Now that I’m back to a 7am-3pm desk job, Sunday has returned to its status as the day that isn’t really a part of the weekend. Sunday is for twisted up stomachs and OMG ANOTHER WORK WEEK so you gotta do the most with Saturday and spend Sunday getting ready. Winter is coming.
I am heading into my THIRTEENTH year of teaching. I have taught pre-K all the way through undergraduate students at college. I have taught classroom music to elementary school students, band to 5th through 12th grade students, and choir to middle school students. I’ve taught financial math and algebra 2. I’ve taught regular and honors classes. I’ve taught online classes. I’ve taught in the northeast, the midwest, the southwest, and the southeast. I’ve taught at private and public schools. I’ve taught in very poor inner-city schools, rural schools, universities, and high performing schools. I have taught in classrooms, in portables, in gyms and cafeterias. I have had fantastic administrators, administrators that should have been called out for harassment, and everything in between.
I have seen a lot of shit and experienced a lot of stuff that I can’t unsee or un-experience and it causes me to have a fair amount of anxiety about in-person teaching, so for the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about what I can do to make this transition as comfortable as humanly possible on my psyche.
1. Coffee and Water
Having a warm cup of coffee in the mid-morning helps de-fuzz my brain and open my eyes. Having water regularly available helps my fat body stay hydrated and healthy. So heading back into a rigid schedule when I can only leave my room for certain amounts of time at specific times made me worry about these two things. When I went to the BlogHer conference in June one of the vendors was a Melitta specialist who was handing out free pour over coffee thing-a-ma-jigs and filters. I already had a water heater-upper so I packed all of that at got #4 filters on BOGO at Publix and ground coffee so I can make it whenever I want.
For the water side of things I’m going to fill both of my 32oz Nalgenes here before I go, plus I will have a flat of bottled water there in case I forget. The bottled water will also be used for the pour over coffee.
2. Office Chair
There is a story behind where I got my pretty good/okay office chair but basically what I’m saying here is that I’m not sitting on those kids chairs with wheels that they give teachers to sit in. I’m bringing my own damn office chair that has padding and is made for my fat, adult ass. IF ANYONE STEALS IT I WILL HUNT THEM DOWN AND WITH FIRE AND BLOOD I WILL TAKE BACK WHAT IS MINE.
3. Bathroom Accoutrements
There are not many things that are worse for me than not being able to go to the bathroom when I need to go. I’m one of those irritating people who has to go RIGHT NOW because I didn’t have to go THEN and so that can make sitting through a 50 minute class period torture. Eventually my body adjusted and while I still had occasional bouts of “DON’T MURDER EACH OTHER I HAVE TO PEE” and leaving the room, my bladder tends to learn when my prep period and lunch periods are.
But this year I’ve decided to take that up a notch. I am in a classroom in an actual building and I am right next to the staff bathroom. I plan to take full advantage of this by making my own bathroom kit. I took a small tupperware tub and placed it inside a Publix reusable grocery bag to add stability, and I proceeded to fill it with the comforts of home. Good toilet paper. Wipes. Febreeze spray. Foaming hand soap. On top of that I put a travel bathroom bag and filled it with stuff too. Hand sanitizer. Hand lotion. Listerine strips. Floss pick thingies. Face wipes (bc I sweat like a mofo). Excedrin. Pepto Bismol chewables. Fingernail clippers. Hairspray.
I am going to be comfortable.
When I was working from home I would have podcasts on. Netflix. Hulu. “Hey Alexa, play my Beyonce radio station on Pandora.” Luckily most of those things are available on the wifi at school. I received my school issued laptop last Wednesday, and immediately signed into iTunes and found all the podcasts I listen to at home and subscribed to them there. I have a bluetooth speaker AND bluetooth headphones (for listening to The Read, LOL) and the classroom has a setup that allows my computer to be hooked up to a projector and speakers in the classroom so I can watch shows or listen to music that way too. Once we start getting paid again I may even buy a battery dock for Alexa and bring her back and forth with me. 🙂
Side note: I now have access to Garage Band so making my podcasts each week will be much easier and higher quality (hopefully). Hooray!
5. Quiet Time/Brain Reset
I am an introvert. Not because everyone thinks it’s cool to say they are an introvert because they like to be alone sometimes, but because I am one. Being around a lot of people for an extended period of time drains me pretty extensively. Here at home I could take a nap or jump in the pool with my snorkel on and surround my face with water to drown out existence, but those just aren’t options in a public school. So I had to think fast, because I honestly can’t overemphasize how jarring this transition is going to be. The kids won’t notice because I am a fucking professional, but inside my brain it’s just constant screaming and Rick Rolling.
I bought a yoga mat for that special yoga event at the blogging conference and then they ended up providing them for us, so I have this brand new mat that’s not doing anything. I brought it to school with the intention of maybe locking my classroom door and doing ten minutes of meditation during my lunch. I know that would be SO GOOD for me, so I’m hoping I actually do it, you know?
If course there is also planning for teaching to do, but I’ll do that during paid time. 🙂 For now I’m having a good time making sure that my time is comfortable and as low-stress as possible. Everything I’ve mentioned was stuff I just had around the house and threw in a bag. The only things I bought were the coffee and filters for the brewer. Thank goodness it doesn’t take too much.
Wish me luck.