Stapler in one hand and a hot glue gun in the other, she’s attaching the glossy pirate to the exact center of her bulletin board. The sparkling red and black 6 inch letters spell out “Go, Pirates!” and are spread across the desks, ready to be hung up. Every comma and every exclamation mark will be in the right place when she finishes. As an English teacher, she can produce no less than perfect grammar on her bulletin board. What would her students think if she made a punctuation error for the class to stare at every day? What would their parents think? Heaven forbid.
She glances at the big clock hanging up over the white board. Seven o’clock already and on a Friday night at that. Her friends would laugh at her enthusiasm if they knew what she was doing. Still a week remained before pre-planning was to start, and she could hardly wait. Already her first vocabulary lesson of the semester lay on her desk, ready to hand out. It had some great words on it—ostentatious and xenophobe, for example.
“Lord, please send me at least one student who appreciates words like I do,” she prays silently. “I won’t ask for anything else all year, except maybe for a few students who like to read.”
She laughs at herself as she lines up the P for her sign and staples it into place.
“I think we’ll read Their Eyes Were Watching God as our first novel this year,” she says out loud to the empty classroom. “I really like that one and most of the students do, too. I can hardly wait.”
Finally, at 9 p.m. she locks her door and heads for home. Her bulletin board is finished and beautiful. She smiles in satisfaction and hums a tune as she walks down the hall. All the other doors on the long silent hallway are locked, their rectangular windows dark. The timer will turn hers off soon.
“Just one more week,” she whispers, “one more week and I get to come out here every day. I can’t wait until my students get back.”
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