I had a partial seizure while running on the treadmill this morning. That sounds more dramatic than it is in reality, since a partial seizure (for me) results in little more than a 30 second brain scramble headache that I can only describe as "painful deja vu." I finished the last mile of the run because I'm stubborn and sometimes stupid, but I haven't had a seizure in over a year, so it was disappointing to acknowledge that I'm still an epileptic and haven't magically cured myself. It was a bad start to a chaotic day.
A freezing rain/ice/blowing wind/snow storm hit Iowa today after students had already arrived at school. Too late for our district to call a delay or cancellation, too forceful to continue through a full day. The announcement that we'd be dismissing early at 1:15 was expected by pretty much everyone.
What wasn't expected about today? (Aside from the seizure?)
The fire alarm that went off fifteen minutes after we scrambled to change the schedule to make sure students still rotated through classes was unexpected. The hundreds of middle schoolers sliding, skating, and slipping on the ice as we shuffled outside was predictable. Me staying upright even though I chose to wear heeled ankle boots in an ice storm was a feat of balance and an exercise in humility.
The fire alarm that went off five minutes after we returned from the first fire alarm? That was just bull$h*t. Luckily, they stopped us from going back outside when it was obviously a false (or malfunctioning) alarm.
Any career involves a certain amount of chaos every now and then, but throw in being responsible for living, breathing, troublemaking 13-14-year olds during all of this and I'm beyond exhausted. Whenever an unscheduled alarm goes off during the school day I'm filled with dread. It's a clarion reminder that I'm not just responsible for their brains and hearts while they're in my care: I'm responsible for their safety and lives. I think of it every time school shootings splash through the media, but it's not just those extreme events, it's the everyday disasters, too. And the thought that they'll be going home on buses in the middle of a winter weather storm is just another cause for worry.
It's a short day today, since teachers who live in the country can leave right after students are dismissed in order to make it home safely. I'll need to meditate and take a nap, and let the chaos of this morning settle.
I teach 7th and 8th grade English in rural Iowa and hope to reflect, connect, and share with other English teachers. Iowa Council of Teachers of English Executive Board member. Iowa Writing Project superfan. UNI MA:TESS graduate.