As I've complained about many times, I do not have a classroom. It's the first time in five years that I've been clasroomless, and it's really a terrible way to teach. I have a huge cart that I pack everything I can on, and wheel it down the hall from classroom to classroom. The kids don't see me until the very last minute, so I spend a half hour a day (six times changing classes) saying, "Excuse me... Excuse me... hey guys, you mind moving over a little?..."
It was my turn to float. Every year, an English teacher has to float, and it was my turn. However, my teaching load is huge, one of the couple biggest in the department - 170 students - and I teach all 9th graders, many of whom are fairly clueless. They have no concept that the classroom that I have is not my classroom, no matter how many times I've said it. They need help. Therefore, I shouldn't have been chosen to float. Period.
The longer the year goes on, the more irate I get. This is partly because it gets more and more difficult to float, and partly because the people above me have told me time and time again that I would have a classroom by the end of the year. Both reasons are wearing on me, big time. Floating while I'm coaching is hell, because I have so much stuff all the time. I leave with one change of clothes for school, then I go to the gym and change after my workout, then I go to school, and then I must change again after school, and then into my clothes for practice. That's three sets of clothes a day, and so I carry two duffle bags plus my school work bag with me every day. Stacking all that shit up in an office that everyone uses - along with kids' stuff, when they don't have a locker - is really taking up a lot of space. It's making it harder and harder to float.
In addition, this is the time of the year that is relentless. I have stacks and stacks of essays and I'm getting back from school every night at nearly 8pm after I drive kids all around the city to their various busstops and homes. Yesterday, I drove north up Loch Raven and then west to Perring Parkway; today, it was up over near Mondawmin Wall and later near the Safeway on Harford Rd where I dropped kids off. I finally got home and really have no energy for grading tonight after I finish my lesson plan for tomorrow.
So I have all these papers to grade and my cart is getting heavier and heavier with every day. It's horrible. In November, I was told by some powers that be that I would have a classroom when I returned from Christmas break. It's now March 2 and there's nothing on the horizon. If I wasn't told I'd have one, I would have been a whole lot better off now. Hope is a dangerous thing.
Therefore, I have started to replace the motivational quotes on my desk with anti-floating quotes. My first was, "Help! I'm floating away!" The second one was a play off my "The only difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks is how you use them" - I put "The only difference between floating and hell is that in hell, you know what your sin was to receive the punishment." I am going to gradually replace all of my motivational quotes with anti-floating quotes. I have no idea why, really; I guess it's my passive agressiveness getting the better of me.
But that's not all. The third and fourth years of my career were intense years of tumult in the school system and the school. In the 3rd year, a budget crisis threatened my job and everyone else's I know. In the 4th year, an ineffectual new principal almost drove the school into the ground. Through that all, I always felt like my classroom was a sanctuary. I would hear complaints about the school, and I would look at the complaints with disbelief, knowing that my classroom was immune to it all, a haven from the chaos outside the door. But, now, I feel like my whole teaching world is in chaos, and I have no place to settle and call my own. People are sympathetic, they really are, but I'm so unhappy with it that it's nearly impossible to console me. I can laugh at it, on occasion, but the thing that keeps me going is that next year, I won't be floating. Because if I am, I'll be transferring to a different school as quickly as I can.
I'm starting Shakespeare this week so, really, I'm in a good mood. But just thinking about floating makes me mad, mad, mad.
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