So, I was having a little discussion with my editor today (okay– it still makes me feel very swank saying that. Forgive me. I have so very little opportunities for swank.) I told her I was going in to work for a little bit of time and she wondered that I was going back so early. I bitched about California and my own high school district in the same sentence, and then I said that I felt a little bit like Spiderman.
During the summer, I was a fearless word-slinger, creating new worlds, fighting my nemesis of editing and writing my mansex and reading it too.
At summer’s end, I go back to being Peter Parker, where I can’t win for losing, even if losing means screwing up a long dump into a wide hole.
After wandering into my classroom (which my daughter and her friend graciously decorated–it looks good, in spite of the fact that I forgot EVERYTHING I’d already bought for my room and needing to bring it on Monday) I managed to talk to the other Junior English teacher. She’s a district veteran but a high school rookie, and I’ve worked with her in the past.
We see eye to eye–but I warned her. I warned her I was political poison. I warned her the department heads hated me, and my opinions were bad for her. And I warned her that this was a mostly male department, and even though I loved most of the guys, some of them will, quite unintentionally, create an atmosphere in which a woman would rather gnaw on her own wrists instead of venture an opinion.
She seemed to understand.
But both of us met world weary eyes over my desk, and there was an acknowledgment there. There was an acknowledgment that we both had screwed up schedules on our roster–she had more than forty kids and I had a period that didn’t exist. She heard me ask to be connected to the printer so that I didn’t have to send my work home to print out, and then take the master back to school to make the copies, and my concern that I’d done this ALL of last year. I heard her say, “I don’t understand why we don’t teach the persuasive paper in the fall. ALL of our literature is persuasive! Why would we have to teach the reflective paper–it doesn’t fit in with any of our literature at all!” And the obvious reason was because the men who teach sophomores wanted to teach the persuasive paper, and our opinion didn’t matter.
It was the same old shit, different day. For her, it was even a different location.
I felt compelled to warn her that I used to be able to leave my door open and let my kids in if I had to run to the bathroom, but that I couldn’t do that anymore. She looked sad. “That’s good to know. I don’t know what I’m going to do–I teach periods one through four–I’m going to have to potty some time!”
I was glad to have a friend–an estrogen bearing one–and someone who knew the score.
I was also trying not to be too depressed that nobody at this job (or at least nobody in my department) was going to care–even a little bit–that author Amy Lane had a REALLY phenomenal summer, and had been given credit for knowing what she was doing with the English language in a public and encouraging way.
It was hard when the first thing I did was set about cooking a unit up to get the goddamned reflective essay out of the way so we could get our department head off our backs and not because we could think of a single other reason why it needed to be taught in the first semester.
Apparently, my two month stint as a successful author is over, and it’s the end of that world as I know it.
I feel okay, really. Better, now that I’ve watched the videos. Yeah. Definitely, definitely much much much much much better.
Maybe by Monday I’ll feel fine.