On Waking And Working Too Early In The Morning

Every morning, I beat the sun up.

While it is still too dark and cold to be fair, I lie in bed contemplating the animosity of the cold I will encounter upon actually rising. My inner dialogue consists of me thinking up all the reasons I need to get up versus all the reasons that I do not want to get up. I calculate my remaining days off, weighing my real compulsion to stay in bed with the number of days I have already taken and how many I will want to take later when my students start summer break before school is over.

Arriving at work before the sun, the bright fluorescent lights burn my eyes into pupils. No matter the start time (in my case: 6:55 am), the kids are loud and boisterous. They enter into the classroom on 10–making my 1st job of every day to get them down to a 3 or 4 so that they can hear instructions and focus on math. The sun makes no real visible appearance until halfway through my 1st class. On cloudy days, I am forced to endure the nearly blinding artificial light until well into my 2nd hour class around 9:36 am.

Did I mention that Saint Louis has cloud cover comparable to Chicago this year? Cloudy and dark and miserable all day.

This year, I have learned that no one–especially middle school students and their teachers–should be at work anywhere doing anything before 8 am. It is really the only thing that I miss about my old school–the later start time. That hour makes such a difference.

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