My Biological Teacher Clock is A’Tickin’

And before you get all excited, no, in my book a biological teacher clock does not equal anything baby related…I’m just saying it’s kind of the same thing, right?


Okay, let me explain my thinking. You see, you spend the beginning of the summer just relaxing (read: laying face down on the couch watching whatever comes on the television after The Today Show because you lack the energy to even lift the remote). Or at least I do…and if you’re honest with yourself, I think you do too. This is a very necessary step in one’s Recovery From The Previous Year. For me, it feels a bit like my early twenties (I’m going with this whole biological clock analogy thing…please, try to keep up…you know how I love to beat any sort of analogy/metaphor/image to death by NOW) when I knew that some sort of future awaited me in education, but it seemed all really far away…you know, in the world of Bills and Responsibility which I was fortunate enough to avoid until after college.

Then, as summer chugs along, you get to the point where you realize you should probably DO SOMETHING with your time off and presto! Out come the To Do Lists. How I love me a good To Do List filled with grand plans of organizational genius! I think I might be blushing just thinking about it! Anyhow, you realize you should do something and start frantically making plans for all your Big Projects. You list all sorts of things that you Should Have Gotten Done During The School Year but whatever, we all know those sorts of promises are almost impossible to keep. It’s like my mid to late twenties – I went and got a masters degree, started teaching, went back to school for my doctorate…I mean, if that’s not similar to frantically listing things like “Clean curtains” and “Make doctor’s appts”, I don’t know what is. I was like a crazy person on a mission to educate the shit out of myself and anyone I came in contact with.

Finally, it’s the end of the summer. You notice that it starts getting darker a bit earlier. Every major office supply store has commercials with joyful parents shopping for Back To School. Most of your Summer To Do List is complete, and you rationalized that the rest of the list can go screw itself because it’s the end of the summer and you need to ENJOY YOURSELF. But, in the midst of all this enjoyment (read: cocktails, back to school shopping and sleeping late), you feel like something is missing. Perhaps it’s the cool heft of a stapler in your hand, or the multi colored beauty that is a planner filled with big ideas and our beloved post it notes or maybe it’s the sound of all your friends laughing at your latest read aloud. (Was that last one too shmaltzy? It felt a little too “awwwww” for me, but I threw it out there anyway. Admit it – you miss the kiddos!) If you admit that you’ve had this feeling, than you know what I mean when I say your Biological Teacher Clock is ticking.

So know we’re BACK! And even though we all love to bitch and moan about going back and oh, my alarm clock and I hate commuting, and is it always this much work…we also love getting back to it because we are ready. And we are addicted to school. And maybe office supplies, but that could just be me. Whatever, we are stapled, papered, labeled, planned and back-up planned. We have mapped out bathroom policies, homework routines and read alouds. We have a vision of the first few weeks, a plan for the rest of the fall, a goal for where we are going. We have a PURPOSE! (insert fist pumping and high-fiving here)

In honor of the FIRST DAY BACK for many of us and in the name of BEING PREPARED (Because I learned pretty quickly to have a back up plan for the back up plan and so many tricks in my tool belt that it was ridiculous…not one moment was to go unplanned or unattended! Although really, what’s with the tool belt metaphor? Like that would ever match my fabulous back to school outfit…), I have a fun story from my first year when I was, well, not prepared. (I know, can you even imagine? Me? Not prepared….insanity! But it happened…once.)

I should have known it wasn’t going to go well after spending several hours crying over pencils – how to handle the pencils, organize the pencils, sharpen the pencils, deal with the millions of pencils I envisioned strewn all over the floor nameless and homeless…the horror! However, I had fooled myself into a lull of preparedness by mapping out literally every second of the first day. Every. Single. Second. And then some of the seconds in between those seconds. And I did it. I made it through the first day of school. I was mere seconds from dismissing my class of new friends when I realized, here was a second I hadn’t prepared for. After my HOURS and DAYS and WEEKS of preparation, after all of my nudity filled anxiety dreams, I had never thought about the following scenario – where the HELL was I supposed to take them at the end of the day? Seriously, how do I GET RID of them?!?!? I mean, the day went well and all but it’s over. O.V.E.R. Over and I need to lay down for a bit, but they’re totally still here and I don’t know what to do with them.

