- The weekend: A blur of end-of-quarter paperwork: exams, quizzes, folders, spreadsheets, percentages, miles and miles of red ink.
- Monday: Our new schedule went into effect: classes shifted and split, a whole new routine, a new homeroom, new names and personalities to learn (who knows what, who doesn't know what, who can sit by whom, who can't sit by anyone...).
- Tuesday and Wednesday: I was stricken by a particularly virulent stomach flu and remained home, laid up for two days (the misfortunes of my ailment blended with ongoing end-of-quarter logistics to form a particularly unenchanting blend of nausea and drudgery.
- Thursday: Returned to work, groggy and out of the loop. The kids ask me a million-and-one questions for which I had no answer. It's a weird short day, the kids are dismissed at one, and report card conferences are held from 2 to 6.
- Report card conferences: it was an open-appointment format—the parents arrived in dribbles and drabbles, sometimes with the kid, sometimes without, to pick up the report card. After my rag-tag week, it felt remarkably professional and real. My grades were reasonable and fair. The conferences went well. Whew! Six o'clock rolls around and it's officially behind me.
- Friday: It was another curious short (make-up for Gustav*) day. The classes were more casual than usual. We played the radio.** I dazzled the 6th-grade boys with my drawing chops. In the afternoon, we went on a field trip to City Park. (We hoofed it there, a distance, as I'd explained during our measurement discussions, a distance of approximately one kilometer.*** It was lovely.
** I've had to introduce a "No Popping" rule for my class—no straight up booty-shaking. My fifth- and sixth-grade girls will sit in groups and bop along doing math problems. But certain songs make them want to get up and start shaking it, and, in all earnestness, I have to decry, "No popping!" They understand and don't argue. (There's a time and a place.)
*** As a benchmark for a mile, I tell them "from the school, down Esplanade, to the I-10–you know, by the purple Man Chu...". (The Man Chus are a pair of ghetto-Chinese take-out joints near-ish to our school–the pink one on Broad, and the aforementioned purple one on Claiborne by the highway.****)
**** (Footnotes within footnotes. (Parentheticals within parentheticals.)) I've bonded with the students over the fact that my dad grew up in the radically-dilapidated-but-formerly-honorable old Creole townhouse next door to the purple Man Chu.