Students started classes last Tuesday, September 1. I am always disappointed when school starts before Labor Day because in my mind that holiday is part and parcel of summer vacation. This year was one of those years when the first Monday in September came too late to wait for school to begin so back we went, with gorgeous summer weather continuing without regard for where we need to be between 8 and 3.
The room I'm in this year is even smaller than I originally thought. It is not half the size but one third the size of a regular classroom. At nine feet wide and twenty-seven feet long there are limited options for room set-up. I do have a small desk in the back between the file cabinets and the bookshelves. At just a glance it is obvious that there is only room for one small table, one teacher, and a couple kids at a time.
The good news is that there is a second door to the room in the back that goes between our room and the computer lab. Past occupants had covered the door with shelving and supplies, so I didn't know it was there. Now I keep the door open most of the time, which helps dramatically with air circulation. I appreciate the natural light I can see through the windows in the computer lab.
The back door makes is easier for me to come and go, which I do often. There will be times when students are in the lab for classes or testing, but once I figure out the schedule I will have what I need on the cart and be able to do what I need to do.
My current perspective took a few days to evolve. When I first saw my space for the year I was crestfallen. I knew I needed to devise a plan to make it work for me, which is when the importance of the second door became apparent. I have perfected slipping out quietly to make copies, get necessary materials and information, and take on additional duties.
The other thing that helped, at least it did when I started the process on Thursday, was to register for a course that starts tomorrow. I am reminding myself of the benefits of learning with other educators as I sit here with a five-page syllabus in front of me trying to remember how to be part of a group discussion online. We do have three classes in real life; the first one isn't for a few weeks and can't come fast enough. My first thought tonight was that I wasn't ready to make this commitment. My second thought was that if I don't do it now I may never decide I'm ready. My third thought was to write a post about it because my fears look less threatening in black and white.
So much has happened this year that has left me feeling vulnerable that I've forgotten how it helps to write, not about the details necessarily, but about the feelings that come with the ups and downs of daily living. I remembered tonight and feel better already.
Last Tuesday, as I headed out for the first day of school, I loaded my stuff into the car and climbed into the driver's seat. There on the steering wheel was an envelope, blank and unsealed [Ken's trademark move in case I want to use the envelope again]. Inside was a card with a sepia toned photo of a woman walking along a railroad track while balanced on a rail. The words above the photo are: Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new beginning.
Isn't that perfect?