Tales of the unexpected

Acclimating to a new workplace has so many little challenges!  It’s exhausting.  Even good stuff can add to one’s sense of how strange it all is–like the parent association’s sudden descent upon the teachers’ workroom to serve lunch.  It’s a monthly event, and I’m sure that when one knows to expect it (and doesn’t bring one’s own lunch that day), it’s a great pleasure.  (I’m afraid I experienced it as just another element of my general confusion.)  And so many things are neither good nor bad, just different:

  1. The faculty restroom in my part of the school is what my grandmother would call a one-holer.  It’s located inside the teachers’ workroom, so every time you go to the toilet, you walk past anyone who is working, lunching or photocopying in the workroom.  And very often, especially in the few minutes between classes, you come out to find at least one other person waiting to go in.  This just seems like a little more proximity to one another’s toileting habits than is strictly necessary.  However, I’m sure I’ll get desensitized to it fairly soon. 
  2. There are no bells at this school.  Of course, I have mostly taught at colleges and am not used to bells; however, I’m also not used to an environment where you’re supposed to let students go pretty much exactly at the end of the period and they all have classes five or seven minutes later.  It seems to me that when I was in school myself, the teacher might have wrapped up class a few minutes early, but we were expected to dawdle in our seats, packing up, etc., and not actually get up and go until the bell rang.  But seeing as how things seem to go pretty smoothly at Starfleet Academy, I’m wondering why that was.
  3. Because of the extremely brief class change times, though, students keep coming in at, say, 11:28 for a class that is supposed to start at 11:30, and asking, “Ms. Something, may I go to the bathroom?”  As in, is it okay if I am a few minutes late because of the bathroom?  So, what with #1 and this, I am more aware than I have ever been in my entire professional career of how often other people are peeing.  Once again, casting my mind back to my own high school days, I really don’t remember excusing myself for the bathroom in high school; I remember making bathroom trips when I got to school and before and after lunch.  Of course, when I was in high school in the 1980s we didn’t hydrate constantly, the way people seem to do now, so it’s entirely possible that I didn’t usually need to pee between 8 AM and lunchtime.
  4. I am dressing better at Starfleet Academy than I have ever dressed as a college teacher.  The students have a dress code; the administrators are totally prep-school; the English faculty all dress quite nicely, although in a variety of styles.  I have bought a couple of new tops and a badly needed new pair of black pants to sharpen up my look, as I haven’t bought new teaching clothes in quite a while and I am now looking at a five-day-a-week schedule. 
  5. We have a Spirit Day coming up.  Jeans are permitted.  This is clearly a big event.  Again, not something that happens often in college.
  6. Another thing that doesn’t happen in college: students who finish a quiz early turning the quiz over and drawing cartoons all over the back of it.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that occur to me.

In other news, I was telling Friend of Long Standing about my new work situation and about how, if I’d had just a teeny bit more warning, I probably would have dropped my NCC course.  (But that course seems to be going really well, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t–even though it really is too much.)  FLS said, well, you should earmark the pay for the NCC course for something special, so that you can think about that and see where that extra effort is going.  (Which is so very much an FLS thing to say.)  I said, offhandedly, that I had been thinking about fixing up our patio some; we have a nice covered patio area, but haven’t really done anything with it.  It would be nice to have some plants out there and some furniture so that we can eat outside when the weather is nice.  Yes, said FLS, that’s exactly the kind of thing I meant. 

And a couple of days later, FLS called to say that she actually has a small patio table in her garage that she’s not using.  She bought the set because she wanted the chairs; did we want the table?  Sure!  She dropped it off today while I was at work.  So maybe I will do some cleaning up out there this weekend and start looking around for a) a patio rug; b) some chairs; c) a couple of plants.  And I wanted to grow tomatoes this year; it’s probably not too late to start seedlings inside, though I think I have started them earlier in the past.   


3 responses to this post.

  1. I’m laughing at your new familiarity with other people’s urinary habits, because it’s so familiar from my first month last spring! Having everyone on the same schedule throughout the day means that teachers as well as students all need to go to the bathroom in the same five minutes at regular intervals during the day. This year I have found all of the various faculty bathrooms scattered around the school, which has improved things considerably.

    I love it that your students draw cartoons on the back of their quizzes!


  2. Posted by meansomething on March 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Yeah, it’s pretty funny! There are other faculty bathrooms, but they’re not as convenient for me, so I’ll probably remain a member of this particular urination club.


  3. […] seems far more important in high school than it ever did in college.  And yes, I have become desensitized to the one-hole bathroom. Really don’t even notice it anymore.  Possibly related posts: (automatically […]


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