Thursday, September 04, 2008

First Impressions

As many of you have gleaned at this point, I have been transferred to a new school this year.  And if you didn't glean it, I'm going to assume that you've just been really busy.  Probably something really fantastic happened like you won the lottery or you woke up one day with a clear picture in your head regarding a permanent cure for crow's feet.  All that rolling around in found wealth and being hugged in lingering and slightly uncomfortable ways by middle aged women everywhere would certainly take up much of your time, after all.

I may have mentioned the whole "transferred to the bad job at the middle school because they needed someone with my alleged skill set to clean up a mess of epic proportions and maybe someone in the transfer department hates me a little bit" thing once or twice...

It's not such a big deal, really.  I move around a lot, job-wise.  I rather like having a fresh start on a regular basis.  And, when you take the really bad job at the middle school, everyone feels very sorry for you for at least the first three months.  You pretty much have a blank check to do whatever you want.  People will be nice to you.  They have to.'s not a bad idea to try to make a good first impression.  And people are awfully busy right now.  They could probably use a nice first impression to keep their spirits up.  Yup.  I was going to come in today with the best impression I could muster given that I have to get up at 5:00 in the morning if I'm going to come in with any sort of impression at all.  I also had my first round of bus duty this morning so it was a good time to show the new colleagues that I am a dependable and hard-working sort of impression maker.

I made it out the door in record time this morning and that should have been a hint.  No good can ever come from being on schedule that early in the day.  There is nowhere to go but downhill.  Here are a few of the things that may have had something of an impact on my impressioning:

*I arrived at school and, before I could even exit my vehicle, I set off the panic alarm.  That stupid button on the key fob is so danged sensitive!

*Had I realized that it was my car honking and flashing its lights as a warning to all and sundry that The Big, Bad Sheepie had arrived, it might not have been so bad.  But I didn't and I missed the opportunity to shut it off before too many people figured out it was me.  I thought it was the lady next to me.  I may have even looked at her with an appropriately sympathetic face because I didn't want her to feel so embarrassed by this horribly public expression of key fob mishandling.  Hence, the alarm went off for longer than one would like in this sort of situation.  Long enough, in fact, to attract the attention of half the assembled staff and the occupants of the three arriving school buses.

*I slunk into the building and quickly made my way to the classroom.  If I rushed, I could be at my appointed post for bus duty with time to spare.  My classroom was locked.  I would like to state clearly and for the record, that I have been asking for keys for two and a half weeks now.  It took some time to find someone who had a key to let me into the room and I was still unable to get into my office.  Nor was I able to open one of the three classrooms in my happy little suite of rooms.  The students were on their way, I had no office and was missing a third of the space in which I normally teach.

*I was late to bus duty.  And yes, that would be the duty that is also manned by the assistant principal.  Because what you really want on your first day of duty is to be late in front of one of the bosses...

*I spent two hours trying to get someone to share the keys with me.  Students had arrived.  Many had no schedules as they'd left them at home.  I have copies...but they were locked in my office.  By the time I was finally starting to make some headway on the key thing, I was not in the best of moods and it is entirely possible that I was less than pleasant with several people.  I should have gotten my stupid keys, though.  I don't feel all that badly about it.  

*Both the school safety officer (who is, I think, the same cop who mans one of the local speed traps) and the aforementioned assistant principal were further impressed by my management skills when a student of mine was found in possession of a questionable (but later deemed harmless) substance.  

*As the day wore on and the temperature climbed higher and higher, my hair decided to make an impression of its own.  And it was nothing if not memorable.  I no longer cared at that point, though.  I figured it might distract people...

*My new office used to belong to the assistant principal.  Hence, the principal keeps calling me on that extension because he can't remember that it is now my office and not his partner in school administration's.  Thankfully, he has a pretty good sense of humor because, otherwise, I'm not sure how he would have taken my saying to him, "That's OK.  I'm trapped in here all day.  I just like having someone else to talk to..."

