that, but I feel bad for that girl dragging all those layers around with her all day.

I was lucky yesterday morning. For reasons I can't fathom, all the rooms on the east side of the hallway were freezing. My classroom, on the west side of the hallway, was toasty warm. It's a big change from the trailers, where it's somehow (and no, I cannot explain this) colder on the inside than it is on the outside. I think it's one of those quirks of reality, like Dr. Who's Tardis or something. You can't conceive of exactly how crappy a trailer is until you work in one for, oh, twelve years or so.

I have four periods free between my morning and PM classes, and they disappear in a blur. There are always union issues. I can't help everyone, but I can usually find someone else to help if I can't. Alas, I can't reveal private stuff here, unless it's about me. The problem is I didn't really do anything interesting enough to record here. I'll work on that.

I'm working on translating my Gotham Gazette article about Part 154 into Spanish. I can speak and write in Spanish, but not nearly as precisely as English. My nephew is a lot better than me, and he translated the text over the week off. I sat with my friend, a Spanish teacher from Colombia, and he said he'd iron out the kinks for me.

For some reason, instead of quietly giving it to me at some private locale, he decided to walk into my classroom and hand it to me. This caught the attention of at least two Spanish speaking girls, who looked at the paper with all the corrections. They found it hilarious to see someone doing to me what I always did to them. They deemed it had too many mistakes and gave me a C minus. You know, when you're the teacher, and you have a big ego and stuff, and you're always lording it all over everyone how smart you fancy yourself, that's a tough break. But hey. I'm a role model, so I took it in stride.

I continued my adventures of writing zeroes on pieces of paper and handing them out for no good reason. It took on a new dimension today as every zero became an art project. One became some sort of space alien, another an insect of some sort, and the last one was kind of indescribable, for me at least. I should have taken pictures but I had to bring the class back to, you know, English and stuff. They pay me money to teach English and stuff. I try my best to maximize the English and minimize the stuff, but hey, stuff happens.

I hope some good stuff is happening to you. Anyone doing this job deserves nothing less.

This post first appeared on NYC Educator, please read the originial post: here

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