Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The first day(s) of school

Yesterday was the first day of school. My life as a science teacher has officially begun.

Because we're on block scheduling, I met only with my third, fifth, and seventh blocks yesterday. Most of what I had to do was explain my expectations, grading, rules and consequences, classroom procedures, and the like. In chemistry, we also began some laboratory safety stuff. It's a real shock for me to be in classrooms where the majority of my students are not white, yet it didn't really feel that weird. I noticed it, for sure, but I mostly thought, These are teens--normal teens.

By the time I left the school at 6:15 and then spent the next hour-plus grocery shopping, I was totally wiped out. I was dead tired, my throat was hoarse (remedied by drinking two mugs of hot chamomile tea with honey in 90-degree weather), and I had an hours-long headache. I was hungry--so hungry and tired, in fact, that the leftover Hamburger Helper I nuked in the microwave became the best meal ever. It was like joy to my soul just to sit down and eat and not put any more effort into anything (the hour of planning later that night notwithstanding). Talking with my friend Olivia over the phone also lightened my load; she also had her first day of class teaching fifth grade in Chicago. The words of Psalm 69 came to mind on account of my dimming vocal cords and the kids who instantly said of my chem class, "I don't want to be here. I'm just taking this 'cause there's an SOL [mandatory Commonwealth of Virginia subject-area achievement test]."

I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause.

But today was a lot better. It wasn't much different, but I wasn't nearly as drained or exasperated. My students worked quietly as directed and participated as requested; fifth block was a new class, as it were. I found out at least one of my students is likely in a gang. Several of my biology students aren't native English speakers, and I mean they struggle noticeably in reading fairly basic sentences. But God, in his lovingkindness, upheld me today in response to all the begging, Father-help-me-or-I-die prayers of the past few days. May he ever be praised!

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
(Psalm 40:1-3a)


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

You, my scientific friend, have just been tagged again. I know time is short - but you should be able to cut and paste from the email I'm sending with my answers. Let's see if we can get some readers over here to read those excellent theological issues you raise and start some discussions amongst more than just the two of us.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I think you're coming in as Byron City Michigan based on the time you left the comment - but I have not idea why you wouldn't be showing up as Virginia now.

So,no, I didn't mean you - someone from Dorr Michigan is spending long, long periods of time on multiple pages of the blog - which you've already read, so it isn't you.

but you could leave a comment occasionally to let me know if you agree or disagree with me - especially when I'm poking fun at you and O in the same post.