Sunday, August 24, 2008

Overwhelmed and Underprepared

School starts officially tomorrow. Students will arrive, expecting teachers prepared to start teaching. Administrators will expect lesson plans, syllabi, course outlines, parent letters.

Friday morning, at approximately 10:03 a.m. Texas time (devastation has a way of making me notice the exact time of tragedies), I was told that I will have not two, but four preparations.

Four different preps.

Oh. my. word.

At that moment, I expected to be hiding in my portable classroom Monday morning, head in hands, wailing.

In my personal life, I am random and abstract. I may spend three days looking for a pet crochet hook, or a particular yarn, only to forget what pattern I was planning to use.

In my professional life, I am concrete. And sequential. I want to be prepared. I want to have everything lined up in rows, alphabetically organized. I have all my handouts stacked in order, square corners, aligned with the edge of the shelf.

None of this is going to happen by Monday morning.

As soon as I got the news about the four different preps, I called my niece Tara(, who is one of the most organized people I know, and began to sob into the telephone. She immediately grasped the enormity of my dilemma, and instructed me to come to her classroom during my lunch time.

It's a twenty minute drive, to another town, in a different school district, but I was desperate.

When I got there, she had all her class files up on her computer, ready to load onto my flash drive. She had made an appointment for me with her department chair, who was ready with another set of files, paper handouts, and books she was so generous to give me.

When I got back to my own school, two of the teachers I have just met this week offered similar kinds of help.

Tara helped me because we are family, and that is what family members do: we help each other in time of need. What a blessing it is to be part of a large, close-knit family.

He department chair and the two teachers at my school helped me out of the goodness of their hearts.

Like Blanche DuBois, I found myself depending on the kindness of strangers.

How grateful is my heart today.

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