It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving at 9:48 pm. I had just decided that I would be going to school underprepared on Monday when I received the following email:
Dear HISD Community:
Due to the Boil Water Notice issued by the City of Houston late this evening, all Houston ISD schools, offices, and facilities will be closed Monday, November 28, 2022. HISD will closely monitor the situation and provide additional updates regarding operations tomorrow.Signed Sincerely by the Superintendent
Hallelujah! I said to myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I am super thankful for my school, my salary, my sweet students, my week of vacation. But is it a week of vacation if I brought 44 AP Literature poetry analysis essays home for grading? Seriously. On Monday, I would’ve needed to grade the last 5 during my conference period and lunch. Of the other 117 essays, there were a smattering of A’s, even 100’s, but too many did not show understanding of the critical parts. I planned to pass them back for revisions. Three. The thesis statement. One topic sentence. And one body paragraph. (With smoothly incorporated evidence and commentary in connection to the prompt.) Okay, maybe a revision of half of the paper, but some targeted instruction and 40 more minutes should work wonders. Time is ticking. Two and a half weeks until semester finals. I need to finish my fall grades before 2023. Then suddenly May arrives, and my kids take their AP tests, essays included, for college credit and graduate. Ready or not, I feel some responsibility.
Instead of torturing myself with those last five essays or preparing for Monday, at 10 pm on Sunday, I finished Dead to Me Season 3 on Netflix, stayed up past my bedtime, and didn’t set my alarm. What an unexpected treat! Never mind the fact that I might need to boil water.
On Monday, I graded my AP LIT poetry essays, 4 of them anyway, uploaded a previously written recommendation to Julliard, wrote another recommendation for another student, graded some English IV personal narratives online. Granted I slept later, went for a walk, and indulged in some leisure, but by 4:25 pm I was still working toward being prepared for Tuesday. I know the time because I received an automated voicemail from HISD:
Houston ISD will resume normal operations Wednesday, November 30. The citywide boil water notice has been lifted and HRV personnel have begun servicing all equipment with waterline connections. The district does not anticipate the need to make up the prior two days.
Whoop! Whoop! I slid my laptop underneath the couch and continued binging Season 3 of Cuckoo and Season 1 of Wednesday on Netflix.
On Tuesday morning, a to-do list was in order. I notice that everything takes me longer these days, and I’m a little extra scattered. Focus, Crystal. Focus.
- Edit essay for student who politely asked for help with a college application essay.
- Create overhead agenda slides.
- Continue grading due English IV personal narratives. 16 to go. 19 missing. 68 total.
- Identify students with work past due/missing and failing. 27 of 191 = 14%.
- Check e-mail for students who may have e-mailed missing assignments. 0.
- Enter grades in gradebook.
- Add upcoming assignments into gradebook.
- Type sample research paper found in Writing about Literature, for a digital example of content, MLA formatting, and Works Cited.
- Prepare to teach The Importance of Being Earnest (for the first time).
- Create revision assignment with a checklist and examples of a thesis statement, a topic sentence, and a body paragraph with embedded quotations and commentary. Upload to Canvas for student submissions.
My vacation is officially over. Muah. Muah. But I’m ready to see the kids. That’s the easy part.