Sunday, January 31, 2010


My dishes are clean. There’s a fresh pitcher of lemonade in the refrigerator, and another couple of liters of water brewing in the filter. The kitchen table has been cleared off, the garbage taken out, the cat’s litter box cleaned, the cat herself fed. I swept the ant hills out of the kitchen and wiped down the stove. I would claim this is all in an attempt to start off the school year with my house in good shape, but I think we all know this wave of cleaning is just an excuse to avoid thinking about school.

Now that the class schedule is finished, it seems inevitable classes will begin tomorrow. Okay, maybe Tuesday. Either way, I feel pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. On one hand, it’s about time! Students showed up every day last week, and we didn’t do a thing. I read 300 pages. It was a little ridiculous. At the same time, I loathe lesson-planning. I’m not exactly looking forward to standing in front of the room lecturing on blah blah blah.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the students. And if I do say so myself, as a teacher, I’m not half bad. I keep a good rapport, I explain things well, I try and keep it fun. But I can’t help feeling a wince of dread.

There are parts of the day I’m looking forward to. I am nervous and excited to see who shows up for my year 12 class. As I explained Friday, the kids have a choice, and I can’t help but feel like the whole thing is a little popularity contest. Or at the very least, a sort of referendum on my teaching of year 11 last year. If no one shows up, it’s probably because they all hate me.

Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic. Given I’ll have to cut students if that class is too big, I’d prefer it wasn’t too well attended. Ideally there will be exactly 24 smiling faces 3rd period tomorrow, but that may be too much to hope for.

Just the same, my knee-jerk reaction to teaching is one of fear. I remember hearing Chris explain the CNET Sales Pitch-Off to Jen back home. He had his undies all in a bunch because he had to give a 10-20 minute sales presentation to a group of his colleagues. Jen was not impressed. She teaches 8th grade and has to get up every day and give hours-long lessons to an arguably more difficult audience.

What if they don’t like me? What if I forget something? What if they laugh at me? It’s funny because as a teacher, I feel like I’m fearing the first day of school for all the same reasons the students are. It’s like when you see a big spider in the shower, and someone says, “He’s probably more afraid of you than you are of him.”

Speaking of the shower, that could use some scrubbing. In fact, I should probably bleach the whole bathroom. And my Peace Corps Medical Kit could use a reorganization.

Anything to avoid the inevitable.

I hope you’re well. Picture below.

I'm going to try not to be that guy who lives alone and posts lots of pictures of his cat on the Internet. But last night Scout crawled into my backpack after she finished eating. It was cute.


Unknown said...

for starters, why don't you flip the knives in your dish rack so they are handle side up? the sharp blades sticking up kind of freak me out. maybe it's because i'm a mom and a nurse. and i'm sure you will have a sufficient amount of students in your class tomorrow.

Barb Carusillo said...

Your description of facing the day tomorrow is precisely like how I feel every morning before facing my work day....I think we all feel that way to a certain extent, there are things we like, things we don't, things that stress us out, things we love. I don't think there is any perfect job we all want to just run to everyday and never leave.

Chris said...

Cat lady.

Annette said...

Hi Matt, lovely to see photos of Scout. She looks to be a real cutie with loads of character. Makes Sarah and Sampson look supersized.