Ready? Yeah, right

First day of second semester, and I arrived at school feeling so ready.

First semester finals graded ✔

Moodle course site updated ✔

Chromebooks assigned ✔

Textbooks ready to check out ✔

Seating charts carefully designed and printed ✔

Lesson plans ready ✔

What could possibly go wrong?

If you’re a teacher, you know the answer. Anything can happen. I was at school at 6:30 a.m. for  7:25 class, and it took until 7:15 to get my computer working. It was cold or tired or something — I don’t know. The wheel kept spinning, programs were unresponsive, and I was working on Plan B — the low-tech version — until the computer decided to fire up just in time.

Then I read an email from a student who wasn’t sure how his first-semester grade added up, so I went in to double check the math and realized I had done made a mistake in the weighting scheme. I tried to fix it and messed up my whole first-semester grade book. That launched a parade of students who of course immediately checked their grades on their phones and wanted to know: What happened??

Note to self: Do not read email just before class.

Of course there were new adds to each class, so I had to figure out where to put them — we’re pretty much at capacity with 36 kids. The attendance system wouldn’t let me take attendance for first hour (still no idea why). And my new glasses, first ever “progressive lenses” (yes, bifocals) made everyone look just a little bit blurry and gave me a slight headache.

My perfectly smooth, well-planned morning turned out to be a constant barrage of questions, changes, modifications and quick fixes. Nothing went seriously wrong, nobody got hurt, but still it was draining. It took me another hour at home just to make sure the gradebook, attendance, seating charts and logins are all right now.

I hope I didn’t forget to tell them anything today. I hope they’ll be forgiving. I hope tomorrow goes better.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, this is why your teachers always look a bit haggard at the beginning of a new term.