Working With Adults – the Highs and Lows
Did I have a day yesterday!!
Let’s see, where to begin? Perhaps with the negative amounts of sleep I’ve been getting lately – I might as well be back in the classroom running around like a crazy person as we teacher types are prone to do in a desperate attempt to get everything done despite the general public labeling us a lazy instead of taking this year to dig in and finish my dissertation and launch a website. I mean, yes, I’m still working hard, but nothing NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compares to the insane schedule that goes hand in hand with a well-run classroom. (And to all my pregnant peeps out there – you deserve a freaking trophy for doing all that you do with a new, rapidly growing friend in tow. I. Am. Wiped.)
So after attempts to render myself perky (read: a long shower and some much heated debating over which outfit makes me look the most professional and the least like a small tent), I packed up my Teacher Bag and was out the door. Honestly, it felt good to dust the old girl off…it’s been awhile since my spine has curved under the weight of that puppy. (Seriously friends, try to streamline what you take home over the weekend…I literally now have one shoulder that is higher than the other. Like visibly higher. By about an inch or so. And it’s all from years of dragging around my Teacher Bag Full O’ Papers and Books To Possibly Be Ignored Over The Weekend Only To Be Dragged Back Again On Monday Complete With Head Hung In Shame. Believe me, it’s not a good look.)
For yesterday I had a workshop! Now I’m new to this whole working with adults business – I’m in this phase that reminds me of my first years in the classroom. Where I am OVER PREPARED with a HEINOUS AMOUNT of materials and a VERY DETAILED set of notes to speak from so I don’t forget anything. And the lists – oh the LISTS! Lists of overheads, lists of hand outs, lists of things to talk about, lists of questions to ask…the listing options itself make this whole gig totally worth it.
And while I miss my little friends so much more than I ever thought I would – I mean, some days I would give my left arm just to have someone ask me for permission to go to the bathroom and before you suggest it, I’ve already asked Mr. Mimi if he would indulge me and as I’m sure you can imagine, the answer was a resounding “no” – I have to say that I’ve enjoyed working with adults. So far. Most teachers are lovely. LOVELY. And ready to walk away with some new tools and ideas. And did I say lovely? I have yet to run into the stereotypical Bitter Teacher who could give a rat’s ass about anything I have to say and is repeatedly checking her watch waiting for it to be time for her to officially retire. (I say “officially” because this type of imaginary friend most likely Unofficially retired a looooooong time ago.) Perhaps there have been some miserable souls sitting in on one of my workshops, but thankfully they have kept to themselves and not rained on my I Love Teacher parade.
Now, while I love working with teachers and the idea of setting foot into an elementary school practically makes me giddy, I am still fairly nervous and try hard to make a good impression. So imagine my horror when I get PULLED OVER BY A POLICE OFFICER COMPLETE WITH FLASHING FREAKING LIGHTS RIGHT OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL WHERE I WAS ABOUT TO TRY TO IMPRESS THE PANTS OFF 35 PEOPLE.
Yeah, go back and re-read that last sentence, because THAT my friends, THAT just happened.
I’m in this little community (which shall remain nameless, of course) trying to find parking amidst the narrow streets, some of which are evidently only one way. (Can you see where I’m going with this yet?) Now, I left myself plenty of time, so I wasn’t exactly rushing, but I was definitely paying more attention to the signs that related to parking than I was to the signs that related to directionality. Evidently, I spent approximately 30 yards going in the wrong direction. (Thank goodness I was driving like 10 miles an hour and there were no other cars.) And WHAM! Police car on me like white on rice.
I contemplated continuing to drive so that we could be slightly away from the school rather than RIGHT OUT FRONT and then feigning stupidity but then thought better of that plan. Instead, I dutifully gave the officer my license and registration, making sure to draw attention to my now very noticeable baby belly. (Does that make me a bad mom?) If pulling the Pregnant Lady Card wasn’t enough, I also played the I Work In The Schools With The Children Who Are Our Future Card.
I was not about to get myself a ticket.
The officer was very nice when I explained to him my situation and then found me a fabulous parking space, also right in front of the school building. Thankfully, most of the teachers were at lunch, so no one really saw. Or at least I don’t think they did. Regardless, I spent the next few minutes in my car checking email and pulling myself together hoping that those who DID catch a glimpse of my humiliation would pry themselves away from the window and not notice WHO got out of THAT CAR.
Eventually, I made my way into the school, stopped in the entryway and inhaled deeply. Oh! How I’ve missed that distinct smell that is an elementary school! All that glue, industrial cleaner mixed with a hint of child….aaaahhh! (I know, I sound a little nuts, even to myself, when I re=read that last sentence.)
Either way, I think I rocked the workshop. If at all possible, I avoid Power Point Presentations (or as I liked to call them when I was teaching – Opportunities To Pull Out My Planner and Get Some Work Done While The Lights Are Out And No One Can See Me) like the plague. I also try to be funny. And relevant. And realistic. So far it seems to be working. I had some really great conversations, got some new ideas myself and basked in the glow of some very lovely compliments.
While it’s not quite the same as being there for that moment when new content finally “clicks” with a child, it’s still pretty nice to hear that something you said or created was useful to a teacher.