Monday, December 7, 2009

... of complete detachment

You know when someone shows up at a party at your house... and they never take off their jacket? Not like a cute, little,this-is-really-a-part-of-my-outfit jacket, but like a ski jacket. Of course you are going to think that they don't want to be there. And, odds are, they will only stay for 5-10 minutes and then explain that they have another party to attend, or didn't get much sleep the night before, or left the oven on at home.

I think it says even more when someone does not take off their jacket throughout the course of an 8-9 hour work day.

Now, it's one thing if it is cold inside. Sometimes it is cold here in our classrooms at Hendrickson High School. But we all have individually controlled thermostats that work fairy well 85-90% of the time. And still my co-workers and I will have one of those days where we are too lazy to mess with the temperature and we just never take off our jackets. We are supposed to be skillful educators who welcome students into our rooms with warmth and open arms. But instead, we are adults in ski jackets in a moderately temperate room, subliminally saying to our students: "Let's make this thing quick. I've got to get out of here and go home - where I really want to be." And that is exactly what we are thinking.

I only do this a few days out of the year. Days where I really didn't want to come in, I don't really have anything planned, we are probably watching some kind of musical, and I am out of the door before the bell finishes ringing. My co-teacher has not taken his ski jacket off since mid-November. I am starting to wonder if he sleeps in it. You see him and it's always like he's just come from somewhere or he's about to leave. The students come in his room and they ask him if he's going to be there that day. I want to clarify: "Mentally or physically?" Probably neither.

The end of the semester gets so draining that we all just start to wear our physical and figurative coats all day long. Not investing in anything, but just biding time until we get to leave. That might be okay if we worked at Dunder-Mifflin, but we are high school teachers, educating the future leaders of America... and we can't even muster the strength to take off our coats and stay for awhile.

Ah Christmas break... can you hurry... please?