Monday marked the first day back for teachers. Students will return on Thursday. In the meantime, I am frantically trying to merge multiple to-do lists so that nothing gets left behind. First we have the normal back to school things: checking schedules to make sure students are in the right classes, sorting students by teacher so that I can pass out accommodations in a timely manner, and keeping track of new enrollees so that they can be screened for English proficiency after the doors open. Then the upcoming trip things: gather gifts and swag for people I meet in Palestine, go shopping for random things to pack, coordinate details with the consulate in Jerusalem and the Fulbright DAT office in Washington DC. Lastly, there are all the normal things like did I buy chocolate milk and apples for Will? (This could lead to a desperate situation. Will cannot be without apples. They also must be green.) Does Maggie have a back to school outfit? (She voted to wear last year’s outfit. #dontjudge) How many weeks/days do we have until we leave???
After I do all those things I sit back and think, “Wait. Is this real? Are we really moving (albeit temporarily) across the world? Do I really get to spend an entire semester looking for new ways to help my students?” It is surreal. Then, whoosh, back comes the “Have I done ____ yet?”
But that day is coming. The one where I hand off my meticulously created lesson plans, make the last set of copies and pass off my keys for the next 4 months. Maybe there will still be a day or two in there that my long term sub will just do “vocabulary development” and play Taboo or Guess Who? with them because my lesson plans had a hole. Or maybe there will be too many days of lessons and she will have to leave something out. Who knows? I can tell you who won’t know. Me. I’ll be walking the streets of Ramallah to see what teachers on the other side of the world do on the average Tuesday.