Naked lunch

Just saw the comments from PymFan and Jackie on the post about cultivating work friendships, and thought I’d report on the first week back at school.

It is great to be working with Dr. Tea again, and in addition to all the literature conversation and faculty/staff/student gossip, to be able to talk with her about the Snork Maiden’s adjustment (which has been as good as I could possibly have hoped for the first week.  She seems basically upbeat and engaged and not overwhelmed.  Surely there will be storms ahead, because this is middle school, but I’m so happy about the way this week has gone). 

I was able to eat lunch in the faculty workroom twice this week, and to chat with people I like.  The other two days, I had student groups meeting in my room.  Those were nice days too.  It looks like an excellent group of students working on the literary magazine this year, with lots of ideas and energy.  One of my English department colleagues is co-advising with me (since Maddie, who co-advised last year, is going back to graduate school), and I think I’ll enjoy working with her.  She is someone I haven’t gotten to know much; we’ve always been very cordial, but also fairly formal.  That will probably dissipate over the course of the year, since this is the first project we’ve really collaborated on.  I’ll have to think about a nickname for her.  She’s a rather intimidatingly fit woman in her early thirties who seems to camp, hike and rock-climb a lot–and when she’s not doing those things, she’s in the gym getting ready to. 

While it can be aggravating not to teach in my own classroom (it’s like I’ve almost forgotten pulling my rolling file box full of papers and supplies to all my college classes), I’m liking teaching a class in Akela’s classroom.  He’s a soft-spoken, courteous, somewhat older (mid-fifties) history teacher, and his room is a very orderly environment in which he obligingly cleared some shelf and drawer space for Romola, who also teaches one class there, and me.  I sense that I’ve crossed some threshold in his estimation, perhaps just by dint of sticking around SA for a little while (I think he’s been there going on 20 years).  At some point last year, he seemed to have recognized that we share, if not a great deal of institutional history, certain orientations and concerns, as well as a fair number of students, and suddenly it became a lot easier to talk with him.  I also appreciate that he’s very thoughtful about teaching and often has helpful perspectives on particular students.

I didn’t see Natasha at all this week–she teaches at the absolute opposite end of the high school, and we don’t use the same workroom or bathroom.  But we exchanged a quick email update on our daughters’ first week in middle school, and set a date to have lunch at the end of next week–which was, unfortunately, the first day we could both do it.  (Things have ramped up very quickly this year–or maybe they always do.)

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m always interested to read about your school, which is so much larger than FGS; it would be quite difficult to have a fairly formal relationship with colleagues here, I think, mostly because we all regularly eat lunch together — nothing like breaking bread to foster relationships — and because there’s a boarding community with many faculty (maybe a third?) living on campus and thus knowing one another quite well. But the question you raised a couple of posts ago about forming friendships with colleagues still holds here; for me, at least, there are many colleagues I consider friends but whom I don’t see off-campus. I meant to push myself and get together with some of these friends during the summer, and in the end I did none of that. But I think this is more about me and what feels like my social awkwardness than about the school.

    Anyway, best of luck in pursuing these friendships and in getting the new year fully underway (and I think that things always ramp up quickly and that it’s always somehow surprising when they do).

    Reply

  2. […] can be extremely pleasant, with Dr. Tea and Elinor and Akela and some other colleagues I like, all of sitting down and enjoying our lunches together.  My […]

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