Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buffy vs. Teaching

I’m afraid I’m an obsessive workaholic. I’m addicted to my job. It comes from doing a job I love and having no kids or a husband (thank god) at home to berate me for working late. Instead, the animals only stare silently as I wander through the door at half past eight on a school night. And where have you been, they ask me with their silent stares. I simply shake my head and dangle parsley before their twitching noses and all is forgiven. Or in the cats’ case, I simply scratch behind their ears and allow them to perch upon my head at night, purring into my ear. How simple and profound is the love of our pets…

And what on earth could you possibly find at the school to keep you busy until 8:30 at night, you might wonder. Well… you must first keep in mind that I, unlike legions of my fellow colleagues, refuse to carry work back and forth between the school and my home. I discovered early on that bringing work home would only ensure that most of it would not be completed by the following school day, which would result in many frantic, stress-filled hours that might have been avoided had I only stayed to complete my work the day before. Better instead to get it all done at school and then enjoy what free time I have left. I am quite simply much more productive in the school environment where I do not have access to my laptop writings, my fully stocked fridge, my favorite detective books through the ages (from Trixie Belden to Stephanie Plum to Eve Dallas), my Harry Potter collections in French, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin (in case I want to learn another language) or my extensive Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 1-7 DVD collection. You can see how distracting my house might be under these circumstances. Who wouldn’t want to watch the musical episode of Buffy for the 765th time rather than plan a lesson about polar bears for 2nd graders? Obviously, staying at the school is the best option for all concerned. Certainly, I’ve missed out on many wonderful opportunities to enrich my mind by singing along to Walk Through the Fire (”I touch the fire and it freezes me…”) but these are the sacrifices we make as teachers…

We turn our backs on the fire and we gather our courage and we continue to plan or grade or organize or whatever it is we do to make our days run smoothly in the classroom. And in our hearts, in those tiny moments when we realize this was a job well-done, we whisper our apologies to Joss Whedon and we promise to catch up on our Buffy watching during our summer hiatus when we will be experiencing the full onset of Buffy withdrawal… and of course, we will start and end with the greatest episode of all time… Once More With Feeling.

“Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes
They got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses
And what’s with all the carrots?
What do they need such good eyesight for anyway?
Bunnies, bunnies
It must be bunnies”

(reprinted completely without permission, which is really shocking because teachers never break copyright laws, these quoted words are attributed here to Joss Whedon’s genius, may he bring us another amazing show to worship… soon!)

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