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.
a quote from my favorite author
“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze