Every teacher has a ‘night before school starts’ nightmare. For years, mine has typically been that I show up on the first day of school late, in my pajamas, with no lesson plans. A more extreme version has me teaching elementary students — gasp! — in a school I’ve never seen before. I usually wake up in a cold sweat before the details get too out of hand.
I am an over-planner — I typically have two hours worth of plans for a 90-minute class. I write out EVERYTHING –sometimes even the exact words I plan to say. For each class period, I create a separate word document with start to finish detail. If students miss a class, I send the document, and they know what they need to cover before I see them next time.
This morning, knowing that my first class started at 9:30, I set my alarm for 7:00am. I rolled out of bed, showered, made sure all my documents were uploaded to Googledocs so that I could share them on the classroom computer, opened my attendance page so that I would have it ready to go, dressed, did my makeup and hair, and sat down to a cup of tea to work on my puzzle around 8:30. I promised myself I would head to class around 9 to make sure the room was ready, log into the computer, and get the projector turned on WAY before students arrived.
So, when my phone rang at 8:48 and my husband said that a staff person was looking for me for my 8:30 class, I replied, “It doesn’t start until 9:30.” I logged into Blackboard to prove that I was right, but while the page was loading, the chair of the English department (my former professor) called and said that people were looking for me. That’s when my page loaded and showed me, for the first time that I had seen it, that the class started at 8:30!!
“I’m on my way!” Thankfully, I was dressed, my materials were sitting on the countertop, and my tea was already made. I speed-walked the 100 yards from my door to the classroom and walked in to find 21 students and one staff member crammed into the classroom.
“Well, that’s embarrassing,” I said as I threw down my materials and tried to orient myself. By some act of God I was able to open the attendance page, distribute syllabi, hear every student’s name for the first time, tell them how to log into Blackboard, and share my policies about missing class, late work, and plagiarism before I noticed that it was 9:19! I had to let them go!
“But wait, let me give you the homework!”
“What? You were 20 minutes late and you are giving us homework?”
Welcome to life with Rathje, kids. See you Wednesday at 8:25!
2 Corinthians 12:9
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”