Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

The August Syndrome

It’s been a while since I had it, the end of summer tidal wave of panic, the dumbfounded blinking at the time – space – trickery that turns a summer into a weekend. It is such a cliché, and one wants to claim a more original take on things, but here I am. SCHOOL IS STARTING! UGH!

Students have no idea about this, but teachers enter a crisis of identity and purpose each fall. It’s like this: you are faced with the necessity of bringing about 100 people, strangers who are not particularly predisposed to liking you, into your life on fairly intimate terms, and the seemingly impossible task of inspiring them to want to learn something, or transferring to them some knowledge worth learning, which you doubt you are in possession of. In fact, you are quite sure that at this moment there is nothing whatsoever you have to offer anyone except a glimpse into your general state of incompetence and confusion.

Each fall we invent the job all over again, which could be a fine thing except for one glitch: all we remember from the last time we did it is everything we did wrong, everything that didn’t go as planned, all the plans that didn’t go anywhere at all. A teaching career is like a trial and error experiment that never ends, they just keep switching the guinea pigs on you so you never do get to measure any results.

Right now there are about a thousand students eyeing their calendars, wondering what their classes will be like, their classmates, their teachers, all in about a week’s time. I imagine they think of us as part of the furniture, sort of the like ventilation system that just clicks in gear and does what it always does when a new school year starts. For all they know, we never even went home for the summer.

Well, it sort of feels like we didn’t. Last year was yesterday, but it was also so long ago that it is minuscule in perspective. You could pick it up with a tweezer and pop it in a matchbox. There it is, tiny and compact, but with a bit of explosive on its tip. If we get it right, we use that to ignite the Bunsen burner and the experiment goes on.

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This entry was posted on 10/08/2012 by in Uncategorized and tagged , .

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