#TeacherProblems

We’re dealing with a lot of stuff here.

I asked Lynnette for a haircut this weekend, but it didn’t happen. I can’t blame her, as we didn’t have a lot of free time. My uncle retired from the Air Force and National Guard on Saturday and we attended his ceremony. Sunday was solely devoted to the Tomari picnic. I thought there was a chance I might squeeze in a cut Sunday afternoon, but Lynnette and I were spent. I can’t even remember if we ate dinner that night or just showered and went to bed.

My best guess is that I'm roughly a half-step away from the ugly stage.

My best guess is that I’m roughly a half-step away from the ugly stage.

We rescheduled for Monday, but Lynnette was too tired. She brought home work last night, so we didn’t cut it then. There is a very good chance that I’ll stay late at work tonight to grade AP essays, so no hair cut tonight. Besides, tomorrow night is Back to School night, and I suppose I shouldn’t risk a trim right before the one night of the year I’m supposed to look the most professional.

Part of me believes Lynnette isn’t too bummed out about missing these appointments. She’s been cutting my hair for about three years now, but it follows the same pattern: She’ll two-guard the sides, then four-guard the top. It’s pretty short all around, so it takes about two weeks to get into any kind of styleable length, at which point, we’ll two-guard the sides down again. Then for about two weeks, my hair is at its optimal length. After that, I can’t one-guard down the sides because it looks too top-heavy, and the hair on the top is too long to pseudo-spike. So my haircuts come in a 4-5 weeks cycle.

At the start of the summer, though – since I won’t catch a “Ho, Mister, not the fresh fade, ah?” or a “That’s an unprofessional haircut, Phil,” I told Lynnette to one-guard the sides. “That’s really short,” she said. “I know, that means less haircuts,” I said. That was all she needed to hear.

This cycle is practical, but not satisfying. I want to have my best hair all the time. As is, I have hair starting to crawl over my ears. I have already cut down the most obvious offenders with scissors, but, um, it grows back. “Next time, use the four-guard on the top, but over your fingers,” I said. “What?” Lynnette said. “Like this,” I said, pantomiming using a buzzer over the top of my hand. I don’t want to have to wait so long for optimum hair length. “But my fingers aren’t even. It’s not going to be even,” she offered. “Yeah, but if not, we can just four-guard it like we always do,” I said. Lynnette got her hair cut two weekends ago and the first thing she told me? “That’s not how they do it.” Obviously, I am no stranger to hairstyle risks that don’t pay off, but I feel like it’s worth it a shot in this regard. There’s no downside.

I really did try to flip of the stack of essays instead, but I couldn't take a picture of my callus like that.

I really did try to flip of the stack of essays instead, but I couldn’t take a picture of my callus like that.

My handwriting is still pretty unsightly. My signature is starting to creep it’s way back to respectability, but we’re not quite there yet. Worst of all, my right hand and writing callus on my middle finger are both woefully out of shape. I graded a set of sample AP essays last week, and I don’t consider that much writing since it comes and goes in short bursts, but man, my hand was cramping. I’ve used my right hand to primarily do two things this summer: take pictures and hand over my debit card. Well, okay, maybe there’s a third thing in there somewhere.

But anyway, I usually enjoy the process of writing, but the past two weeks have been horrible. Taking two months off from writing regularly, then trying to jump right back into teacher mode was alarmingly like trying Insanity for that first week. My body was all “Why the f*ck would you attempt this?” That’s the same noise the pain in my right hand made. It’s that area of meat juuuust below the webbing between my thumb and index finger. “What the hell are you doing?” it said as I made corrections and suggestions to Brave New World essays. To make matters worse, I hated having to even look at my uneven penmanshit, even in varying colors.

There is probably no other lecture I despise more than this one.

There is probably no other lecture I despise more than this one.

I only have one British Authors class this year, and I can’t figure out if that’s awesome or a shame. I suppose for a person like myself who has spent his life in the relentless pursuit of the path of least resistance, it’s a bad thing. I studied British Literature in college and I have taught this particular version of it for so long that I don’t even have to think about it. In terms of the easiest possible line, it would five classes of British Literature.

But because I get bored easily, that doesn’t make me much happier. I teach five classes with four different name designations, and that makes things much easier to keep track of. When I had four British Authors courses, I couldn’t remember what I told which class sometimes.

Yesterday I gave the lecture that starts everything off. It is not particularly difficult to get through, but I feel the most animosity toward it because of what it means. Talking about Anglo-Saxons and Beowulf means it is only just the beginning of the school, only just the start. It also means that for another year, I have been unsuccessful in my quest of finding that bag of money on the side of the road.

But then sometimes it’s small victories.

I have trouble writing glowing reviews about myself because my father in particular raised me with the belief that I should never shine a light on myself. I just want to do my thing and go home. Always, that’s what I want. I do not need praise for doing my job. I am already compensated. Perhaps a fringe benefit can be free Cokes for life from the cafeteria. I am not against that.

Yesterday a group of 2010 graduates stopped by the school to speak to the current seniors about college life. Due to quirks of scheduling and timing, I never taught this particular group. They and their Honors/AP classmates are the only graduates since 2005 I have not taught. I somehow remembered all their names. After they made their presentation, I snapped a picture with them and caught up. Sadly, I had one more class and had to leave them. “I’m glad you’re still here,” one of them said. “Oh, I’m going to be here forever,” I said. It is my default response to any commentary regarding my tenure here. “That’s good,” he continued. Before I could react, he finished with “You need to stay here to hold it together.” I thanked him before scurrying off to class.

I am conditioned to reject such a statement of my importance or worth. It is simply not my way. But it still feels damned good.

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