Those who know Mrs. Scribe know that she can't possibly do her job until Room 215 is just right. Beatles posters on the walls. Crippy-crappy~including Green Bay Packers memorabilia~displayed on the shelves behind her desk. And speaking of desks, no real "teacher station" is necessary in Room 215. Give me a writing space~in the case of this year, one of the lab tables from a chemistry classroom~so I can stretch my long, long legs out. A 34-inch inseam, to be precise.
But the school year doesn't really start until the Happy Meal Toys come out to play. And this year, my 200+ collection of plastic paraphernalia didn't make an appearance until about 3 weeks ago.
Can you say "Stressed"? I prefer to say I'm "occupationally challenged." I have too many papers to grade. I have to dust & arrange my HMTs each Fall to make sure the presentation is original & well, happy. I can't do both the grading & the dusting at the same time. Of course, the toys had to be sacrificed to the God of All that is Holy at Our Humble High School~Grades.
Part of this, of course, is my fault. I added 2 Advanced Placement English classes to my schedule this year. And after a couple years off the AP treadmill, I'd forgotten about the sheer volume of student~and therefore, teacher~work. If you want to take the class seriously & if you want the kiddos to learn something, you've got to load them up. As in assignments. Which need to be graded. Lots & lots of A's, B's & mostly C's.
I've been at this teaching janx for going on 16 years. I've got 3 Journalism classes~Intro, Newspaper & Yearbook~on top of the AP gig. But one constant remains in my topsy-turvy schedule.
Students started bringing in Happy Meal Toys to add to my collection way back in the day. I have an expansive set of windows overlooking the senior parking lot, & had put a couple of tiny plastic figurines on the wide stretch of sill. My cherubs thought Winnie the Pooh & Tigger looked lonely, so they started adding contributions, 'til the perch beneath the windows was overflowing with McDonald's memorabilia.
So, something sadly was lacking during first quarter this year. I'd assign a timed essay~the bane of my existence as an AP teacher~and then glance out the window. Every time I looked through that wide expanse of casement windows, I'd remember. My toys still lingered in the closet. Locked up. Gathering dust.
I came in to school on a Saturday a while back. To dust, sort and re-arrange. Sully~he of "Monster's, Inc."~is one of my faves, but I didn't quite feel complete until I pulled Inspector Gadget from the box. At about 14 inches tall, he towers over the other plastic mementoes of Disney flicks, My Little Ponys & the original Pooh & Tigger. He came on the Happy Meal market in 2001, and had to be assembled, in 9 different parts. The good Inspector sported 2 right legs for quite some time. Extra credit to the young lad who stole Gadget's left prosthesis from his little brother's collection.
On that Saturday, at least, the papers, my cherubs, Our Humble High School, could wait. I had something happier on my agenda.