I received a phone call on August 3rd saying, “we’re (such and such) district that you interviewed with, would you be interested in a position?” I said yes, when does it start, what grade…the usual questions. Well, come to find out, school started August 7th. Excited, I immediately jumped in the car to go to my new school and see my new classroom. I drove a long hour drive and drove in the school parking lot and looked around, realizing the parking lot was deserted. I wiggled the gate and got into the school grounds and found a janitor who said, “no, no one is here, come back Tuesday when school starts. Remember, Monday is a staff meeting.” I walked back to my car and began to cry. How would I prep for my first day of school when there was no time to do it? I didn’t even know where my classroom was!
On Monday afternoon, I was handed my keys and went to my classroom, Room 42. The floor was sticky and dirty (the janitor said, oops, forgot to clean and polish it over the summer, too late now) and rather empty. All that was in the classroom was literally two large but different sized round desks, an empty teacher desk, and a whiteboard. No pencil or books or anything. I inquired about supplies….how would I write “welcome to room 42” without markers? How would I teach without books? I was told “oh, you go to the supply closet. But it is only open on Wednesdays but not this Wednesday since they’re busy cataloging the supply”. Great. I was to start the year off, without a pencil, pen, book, or sheet of paper for over a week. And what about chairs? Were the students to sit on the floor? I was directed to a dusty corner behind the portables to the desk graveyard where I found dusty desks and chairs covered in black widow webs. I donned some gloves and went to find some one to help me lug them to my room but to no avail, so I pushed each and every desk and chair for 35 students, across the blacktop in 100-degree heat.
I don’t recall my first day of school. In fact, I don’t recall anything up until Halloween and that’s mostly because I have a photo of it. I honestly have no recollection of those first few months.
Now I don’t proclaim to be the world’s best teacher, especially not my first year. I was not Erin Gruwell from Freedom Writers of Joe Clark from Lean on Me. I admit I ad my faults and messed up, but who doesn’t in their first year? But this school had it out for me, I swear, and only later were my suspicions confirmed.