I love going to the doctor and hearing, “That’s stress induced.” Isn’t it always? Headaches are my number one stress induced ailment. And, lately, back and neck spasms. I get this muscle right beneath my shoulder blade, either one that just clenches right the heck up and radiates pain down my arm and up my neck.
I’m trying to relax, honest, ma. But, it’s tough, lately, as you can imagine. But, it will be over soon, I guess. I never got this kind of stuff before. Teaching is hard, yes, but these high profile events, like graduation, tend to bring the pain.
Yesterday I had an assembly with the Seniors. We practiced graduation and got ready for the big day. Me and 500 high school seniors. True, I had some administrators popping in and out from time to time, but mostly, it was me. Friday, I had a brief assembly with them, too. Nobody in there but me. No teachers, no security. Just me.
I don’t like “tooting my own horn” but I gotta say, it’s not luck that the Seniors sit, listen, follow directions with just me. It’s a learned skill, born of four years doing this, plus 6 more years of drama work and I have to believe that my training as a writer/director from film school helps, too.
So, today, in the stadium, I ran graduation practice again. No administrators. No teachers. One security guard who lurked way down on the end and then, near the end of practice, another CSO showed up to help. I’m grateful, no doubt, but I wasn’t having behavior problems. The kids got in the stands, took their panoramic picture, then followed directions and got in their rows.
Did I mention that the microphone for the stadium sound system wasn’t working and my bullhorn decided to take a siesta? No? Oh, that’s what happened. So, there’s me, 5’7″ me, with no sound amplification, giving directions to 500 giddy seniors. And, they listened and followed them.
Not only that, but we practiced the procession. The seniors walked in single file as instructed and simulated processing into the arena for commencement. And, it was just me and some Junior Honor Attendants acting as traffic cones on the field.
I wonder where the back spasms came from? Could it be the stress and pressure of producing one last good graduation? Maybe. Yeah, that could be it.
Honestly, I don’t want to care. But, it’s not the kids’ fault that I’m being replaced. I guess it’s mine for being me. So, I don’t want the kids to have to suffer a poor graduation as a result of me being demoralized after having bled black and green for four years, being told, “This is your school” when clearly it is not. If it were my school, I would have kept me.
I’m a big fan of my work, as you can imagine.
So, it’s rest, muscle relaxers and ibuprofen to get my back right for the big day. Graduation will be fine. There will be some nice plants on stage, that I arranged to get there (you’re welcome FUSD). In appreciation of my efforts I’m being given some time off and some Junior English classes.
I’m just gonna say, maybe my replacement is awesome. But, if not, then they are gonna need tons of help. ‘Cause next year, if they throw some first year Activities Director out there on the field with no teachers and no administrators to help them rehearse their first ever graduation that they’ve never planned before… well, I’m guessing someone else will have some stress induced ailments too.