When I go back into the classroom on Monday, I will have been away from teaching for 11 days. With the mix of the M/W schedule, Labor Day off, and still being too sick to teach this past Wednesday, it's been a long time of isolation from my students. My nerves are back in a big way. Especially for the first class of the day, which is filled with new faces. 16 out of 18 are people I've never met, since it's an introduction to poetry writing class and anyone can sign up. In the other two classes about half of each are repeat customers.
This is all very exciting stuff to read, I know. I'm trying to get my working brain back on duty and it is reluctant, to say the least. It became too familiar with pajamas, thermometer, codeine, Hall's mentholyptus, dragging to the kitchen for juice, lying in bed and staring at the wall, and abandoning the pile of work when I was too sick to even look at it.
I made my first excursion outside the gleaming sick-bubble on Thursday, sneaking onto campus in my sweats and ponytail to make copies for the week. Everything about this semester feels odd. Since I don't teach in the English building at all (construction) and my closest colleague is an invisible mist, I'm trying to find, as they say, a "new normal." At least for now. At least something I can work with. A temporary life raft until the boat comes back.