Friday, September 30, 2011

Week Seven, or Elusive Rhythm

Sometimes I get to the end of the school day only to discover that I never changed the date on the board. The worst is when I realized that the date inked onto the surface is not only not today, but it is not yesterday either. That is when I know I've been drowning in chaos, pure and simple, with students hovering around me all day, asking questions--good and bad, not paying attention, or only paying enough attention to note my personal mistakes.

"Congratulations, overly attentive student, you have reminded all of us that I, indeed, am human. No, it is not September 26 any longer. Yes, I know that was Monday. Yes, I know that it is now Thursday. No, I don't need you to change it for me."

And then I try to move on, acting as if the calendar error does not drive me crazy, calculating subconsciously how many weekends I have between now and the end of the quarter, calculating simultaneously how many of those weekends Curtis is working, leaving me free to bury myself in amateur writing samples with varying investments of time and effort.

Week seven has proved to be the magical number the year, the week that grants me a rhythm to ride out the curriculum. I'm not sure if it takes me that long to get to know my students, or it the foundational teaching of those first several weeks feels fragmented, but whatever the reason is, week seven feels a bit more predictable, a bit more relaxed. And I guess that's why, after a Monday and Tuesday that felt very put-together, Wednesday and Thursday feel so undeniably off. Was it the almost-fight that set some students on edge? Is it the impending boredom that comes as I become less and less original? Perhaps the pressure of the quickening end of the grading period?

Whatever the reason, I would like to eradicate it as soon as possible. I would like my dates to be in order, my grading completed, and my students at peace.

And as soon as I discover the formula to take care of these things, the peaceful rhythm that started week seven can return and make itself at home. There is, after all, only so much chaos I can take in a week--I am still human, which they so often remind me.

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