Me: (popping head out into hallway) (looking around) (looking around) (Where IS everyone?)
Super Colleague To Be: (popping head out into hallway) (looking around) (looking around) (We make eye contact.)
Me: Uh, what are we supposed to do with them?
Her: Uh, I don’t know. It’s my first year too, remember? I thought YOU would know.
Me: Crap. (Okay, I didn’t really say “crap”…I know better, but it’s funnier.)
Her: Crap. (She didn’t really say it either.)
Me: What do we do?
Her: I don’t know. Line them up? Walk them downstairs?
Me: Maybe we should wait and see what the other teachers do and copy them?
Her: Good idea! Why didn’t we ask about this before?

So we faked it. We faked it until we saw a more experienced teacher lead her class down stairs. And then we promptly copied her.

Hope everyone was prepared today, because like it or not WE’RE BACK!

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  • People always made fun of me because I was ready to go back to school by the middle of July…yes, we do miss them.

    And this year I'm in charge of Kindergarten recess…what a hoot. Imagine 75 five and six year olds converging on the playground…total freedom…all that space…marvelous, sweet chaos!

    Oh…it's GOOD to be back!

    September 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm
  • No, you aren't the only one addicted to office supplies. I bought me some of the retractable EXPO markers AND the retractable Sharpies. Gotta love 'em.

    September 10, 2009 at 1:14 am
  • OMG – Did you hit the nail right on the head with the description of summer! And if we miss part of that summer cycle; it just might as well have not happened!

    September 10, 2009 at 1:48 am
  • I also share an addiction to office supplies, namely Sharpies and Post-It notes. I had a colleague suggest that I put the sharpies in the drawer, so the kids couldn't get at them. I suggested that I teach them how to use the sharpies responsibly and they are now the "special art tools" that we do a project with once per month!

    September 10, 2009 at 3:49 am
  • As a future teacher about to graduate next year I BEG you to write a book for new teachers- a manual, a manifesto, and ode to the office supplies that no good teacher should go without. . . What do you think??? I get Blooms, differentiated instruction . . . but how to solve the pencil quandry??? How??!!??

    September 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm
  • This blog totally describes my summer! (I even have part of my "to do" list posted on my blog!) Sorry to hear about your breakdown about pencils. I would just do what you did when you walked your class down the stairs…see what the vetran teachers do and follow them. It's worked for me for the past eight years! 🙂

    September 11, 2009 at 6:12 am
  • In New Zealand we don't have Sharpies but I think you mean 'felt tip pens'. In my class we have two classes of felt tip pens- mine and theirs. Mine become theirs when they loose their best pointiness and ink so I keep a current supply of decent pens.

    September 11, 2009 at 8:42 pm
  • June flew by. I kept wishing for a do-over on June! July was great, though. August? I started convincing myself to get up earlier, and then said "Aw, heck" and started reading the Harry Potter series again instead.

    September 12, 2009 at 1:30 am
  • I had to let my husband read the part about planning even the "seconds between the seconds"–he thought I was the ONLY ONE. and the office supplies….well don't even let me get started! We in Georgia are starting our Sixth Week of school….great to be back:)

    September 14, 2009 at 12:01 am
  • Oh, the seconds in between the seconds can absolutely ruin your life!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm
  • This how I feel for a lot of the summer! I finished teaching summer school at the end of July and was anticipating Sept about a week later. I am not so good with free time. I like have a purpose and things to do, otherwise I fill my time with naps.

    I am super glad I found your blog.
    Thinking of Thinking

    September 23, 2009 at 1:03 am
  • Mimi,

    I LOVE your blog and I am going to buy your book! Check out my post, I am giving you a bloggy award!

    Keep up the fantastic writing. I hope to write a book someday too and I am so in AWE that you have done it. I am a fellow teacher, sharpie lover, and writer!


    September 23, 2009 at 1:03 am
  • Ha ha I just found your blog today and I laughed out loud about being addicted to office supplies…that is SO me!

    September 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm
  • "laying (sic) face down on sofa"

    speaking of biological clocks.. women lie in bed

    (lying on sofa)

    September 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm
  • hi, my name is Dena. I am addicted to office supplies…… I think there should be a teacher support group for this! lol.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm
  • There should be a support group for teachers. Oh, that's right–it's teacher blogs.

    September 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm
  • There shoild be a teacher suppoprt group for teachers!! Get real.

    September 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

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