I hurriedly step into the classroom and crane my neck to calculate how many seconds are left of passing period. When does the second bell ring again? I have almost two full minutes. Just enough time to rush down the hall and share a brief quip with a colleague.
Shelley and I started teaching during the same year, ten years ago. She was a January hire and I remember feeling a sense of competition all those years ago. However, it didn’t take long for me to recognize that we had the same values and would prove to be a powerful force when it came to instituting much needed change in our district. We worked together on committees and through co-teaching. Our friendship grew beyond the school building through weddings and baby showers.
Today, as I dart amongst the students to get back to my classroom before the bell rings, I wonder how I will get by when she goes on maternity leave. It hits me that I hunger for social interaction within my school day as much as the middle school students I teach long to spend time interacting with their peers. I need the validation of my friend to assure me that I am normal, that other humans feel and think what I feel and think, just as much as my students need the validation of their friends.
“Ten seconds!” I call out in an effort to usher the lingering 8th graders to their classrooms. This time, I understand just how hard it is to break away from conversation with friends and face a day of school.
I kick out the doorstop and enter my classroom. The bell rings. I sigh and although I enjoy the next 45 minutes working hard with my students, creating a classroom community of readers and writers, I admit to myself that part of me is watching the clock and looking forward to the next passing period when I may get a chance to exchange a few words with a friend.