Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good Night Bad Day

In his latest piece for The New Yorker, David Sedaris makes the observation that when certain misfortunes befall you (in his case complications regarding air travel) it seems like a national tragedy that everyone should know about, and "only when it happens to someone else do you realize what a dull story it is."  That's good advice coming from a master storyteller.

I'm going to risk it anyway and take a few paragraphs to describe how awful our day at school was today. We are still in preservice, working in our classrooms and meeting with colleagues to prepare for the students' first day next Tuesday. As I've mentioned before, our school is at the end of a year-long update which has entailed all sorts of outrageous inconvenience for every staff member in the building for what is, in my opinion, very little improvement. The project was supposed to be finished as of last Monday, but like the vast majority of renovations, the contract ran over.

The punch list is extensive: the a/c has been sporadic, which we have dealt with; yesterday the power went on and off at least half a dozen times, which was kind of a nuisance, especially if anyone was trying to work on the computer, but today, today was the day when they were testing the new fire alarm system, ALL DAY.

What does that mean, you wonder? It means flashing strobe lights and ear splitting alarms at unpredictable intervals five or six times an hour from 9 to 3. The lunch break only made it worse; just when you felt like you were recovering from the traumatic ordeal, it started again without warning. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the experience could have been modified and used as torture. Physically and psychologically it was so draining that I honestly can't believe they allowed the testing to go on in an occupied building. We should have left, but there's too much to be done to get ready for the kids.

And bless their hearts, it was the kids who came to my rescue tonight. We had our open house for sixth graders from 6:30-7:30, and when I left school at 4, returning to that building was the last thing I wanted to do. I had to, though, and it was still with a bit of a headache that I dragged myself into the theater at 6:25, but there must be something magical about eleven year old energy-- by the time I waved good bye to the last family, and for the first time since June, I had my teacher groove on, and  I felt completely revived and excited about the new school year.


  1. Yeah, what you said. Interesting...I also capitalized "all day."

  2. I agree entirely. The renovation was nice, but was it really worth the money and inconvenience?

    That said, the new green in the sixth grade hallway is pretty fancy.

  3. Loved this. Our new library is six weeks behind, but they let us in it for the first day of classes. We also had the testing of the alarms, but ours was not as awful as yours (although all the students were more than ready to bolt out the door and declare "class over"). We limp along, but we are really happy to have this new library.

    The quote from Sedaris is brilliant.
    Good luck with your new year!