I spent my Labor Day weekend -- well, two days of it at least -- working at school, which means that the short week we're about to have was actually a rather long week for me.
One of the realities of FGS's being a boarding school is that there are students on campus all the time, which means that there always have to be some adults there as well. We're actually less than 40% boarding, so we run more like a day school (no "triple threat" for us -- the teaching/coaching/dorm living required of teachers at most boarding schools), much to my ongoing relief. There are faculty who live on campus (although none of them live in dorms; there are separate "house faculty" who do only that, often stay-at-home moms with young children), and they have evening study hall duties and the rest. But those of us who live off-campus are mostly home-free, except for the dreaded on-duty weekends.
And here I was, on duty the first real weekend of school. And I'm sad to say that the good mood I've been enjoying faltered last night and fell apart for awhile this afternoon.
On the bright side, several elements of the boarding life structure went through a major overhaul over the summer, and teachers now have only four instead of six duty weekends per year. So I'm now 25% through my weekends -- hurrah! Plus, we each get only one three-day weekend, and I just had mine, which means that all long weekends are mine for the rest of the year. Yay!
One reason I got my grump on is that the weather didn't cooperate with us, and I spent a couple of hours slogging around on foot in god-awful humidity on Sunday; at the same time, other folks on a trip further from school actually got drenched in rain. All of which is to say that sometimes our weekend duties are downright onerous and wearying and even miserable.
On the bright side, however, sometimes these duties force a teacher into restricted times and places in which she might as well get oodles of work done. So I managed to comment on all of my seniors' college essay drafts over the weekend, most of them while on duty.
I regained my joie de vivre this morning, only to have it crash when my duty this afternoon wound up being truly frazzling, mostly because I was dealing with new freshmen who obviously haven't yet internalized the FGS ways of doing things, such as actually being responsible and on time and not making a bus full of students, driven by yours truly, wait in the heat for almost 40 minutes, despite repeated phone calls telling them to get their asses out to the bus immediately! The two girls in question did stay afterward to apologize to me in what seemed all sincerity, but I was still so wound up and overheated that, once I had dropped off everyone back at the dorms and swapped out the FGS bus for my own car, I called D. on the way home and immediately started crying out of the frustration of it all.
On the bright side, there was an anti-anxiety pill and a grilled cheese sandwich and mindless television waiting for me at home. I'm now feeling much mellower, and I waited until my good mood had resurfaced before writing my official email to the dean of students about the two girls' irresponsibility, so that I was able to write it with no hint of the hysteria I felt for a few minutes there.
And there's no telling what may come out of even the worst weekend duty. You may remember last December when I pulled off the stunning coup of driving my tall bus into a short parking garage. Well, as of this year, there's a new policy that faculty don't drive FGS vehicles into downtown on weekend nights but rather take the students on public transportation. Hurrah! Faculty have been complaining about these trips for years -- I remember one teacher who dropped off students in front of a fun downtown restaurant and then just had to drive around for two hours because it was impossible to park anywhere -- but I like to think that my fancy debacle pushed the school to change its policy. I'm an unsung hero!
And on the brightest side of all, as of tomorrow morning I'm done with various retreats and weekend duties and other non-teaching obligations for awhile; I'm back to the classroom, thank goodness! I'm hoping that my grilled-cheese high will carry me through my long day tomorrow and that my good mood will stabilize through the week.