The biggest challenge of this week, however, is an old one: I am not nice as I start a school year. Don't expect it. I am simply not nice. The energy it takes to reassemble my room, attend meetings, and prepare for children cannot be divided for me to humor your silly questions. The well of sweetness, it is a shallow one. You know, you read my poetry. Yet I have to work with these folks and ideally have them like me when I can get around to liking them again.
So it's all about balancing that problem. I find myself using email smileys :) more at times like this. If you're sitting face to face with me, I try to scare up a weak smile at the end of a potentially biting comment.
- (from an email to a custodian) "Just wanted to remind you that I am really concerned about getting more desks into my room and that if you could come and move out that computer table and move the black cabinet, it would really help. Also, I still need sixty English II books as soon as you are able. :)"
Softer, don't you think?
- (to a new teacher crossing my path in the library during a nasty downpour---we can see it outside)
"Wow, the sky is falling isn't it?" (see? I am already working to soften!)
"It is! But you know what? I have just decided that if I die here tonight, I know I finally died exactly where I want to be (I didn't add this emphasis, she got louder and grinnier with this statement)!"
"Oh, so you're new, then? (remember to smile, remember to smile remember to smile!)"
- A fellow teacher emails me expecting me to set up a program on her palm for her. I answer via email "You will need to get with Palmy Palmerson, our palm tech. You also might check the website for instructions. I am just too busy to do this for you. Sorry."
Oh, yeah, I forgot.
- Our all-skate staff meeting brought me a new idea for staff development: Questions For Everyone and Questions To Ask Alone--Knowing The Difference! When I shared this idea with a fellow teacher who had just spent a sixty second minute outlining her personal plan for our all school book, I once again had to remember a softening chuckle.
Even my most welcome McCarty birthday gift contained the balance. A DVD by the gloriously evil Kathy Griffin and (to soften) a tree planted in my honor somewhere in Florida. Someday we shall visit and hoist the McCarty offspring to touch its leafy expanse!
So as I left school late, I was looking for a softener. My CD player isn't working and so I am only a bit ashamed to admit that I turned to the musical equivilent of an Us magazine and a bubble bath: Delilah.
Oh! The gleeful Delilah mockery on my way home! A woman called to confess her infidelity to her husband and Delilah played a "song of healing"--How Deep Is Your Love by those masters of healing, The Bee Gees. By the time Rafael called to tell Delilah how she was singlehandedly responsible for his returning to and finishing college, I found myself shouting at the radio "Hero!! Good Lord, Delilah, play Mariah Carey's Hero for the man!! He is a survivor!!!"
*sigh* It was like a softening smiley for my wretched soul.