When I looked at my reflection in a steamed-up mirror yesterday, what I saw supported my feeling that these past 8 weeks I have worked harder than I ever have these past 21 years. The reasons are manifold but because I am a teacher, they are easy to explain. The first half of our school year was one of the most condensed ones I have ever had. We hardly had any time to get anything done, with lots of time lost to teaching due to holidays, a 2-week internship program for our 11th graders, plus more disturbances that ruled supreme before Christmas.
The result? I got 9 class tests (including rather wordy lower and higher-level course exams) that landed on my desk within 4 days in December. Once I had practically eaten my way through those until early January I had a full one and half days off to try to get some beauty sleep and a few solid cocktails, not necessarily in that order. The following Wednesday, the 13th grade final exams landed in the same spot that I had just manged to clear of anything that remotely looked like paper. Three days ago I finally managed to clear those off my table.
Berthold Brecht, a leftist writer and poet if there ever was one (and a fabulous writer at that) once wrote one of my favorite “poems” entitled “Der Fisch Fasch” (if your German is somewhat decent, read it). That one is probably impossible to really translate adequately, although I am sure translations exist, but the gist of the poem is that there is a fish with a white ass (“Fasch” rhymes with “Asch“, the latter being a more polite spelling of “Arsch” = ass). Said fish likes to show up everywhere without contributing anything whatsoever … besides its white ass, which it apparently likes to apologetically display prominently whenever asked. As is typical of a more than socially conscientious Brecht, the “Fisch Fasch” gets kicked out at some point, landing out on the street on its white ass because people are sick and tired of its parasitic behavior.
I have, for a few days now, announced around school as well as my immediate surroundings that from now until July everyone will have to do with my white ass.
And, believe you me (use a Schwarzenegger intonation here), that is exactly what will be visible of me and my very own self for the next months.