“Good morning! Good! Good! Good! Good! Good morning!”
My morning alarm on my cell phone can be especially annoying when I realize I’ve successfully ignored it for over an hour and that my sweet baby boy is cuddling me so tightly, he’s got a vice grip on my hair and won’t let go. Sadly, I had to tell him to return to his own bed, which he did, and I dragged myself to the bathroom for a hot bubble bath in the dark.
My eldest child, perhaps fueled by the sound of running water and the scent of lavender, plodded into the bathroom to ask if she could take a bath. I, of course, told her it was my turn and that she would be more comfortable back in bed, but could certainly take a bath after me. She did not return to bed, but waited for her turn. While she was bathing, I dressed and tried to mentally prepare myself for the day.
For some reason, the lure of Facebook was more interesting than the pressing need to leave the house, and when my daughter, now dressed for the day, was in the living room staring at my phone screen with me, I had to jar myself out of my stalling funk and gather my belongings.
The drive to work was cold, so I passed the time belting out made-up songs for a while, followed by singing along with the radio. It was during an especially horrendous duet, me and Whitesnake gushing, “Going down the only road I’ve ever known!”that I had to slam on the brakes, a merciful brake light ahead alerting me to the massive traffic standstill that the sun in my eyes had hidden.
Shaken up, I turned the radio down so I could see, and continued at a slow crawl til my exit. I steered into the nearest McDonald’s drive through for my favorite unhealthy breakfast: a single sausage patty, two hashbrowns, and a large orange juice. Then I made my way to the gas station, the one that is a different branch of the same chain I recently quit working at. What can I say? They have great deals. I purchased three sodas and two orange juices, got my discount gasoline from the sodas ($15 @ $1.769/gal).
When I arrived at the office building, a student yelled, “Hold the elevator!” and for some reason I obliged.
“You’re a teacher?!” he asked a little too incredulously. “You almost looked like a student!”
“Mmhmm.” I replied, lazily, as I punched the #2 button. He leaned past me to press #4.
We rode in silence to my floor, where he hollered, “Pray for me! I’ve got a midterm today!”
“Oh, okay. Good luck.” I nodded as I made my way down the hall.
Once safely ensconced in my office, I threw myself into the necessary evil of lesson planning. Some of my colleagues and compadres in the field do not believe in lesson planning at the college level. There was a time when I felt it wholly unnecessary. These days, I do it almost religiously. It is the only method to my madness.
Such madness is compounded by the fact that I notoriously wait til the last minute for everything, including lesson planning. As I write this, there lies upon my desk a stack of as yet ungraded essays–essays which have been collecting dust in my brief case since Thursday last week. I cannot bring myself to finish those, or the stack of ungraded daily work, much of which will yield automatic 0s to students who neglected to complete the assignments in a timely manner.
I did have a highlight to my day, a silver lining, that I was able to both get my classes’ attentions and garner discussion by opening the lectures today with Joni Mitchell playing on my phone. It was relevant–they were supposed to have read an essay on environmental issues which included a discussion of DDT, which is of course discussed in the song “Big Yellow Taxi.”
My good mood about the ingenuity of my opening ceremonies fell, however, when I discovered that less than half the students had read the assigned work, and many who had read it hadn’t remembered to complete the discussion questions at the end. Then, of course, was their usual determination to stare at me like a cluster of statues, hoping perhaps to absorb knowledge via osmosis when I attempted to engage them in lively discussion. The lively discussion was eventually forthcoming, though, when I decided to slap controversial arguments on the chalk board and debate the issues, followed by a prewriting exercise they did somewhat begrudgingly.
I don’t know what the student meant about me almost looking like a student, but I felt like one today waiting for my boss to come observe my classroom (he either didn’t or was very stealth ninja about it, the latter I would much prefer). I am wrapping up this blog entry only to force myself to guzzle down one of those orange juices and get the essays graded. I don’t have to be back here until Tuesday, and I want to enjoy this extra time with my children (who themselves are students of mine, but with a whole different approach to curriculum that I wish would work in the college classroom).
Whitesnake–An’ here I go again on my own, goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known.
Joni Mitchell–Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, please.