And before you think about going there, no I did not go back and visit my former school. While there are many people still there who I respect and/or consider a close friend, I have a feeling that in general my little old presence may be less than welcome. Cut to me getting hit over the head by a guitar or strangled with a fanny pack belt...
Rather, I meant that yesterday I was reunited with teaching. The actual teaching of actual children in an actual classroom. If you've been reading this blog for awhile you may be wondering if you will ever get all those minutes of your life back you already know that I am not in the classroom this year. No, this year, due to a little old booky poo I wrote, the need to finish my doctoral work once and for all and the now extinct possibility that Mr. Mimi and I might need to move, I left my former school. Which meant leaving my friends. Which meant several fall months spent wondering who I am now that I do not rule the roost in a place filled with snot and glue anymore.
In between pounding my head against the wall as I tackle the beast that is the dissertation genre...wait, was that out loud? I mean, in between working on my dissertation, developing a website and toying with the notion of writing a humor novel about the experience of being pregnant (Thoughts on me doing that anyone?), I've been trying my hand at consulting.
I know, I know...simply whisper the words "outside staff development" and most teachers will instantly have somewhere else to be a.s.a.p. and then take off down the hall like people who have been holding their pee for the last eight hours. (Wait a minute...) Yes, many times outside professional development translates loosely into trust falls, never-ending power point presentations and/or individuals who talk to us as if we are also six years old. (Every once in awhile we get a glimpse of the rare Hat Trick Staff Developer who is capable of including all three of those mind numbing and yet awfully demeaning situations into one presentation. But you have to be vewy, vewy quiet, like Elmer Fudd hunting for wabbits.)
I try my hardest to NOT be like these people. I try my hardest to create presentations that are relevant within the given context and to always be conscious of the ba-zillion demands that are placed upon teachers. I try my hardest to channel my Teacher Crush. Basically, I never ever EVER want to be one of those "let's just add this to your plate" people because I know that once shit hits the plate, it never goes away.
How have I already written this much and not gotten to the part where I got to teach kids yesterday yet? Maybe Mr. Mimi IS right, maybe I am long-winded.
So yesterday I went into a school to do demo lessons for various groups of teachers. Which means, in reality, I wasn't really teaching the children as much as I was demonstrating something for teachers, but who's counting? The bottom line is, I sat in front of three groups of friends and did some mini lessons. And you know what happened?
I totally sweat through my shirt.
Yes, Mrs. Mimi, the queen of attitude , arrogance and an asinine love of organizational supplies was nervous. (And to quell your fears, no, I did not VISIBLY sweat through my shirt...which is a very important distinction.) But after my first few sentences, I felt the old Teacher Mojo coming back and I knew it would be fine. Actually, I knew it would be better than fine...it would be fabulous.
I'm not saying that my demonstrations were flawless (although I WILL say they were fairly hot). I'm saying that it was fabulous to sit there and interact with friends (even though they don't belong to me) on the rug. (Which I sat on BEFORE I heard the school has an issue with stink bugs. STINK BUGS!)
One of my favorite moments:
Setting: Your typical elementary school classroom
Scene: I sit conferencing with one 5th grade student while a group of other teachers look on. (No pressure, right?)
Me: So, you see, when you switch voices in your writing, you need to give the reader a few sentences to catch their breath and get their minds ready....you know, kind of set the scene for them.
Kid: You're right, Mrs. Mimi! I never should have assumed that the reader would understand that I'm switching between writing as myself and this other character. I mean, look, I even assumed everyone would know what the word "ragolith" means!! (laughs)
Me: Um, yes. Exactly honey.
Cut to me googling "ragolith" in an effort to not be outdone by a fifth grader. (As the theme of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader ominously runs through my head....)
I get to go back on Thursday and do some more lessons. I am discovering that I enjoy working with teachers (because so far I've been very lucky to only work with motivated, engaged and smart ones) but MAN OH MAN do I miss my friends. I miss them so much that I'm excited about the opportunity to bogart someone else's, even if it is just for the afternoon.