It's happening already. I can feel it bubbling just under the surface, waiting to strike, like the kind of gas you have after bad chorizo from a questionable taqueria. This is that time of year when my job completely goes apeshit on my life and I have no energy left for anything else - things like a social life, for example. And blogging.
Even though school hasn't officially started yet, FREAKING THE F--- OUT officially started yesterday. (Unofficial freaking out started the day I left for Africa, though, so at least I'm well-prepared for the official freak out season.) Now I'm at the stage where I go in to school every day and force myself to stay there for hours staring at the computer screen hoping that lesson plans will magically appear.
(Of course, I think it's important to note that if any lesson plans were to magically appear, I would probably freak out EVEN MORE because seriously? Lesson plans should not just magically appear like that. Leprechauns should magically appear, and unicorns, and even flying manatees. But not lesson plans.)
I'm getting distracted here. That is also a symptom of this time of year - anything even remotely shiny will totally derail my work for hours. I think I lost at least half a day for a bubble gum wrapper last week. Not the outer packaging, but the inside wrapper that's kind of like foil, but not the thick aluminum foil you use to wrap up leftover meatloaf, but the thin foil that I really only ever see on gum. Totally sent me off on a tangent that I couldn't escape, and the next thing I knew I'd knocked over a 7-11 and guest starred on an episode of 30 Rock. That was a hell of a day, and I will definitely tell that story sometime.
But that time is not now. Now I am stressing out over work. Let me see if I can explain why I'm as stressed as I am:
Last year I taught two different classes - one Honors English class and one French class. I had three sections of the English class and one section of the French class. I also monitored a study hall, which gave me a little extra grading and prep time each day.
Sounds manageable, right? Right. Although we all remember how bad last year was, even with a schedule as "manageable" as that one.
This year I've been asked to teach four different classes - two different Honors English classes, one ballroom dance class, and one French class. And I have no study hall. For those doing the math, that means that it's twice the workload with less prep and grading time.
(But the same salary as if my schedule had stayed the same. I can't even make myself feel better with shoe shopping sprees? The HORROR!)
Shall we start a pool right now for when I head back to the psych ward? If I were you, I'd put my money somewhere in early October, but no guarantees I'll make it that long.
Okay, I need to make a few disclosures here: First, I agreed to this schedule - no one's holding a gun to my head, though it would certainly make this a more interesting post if they were. I wanted to keep my original Honors English class, and I was SO excited when they proposed a ballroom dance class for me to teach. When it turned out there was going to be a need for someone to teach a section of the other Honors class, I was willing - and even a little excited - to pick that one up too. But the French? Well you see, I made the mistake of saying, "I really don't want to teach it, please find someone else to teach it, but if you can't find someone else to teach it, and you're absolutely desperate, then I'll teach it again." And that, right there, was the nail in my coffin - saying I was willing to do it if necessary. Next year I'm saying, "NO WAY, I WILL NEVER EVER TEACH FRENCH EVER AGAIN!" And I will hold a sign while I say it so they see the all caps and know that I'm not joking around.
Second, I'm not mad at anyone about this, except for maybe at myself for not saying the whole, "I WILL NEVER EVER TEACH FRENCH EVER AGAIN!" thing this year. It's not the school's fault that no one wanted the job that I so badly wanted to give up. (On a side note, I suppose I wasn't the greatest poster child for selling that job, given how much I HATED teaching French. It's like when your friends are all, "Ew, this is disgusting, here, smell it," and then shove it in your face until you can hardly breathe from trying to avoid smelling it, but eventually you have to smell it and you're all, "Oh my GAWD that's so gross, I wish I'd never smelled it." Maybe this is why no one wanted the French job.) I wish I could be mad at someone - because then I'd have somewhere to vent all the stress and frustration - but I really can't.
Third, if I want to look at it this way - which I obviously don't, because this is the third point rather than the first - this schedule is a compliment. When I first got word that I was getting all four classes, the explanation was, "No one else can do it - you're the only one we can give these classes to!" At the time, I was very upset, so I kind of wanted to shout at her, "So I'm being PUNISHED for being GOOD AT MY JOB?!" But I wasn't raised in a barn, all evidence to the contrary, so I shouted nothing of the kind. I think I burst forth with something exceedingly eloquent like, "Ehm, yeah, huh..." I am such a good speaker.
I am going to go insane this year. I know it with every fiber of my being, even though I don't get enough fiber in my diet most days. I want to crawl into a hole and die already, and school hasn't even started yet. When school does start, I will probably want to crawl into a hole and die in a huge explosion that also takes out everyone in a four-mile radius, because I will hate the world so much by then that I will have decided they should all suffer too.
Are you excited? Are you stoked? Are you waiting on the edge of your seat for the awesomeness that is going to be this year? Because YOU SHOULD BE.
It's going to be amazing. Like all the best train wrecks are.