Okay, wait wait! Before you say "oh, gosh, Teach For America, I've had enough of your bell-tolling-nay-saying-deatwatch-beetle-scratching melodrama," hear me out.
I arrived prepped and primed for the first day with my four classes of Junior English, one of Sophomore pre-AP, and one of Journalism. I had my gads of copies (I have roughly 90 students total), my classroom was decorated to the nines, and I didn't look so shabby either. The only perceivable downside was the fact that they're currently roofing, so it sounds like a Viking bowling tournament above my head.
Then, as I was allocating my dialogue journals (SO excited for these!) to the proper shelf based on period, I started to detecting an odd odor. "Qué vida!" I thought. Not only did I have a cacophonous classroom (even without kids), but now it was odoriferous as well. But really. It smelled like a putrefying swamp. Determined to persevere, I continued reviewing my notes for the "First Day" lecture / info session.
Then a science teacher jogged by.
Me: Huh --?
Him: Evacuate the building!!!
Then the fire alarm went off. So I gathered a notebook and my keys, and did exactly that.
The verdict? A major gas leak had sprung when the roofers (whose daytime job is actually demolition), attempted to bodily tear off one of the swamp coolers. So we were left to shepherd our students and wait.
Our principal, really a stellar guy - he kept in good spirits throughout this fiasco, if that tells you anything - called everyone and their guinea pig and told us the news: we would begin our school year on Friday, not today.
So when I said that we at Zuni began behind, I meant it: we're literally beginning behind the rest of the district.
A more sobering update is that we don't have school tomorrow either - it turns out that the gas leak, while capped, revealed that the entire gas line is shoddy, suspect, and susceptible to the same sort of damage if the roofing continues. While this is good for curriculum planning (I'll go make a list of our book room books tomorrow morning), it means that I'll see my kids on Monday at the earliest.
If I had had ONE day with them, I would have assigned them homework, at least. If I had had a month or two (and if I'd built proper culture), I feel we could have an outside-of-school class meeting or discussion or something! But as it is, not even knowing their faces or their names outside the roster, I'm relatively helpless.
The writing diagnostic - replete with an Ian Frazier quote ("
(The numbers are SAT goals, along with [barely visible] boxes that show colleges with their median scores. The board underneath the "700" is the Shout Out board and is bordered by pictures from the La Manchan lagunas in Spain)
(I've been temporarily robbed of my bookcases, but the classroom library will be under these two posters. The lefthand poster says "like chicks? we do!" and is on its third life. In its first life, it was a sign advertising taking care of the baby chicks at the Farm; in its second life, it was used as décor in the "Gay"sement of our house last year; and currently, it is adorned with women writers: Cather, Austen, Morrison, Walker, Hurston, Power, Woolf, Cisneros, and Sappho.)