September 23, 2008

My First Year of Teaching

In August of 1997, I packed up all my things in my Chevy Cavalier & moved from southeastern Ohio to Nashville, TN to begin my teaching career. I had only been to the city once to interview for the position, I knew no one, and I had no place to live(or even stay for that matter) . Great way to start things, eh?(sorry for the "eh?"...I did my student teaching in Montreal, Quebec & haven't been able to get rid of it all these years later!!). I told myself if nothing else I could sleep on my teacher desk until I found a place(I was joking..kind of). I quickly found a place...and amazing group of friends(the Art Gang)...and seemed to know or be known by many in the city! It helps to be an outgoing personality in a situation like that! My school was welcoming & supportive. My classroom however...was kind of a nightmare. I had the old ISS portable out back( no water!!). With 1st year teacher enthusiasm....I decided I'd transform that portable into an amazing place for my students to come. And over the next several months...I did just that!! Paint, a fun border, curtains I had made.....and even a trash can cozy(that matched my curtains....yes...I am a bit OCD). My classroom was my home away from home. I loved being there. However, April 16, 1998....that all changed. A tornado goes through downtown Nashville & surrounding areas(who knew tornadoes actually hit cities?!?!?). East Nashville was the worst hit. That whole week I had been staying till 6 or later trying to get grades ready for report cards. That morning the terrible rains we were getting...a belt on my car was thrown, and I had to take it to the shop. soon as school let out that day...a teacher took me to the mechanics to get my car. They said it wouldn't be ready for a day or the teacher offered to take me on home. As we were driving...the weather was getting worse & it began to hail. As we looked ahead...we saw a funnel cloud drop out of the sky and go through a building...and then continue on across the road we were driving on. It was only about a quarter mile ahead of us. We watched in fear & amazement as the tornado crossed the road in front of us. We thanked the Lord for protecting us...and then continued cautiously onward. We had no idea that tornado we just saw moments earlier had hit our school. I found out later that evening that my classroom was lifted off the foundation & dropped on a car next to it. The roof had giant holes in it that allowed the rain to soak everything. Something had pierced the wall of my portable & went straight out the other side. One of the teachers was sure I was still in there, and made the police go in with dogs to try to find my body! I am extremely blessed that my car had issues that morning...or I might have been!!! After a week of not being allowed back in the area, I finally was able to go & see what was salvageable. There wasn't much. All of the kids art, my books, my art posters....ruined. I was extremely happy to see the supplies I had stored in Sterilite containers were ok, but that did not make up for the lose of everything else. For the rest of the school year my desk & supplies were on the stage, and I had to go room to room to teach art(or bring the kids to the cafeteria). It was tough...but I made it through. So, the next time you think things are tough...remember my story...and realize that things could be worse!

1 comment:

  1. But aren't you glad that you had that great friends, lovingly known as the art group, to lift your spirits!
    I still remember that portable and those Sterlite containers.