Timing is Everything
Last week was an extremely busy time for me. Not only was it the final week before report cards had to be done, but I was coordinating a Science Fair. This included having students present their projects during class time, marking them all, coordinating the set-up of the projects in the gym, finding volunteer judges, providing refreshments and instructions for the judges, announcing winners, awarding ribbons, taking pictures, organizing the Open House, greeting parents, fielding disagreements with parents over student marks and prizes awarded, cleaning up the displays and preparing an excerpt for the monthly newsletter.
Last week, I was bent as far as I could possibly bend without breaking. The ultimate moment of chaos occurred on Wednesday at noon. Judges had arrived and were expecting a greeting from me. Simultaneously, half the students had not yet set their projects up in the gym (some of whom hadn’t been assigned a location and I had to take care of that). I was trying to eat my lunch and juggle between instructing judges and corralling students out of the gym; my hair was frazzled and standing on end, my gaze was darting and my blood pressure was through the roof. I was trying to rummage through piles and piles of project manuals that were marked, half-marked and not-yet marked, marked but not recorded in my book, and all other variations, while offering donuts, water and juice to judges, handing out clipboards, trying to figure out who could judge french projects, offering pleasantries about my marriage to a former teacher, trying to remember this tall guy with curly hair’s name, seeking out a marker that wasn’t dried up for name tags, ascertaining the origin of the ungodly smell of rotting agar, deciding how to decrease the temperature of the gymnasium by about thirty degrees, and duct-taping an extension cord to the floor when a smiley (if somewhat oblivious) young-at-heart, somewhat antisocial grade 8 boy popped his head into my line of vision (actually just mere centimeters from my nose), displayed in his palm his nearly-solved Rubik’s cube and blurted out, “I’m stuck! Can you show me how to finish this?”
My jaw dropped. That’s what you do when there are so many wide and varied ways you want to say NO and all of them could get you fired or reprimanded for misconduct unbecoming a member.
“Not right now, kiddo”, I finally squeaked out, “I’m a wee bit busy.”