*The nighttime custodian who came by to clean while I was enjoying a nice visit from Last Year's Cheerful Teaching Assistant (who I miss dreadfully and who needs to come back to my classroom before I do something really horrible and start making an even worse impression) was probably not looking for a lengthy speech from me regarding the situation with the keys and the fact that I still don't have all the ones that I need.  She probably had other places to be given that the custodial staff has been cut by a third.  It also may not have been such a good idea to tell her that I'd like to borrow some tools to remove a door knob so that I could just solve the problem entirely.

Yeah...I may have missed the mark on a few of my impressions today.  Once you blast your car alarm for a full minute, travel from pillar to post begging for keys for two hours and proudly display hair that has twisted itself into a sodden, but yet surprisingly lofty, mass you are pretty much hard to miss.  I guess I will need to either lie low tomorrow or redouble my efforts at making a good first impression.  

I'm leaning towards the low lying.  It seems like less work and I think people always appreciate the chance to recover from a horrible shock...

It's good to be home.  Home is the place were you always make a good impression because everyone already knows everyone else and is willing to forgive one or two little quirks.  

Like not having a solid understanding of what one's "good side" might be.

Or how some like to lay on the manual that comes with the rice steamer, thus preventing the steaming of the rice and forcing the resident chef to make something else for dinner.

We are family and we don't care if we sometimes aren't looking our best or if it's a grumpy, no-keys kind of day.  We accept.

No knitting today, I fear.  It is hot and I need to spend some time tonight putting my new (but not entirely useful) set of keys on the key ring.  I also need to wrestle my overly humidified hair back into submission.  

It is making something of a scary impression, even on those of us who are more accepting of one another.



trek said...

I am now thinking that maybe I should set two alarms for tomorrow morning and plan to leave an hour and a half early for my twenty minute commute - just so's I can verify that I can actually access my classroom and ensure that there is paper in the printer and Internet access and a working overhead projection unit.

Sorry about the "impressions", Sheepie. Go have a B&W cookie: you have seriously earned one today.

That or a double hot fudge sundae. Take your pick.

Mia said...

Hmm. This sounds like a seriously sucky day. I recommend a cool water bubble bath and chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Anonymous said...

WOW, and this is only day 2 of school! Look at it this way; it can't really get much worse, can it?

Trek's right - go have a B&W cookie!

Mouse said...

You deserve a cookie Sheepie!

Leigh said...

No! I didn't glean this! Yes! I've been really busy. Fantastically so? No such luck. Sorry you had a bad first day. But I love your sense of humor. I agree about the chocolate. And I love those kitty pictures!

Anonymous said...

I don't suppose that hanging a sign around your neck saying, "I have been asking for keys to my classroom for over two (2!) weeks" would have been a good idea, would it?

Lorraine said...

Yoikes! Ice cream, especially the home made kind, might be a powerful mood enhancer, too. Or maybe an ice cream sandwich made with B&W cookies.

Anonymous said...

Sheepie - Please! One of the main responsibilities of managers is to provide to all subordinates the information/equipment/environment necessary to perform their jobs. Kind subordinates will point out any lack of the above and ask what they can do to help. Not-so-kind subordinates, lacking the above, will let chaos reign. You are a kind woman. But if management does not assist you, the resulting reign of chaos may be amazingly instructive.
Assuming "you" can survive the chaos. Jane

Karen said...

I would say that things can only get better from here. Or at least that's what I hope.

Jeanne said...

Sounds to me like you need your very own Krinkle Cave to hide in. On the bright side, it's now officially the Weekend.

Kath said...

Ohhhh...Jeanne had a great idea! That's the solution - a teacher-sized krinkle cave!

This is why I love my fur family - they don't care if my hair is turning into dreadlocks, how stubbily my legs are, or how recently I've showered - it's all good and guaranteed snuggling and purrs. Can't beat that!

Alwen said...

My hair loooooves humidity. I am thinking since the Halloween stuff is in the stores, some Bride of Frankenstein black and white hairspray is in order!