On my drive to work this morning, as I try desperately to feel warm, I realize that I am noticing my life in “slices.” I watch out the driver’s window as the line of cars drive steadily on: Everyone on a mission. I see the snow – the mounds have shifted farther in from the side of the road. It seems like a foreshadowing of spring.
But, I am cold. This March is a Lioness. My bones are chilled and I can not get warm. I. can. not. get. warm.
I remember second grade. We did a craft about March coming in like a lion, and leaving like a lamb. I don’t know why that project is so vivid for me, but I think the idiom must have felt important. Or else I just liked gluing the cotton ball lambs to my page. This was the same year that I asked my teacher what it was like to be a teacher. I have her response still, framed… but packed away because of our house construction. She said it was fun, and hard work. She said “you need to be ready for the children each day.”
I do need to be ready for my children each day, even this day! So, for the rest of my drive, I go over in my mind the things left on my to do list. I realize I never finished the new seating chart that I told my class I would do. I hope they give me the same lenience I give them on their missing assignments.
Arriving at school, I’m happy not to slip – the ice must really be going away!
My morning goes by with only minimal slice-noticing… Mornings are busy. As I told my students today in response to their asking after math if I had finished the seating chart, “Remember, when you are in math, I’m teaching math!” But lunchtime and lunch duty seem to scream, “Slice! Slice!” So I try to collect a slice of lunch. But all I can notice is the constant sound. I hear parts of conversations, but my turns around the cafeteria mean that I can’t hear enough to commit the conversation to my memory. I wonder if everyone’s memories of middle school lunch period are as indelible as mine. Maybe it’s the smell of cafeteria food, and the clatter of voices that helps me quickly feel like I have travelled through time to my junior high days. I remember trying to find a table to sit at, trying not to do something stupid. . . Lunch duty goes by quickly. I talk to students, make plans for taking them outside, and then I’m greeted with March’s Lion again: Outside for recess. I watch as kids slide on the ice that lines the tetherball court, and run round shooting baskets. I listen to the happy yelling, and try not to freeze.
Inside again, I teach, run a meeting, teach some more and exercise. My school day ends and I can pause again only after a pick up at the babysitter, dinner, baths, homework with the 10 year old and bedtime for the kids.
Then I sit at my computer. I remember how it feels to be a student – my assignment is due and even though I’ve been thinking about it for so much of the day, I have no idea what I will write.