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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Word of the Day, vol. XI

Word of the Day: NAMES

I learned all 55 first names in about a day, gave myself the test of greeting them each by name as they walked into the classroom where I’d eventually be teaching half of them this semester.

Some of them are wary of me. Unsure of the young-ish but obviously authoritative woman working so closely with their regular teacher, apparently seamlessly, disciplining them as she does, using their names to their faces in encouragement and consternation and concern.

Wasn’t I just in high school? I swear they smell the same on the East Coast, so every time I walk the halls, I remember walking through my middle school, with the veneered wooden floors and plastic chairs. The echo-y halls smelling like bacon one day and beef the next. And always sweat.

Except, this time, I also have access to the staff bathroom, passwords and copy codes, the teacher’s lounge with one table, a water machine, and no working microwave.

This has all happened so fast.

My Program Director told me I wouldn’t be able to “just get through it,” which is what I thought I’d be able to do, as I’ve done so many times in my life before.

He’s right. I can already tell. I am a different person today than the one I was on Sunday, before I started. Not only because I’m doing this at all but because I think I’m good at it.

And, suddenly, I’m a “Miss.” A teacher with no first name.

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