June equates to a great many things for a public school in New York City. Hopefully this post can shed a little bit of light into what I mean. It all starts with the beginning of the end.
The three-day Memorial Day weekend might be one of the most loved weekends by Americans across the board. From the long-awaited ushering in of good weather, to the even better ushering in of eating steaks and burgers off a dearly missed grill, this festive weekend may just be the best few days of the year.
For me, spending Memorial Day in Long Island with a bunch of friends was perfect. The sun, the beach, relaxing, lawn games, and continuous grilling made for a memorable time.
But this post wouldn’t be fun to read if it ended there…and if it had nothing to do with the tribulations at school.
So back to the Memorial Day. Outsiders might think it was all sunshine and happiness after these three days off. If you look at it based on numbers, teachers in the city have only three weeks of school left on the schedule (for college readers that alone sounds terrible). Some might even think that teachers and students might be in a cheery mood all June because we are all looking forward to better, more comfortable weather. With a glorious summer free of work lingering just over the orange city horizon, shouldn’t it be a cake-walk from here on out?
These notions are far from reality.
Last week, the beginning of June felt like a hot, humid, sledgehammer over my head. With temperatures in the 90s, and only about 25 percent of our classrooms with air conditioners, I felt as if mother nature had punished us all – especially those of us confined to the fourth floor of a building that traps in heat like a pizza oven.
Thankfully after Tuesday and Wednesday, the temperatures cooled down and became livable, but for those few days that lied in awful contrast to the glorious weekend, it was teacher-hell on earth. It is safe to say that all fingers are crossed for a cooler rest of the month, but the way the weather has been acting this year (all extreme-like), we could be in for more punishment.
Like a fiery magma ball, building momentum as it plunges to the earth from the sun, a sweaty, humid, 90-plus degree day in a room without A/C makes is sure to escalate any negative emotion in a building.
During these days, the sweat dripping down from your face and neck is less of a problem than the general fact that human beings at school become a bit more easily agitated (myself included).
Last week I found myself strolling around the halls, an ugly grimace on my face, just looking to assign a few demerits for hallway misbehavior. (I actually didn’t give any, but that was my mindset). In class, I found myself wiping sweat from my brow and then whipping my head around to give a set of powerful stank-eyes to a few students who were routinely chatting during a lesson.
With a headache from the dehydration, the loudness in the halls seemed to be amplified, as was my tolerance for annoyance in general. Even tiny, unimportant occurrences, (such as the internet wires in the school melting so that we have no connection for a week), were making me tick.
I know that I’m exaggerating the awfulness of the sticky situation, but quite frankly, it is not comfortable in June without a room with A/C. In addition, to make matters worse I am admittedly a quick and heavy sweater.
Throughout those two days last week, a few quotes I received, as I was going through numerous shirt changes and about 20 plastic cups worth of water cooler refills, were:
“You know that you are sweating, right?” – 7th grade student
“It’s hot in here” – Whiny 9th grade student
“You’re sweaty” – Little, informative student
“Did you just play soccer?” – Curious 8th grade student
“You must generate a lot of heat” – Teacher
“I love my air-conditioned room” – Evil teacher friend
“I’ve been through five shirts today” – Gym teacher at other school
I’ll finish this post with a prayer for coolness for June. There really is not much school left on the calendar. The High Schoolers are preparing for their Regents exams and there are 3 half-days for the Middle Schoolers. Everyone is preparing for Finals and getting their grades in, and before we all know it, summer will be upon us. Here’s to the thought of being able to act on our inhibitions of spontaneously jumping into a pool.