I pulled a pie out of the oven last week and rammed my forearm into the edge of the 450 degree oven. The last time I burned myself like this I was ten; I was so proud of my perfectly round pancakes that I brought the entire griddle into the living room and raked it across my right wrist showing them off to my mom.

Enthusiasm hurts.

Plans for the blog this year include a blow-by-blow play of teaching in a school in a Race to the Top state, where change– always last minute in teaching, and always a given– is still coming faster and thicker than I’ve ever seen it, and will require careful thought. We’re a Title I school now. Tenure as we know it has been abolished. Summative measures will not only dictate my job security, but will now compromise 80% of my students’ grade. We have no subject director.

But reflection before reaction, as the song says. (See below. Trip hop is awesome for classroom cleaning, and if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear that this neat tune samples an equally amazing one– “Eminence Front,” by The Who.)

So it’s my hope that those posts will be useful to others in the same situation.

But today, our “summer work day” at school, I feel empty; scoured out. It’s hard to put my finger on it. I can’t tell whether the depth of the change has already deadened my emotions in self-defense, or whether I am finally moving past the over-the-top angst I often feel before the school year begins. Or whether I am just sleep deprived. We have a new ten week black Lab in the house. I am grateful for her warm, happy little life in the living room, even at 2 AM.

The skin under my burn is healing, as shiny and delicate a pink as the inside of our new puppy’s ear. I catch flashes of the scar-to-be as I work my way through a two foot pile of filing today. It’s almost beautiful.

And when I am interrupted, several times, by future students coming by with their parents, there’s no irritation. I’m just sincerely glad to see the kids, and keep them longer than necessary, talking about books they’ve read over the summer. I love how the faces of my seventh graders are still so responsive and bright. I look into their eyes, and am surprised to feel no pain.

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