I was told this today. I am moving classrooms and I was using painter’s tape to put my new classroom number on my podium (which is wood). I figured that if I made each letter at least five inches in size, no one could say, “I didn’t see it.”
I made the four. Easy. Three strips of tape without any curves. Easy-peasy.
I made the hook on the two. I was creative, crinkled the tape. Everything was going great. Then I started to work on the angle of the two, you know, the line that connects the hook to the….tail of the two. That’s when things went downhill.
“Um…your two is backwards,” a student said. I stepped back, looked at the embryonic two that I was making and couldn’t see the problem. The hook was fine. It was at the top where it was supposed to be. The angle-line was going down like it was supposed to be.
I literally stood and stared at this poor, malformed two for at least thirty seconds.
I was so tired, I couldn’t envision what a two looked like. A 2. That’s it. Nothing more simplistic than a 2. I finally had to look at my board at the schedule that is written on it (the school’s in testing schedule mode) to see how a real two looks like.
I know that I’m tired. I even know why I think I’m tired. But I have never been in such terrible fatigue that I wrote a number backwards.
This is life at the end of the school year. And this isn’t just how it is for the teachers; this is how it is for everyone. Tempers are frayed; students have pretty much stopped doing their homework. At this point, the students are even more worn because they are doing endless projects in all of their classes. And I feel a bit bad about this….because…without knowing it, I assigned a massive project. In my defense, I also have given the students hours of time to work on their projects during class.
Every year, I forget about the bone-draining exhaustion that paralyzes my mind and makes me feel like I am prematurely aging. Yearly, I forget the sense of how my entire body feels like it sags as I mount the stairs and move towards my classroom. At this moment, in my classroom, I have a countdown towards when graduation will hit.
The students sometimes fret that it’s because I don’t like them. I agree. I don’t like them. I love them.
But I miss sleeping. I miss not having to hit the alarm clock at 5:25 in the morning. I also miss afternoons that are wide open and without obligation. I miss evenings with my family in which I am not grading papers or checking on emails or filling out paperwork.
I don’t want to compare my life against the retail/business world. I have no experience in that plane of existence, nor do I even want to enter it. And I’m not even complaining. More so, I wanted to write and all I could think about was how, today, I made a backwards two.
I wish I could find something deep and fundamentally life-changing to say, something that would give a twist of philosophy.
I’m too friggin’ tired to even think of something that might relate to a deeper meaning. In my head, I keep on hearing Madeline Kahn from Blazing Saddles singing, “I’m tired. Tired of playing this game.” Maybe she didn’t actually sing those words. I can’t remember, and I’m too tired to look up the information on the web.
But it’s time to grade…