The clock radio comes on and Mr Fiendess gets out of bed. The Fiendess herself is awake mentally but the old body won't respond. She notices that it has been turned to lead overnight. Although she is not sleepy it seems that it would take the will power of Valerie Bertinelli on the Jenny Craig diet whereas she is operating more at a Kirstie Alley level. Two or three failed attempts to rouse herself out of bed finally get results. (Is there hope for poor Kirstie?)
The Fiendess hauls her ass out of bed and stumbles to the bathroom. For some reason her feet always have difficulty flattening out in the morning. It hurts. The routines are easy enough, no thought is required but passing the mirror while naked always induces invasive thoughts of the nasty kind. She tries to push the thoughts of her appearance out of her head by soaking it under the stream of hot water.
shave legs? nah it's tights season
dress-supervision duty today and it's raining-resist urge to wear the outfit most closely resembling pajamas
dry hair-grow damn it grow!
makeup?-tinted moisturizer, couldn't be bothered to do anything else
Downstairs now, she is running a little behind schedule. Mr Fiendess has left for work on his bicycle, Fiend Jr. is sitting in a chair sulking. It is nearly semester turn around and exam time. School sucks. He is ready to go so she says that she just has to scarf down some cereal an brush her teeth. Five minutes, she says. It takes ten.
The Fiendess drops her son off at a friend's house on her way to work. She has half an hour before the kids arrive and it is used up quickly. Check e-mail, get supplies and photo-copying ready, fill a mug with water, get a few math tests marked.
The school doors open and 29 kids, 10 and 11 years old, begin to fill up the classroom. They have questions and stories to tell. Fifteen minutes later the bell rings to start the day and she steps on stage. It is a performance. She doesn't know how to do it any other way. Not that it isn't real, not a performance in that sense, just that she has a show to put on. She has to keep their interest and attention while they learn about fractions. It occurs to her to talk like a game show host so she does. The kids like it and play along. They do the fraction game show. Then she leads them in a quick movement activity- change places with someone who has eyes the same colour as yours, everyone with freckles trade places with someone who doesn't have freckles, and on like that for a few minutes. Then she shows them some writing samples written by students from another school in another year. They are anonymous. Here is one that isn't a pass. Here is one that is average. This one is quite good, it is just right for the grade level. This one is mind-blowingly amazing. They notice together what the qualities of the really good writing is and then the missing qualities of the really poor writing. Then the students write. One writes mind-blowingly, five write quite well, fifteen are adequate and eight are poorly done, no effort or interest is apparent. How can she inspire them? She doesn't know. She keeps trying.
Recess and although as usual she has promised some students she will help them with some work, she suddenly remembers she has supervision duty. So sorry, but she can help at the lunch break. Outside it is wet. What else is new? She watches the children play. When the bell rings there are some children who have gotten themselves stuck in some bushes behind a deep puddle. She wades in, reaches, grasps hands and pulls. The children pop out. She herds stragglers back into the building. Her own 29 are in the classroom making noise. There is more work to do, more demonstrating, acting out, prompting, coaxing, reminding, remonstrating, supervising. Finally it is her favourite time. She settles the students into some quiet drawing and gets out the chapter book she is reading out loud to them. It is peaceful and quiet. some students draw quietly while they listen, others are enraptured, staring at her, mouths hanging open as they are drawn into the adventure. She loves to read out loud, making different voices for different characters, noticing ahead if it says that a character shouted or whispered and doing this as she reads the words.
The bell rings for lunch break. At this school students play first and eat second. She keeps a few students in the classroom because they want help or extra time to finish their work. She answers questions, gives examples, encourages and reassures. When it is time for the students to eat, she gathers up her things and goes home.
She is starving and it will take much willpower to make a proper lunch and not just eat the first things in sight. She sympathizes with Kirstie Alley. Damn Valerie Bertinelli and her perky little self. She makes coffee. This is the time of day she needs it. She has brought school work home with her, marking, Scholastic book orders to organize and send, papers to sort through. She turns on her computer, planning to read blogs while she eats. She really wants to have a nap. A nap for the Fiendess is a minimum of two hours. There isn't time today because she has to return to school for a staff meeting. She decided to kill time writing her blog and reading other bloggers.
The Fiendess grabs her coat and bag and heads to the car. She goes to the coffee place down the street and gets a soy latte for herself and a chai for her teaching partner and reaches the school just in time for the traffic jam that is parents picking up their kids from school. There is nowhere to park. Parents park in the staff parking, line the roadside and idle in the drop off lanes. Why are schools always so under supplied with parking? She idles as she waits for a space, feeling guilty about the whole idling thing. She rationalizes, excuses, gets defensive and finally parks. It is a meeting, of course it is boring.
The staff meeting will likely go until 4 o'clock but since she has a workshop that begins at 4pm she has an excuse to leave early. The workshop is on Autism and is quite fascinating. She feels like a zombie. She wishes she could sleep all day tomorrow.
Arriving home, the Fiendess has no fight left in her at all. She drops her coat and bag on the floor by the door. She warms up a bowl of soup for dinner. Mr. Fiendess and Fiend Jr are at the soccer practice. There are dirty dishes in the kitchen, the bathroom needs cleaning, the floor needs sweeping. The Fiendess makes her way upstairs. In the bathroom she washes her face, brushes her teeth (she's a fairly regular flosser but there are times when she skips it) gets into on old oversized t-shirt and crawls into bed. Her body aches. Her brain buzzes. She can't get to sleep, but sleep is all she wants. She feels guilt. About everything from not flossing to not sweeping; from not doing any marking to not being awake to say goodnight to her son when he finally gets home. She is feeling drowsy now, but great ideas to write about start flooding her head. She composes whole sentences, whole paragraphs and they are brilliant. Where is a pen? Where is her notebook? Soon she is asleep. Soon the clock radio will come on again.