“If someone isn’t changed, then what is the point of your story?” –Anne Lamott

Hello blog,

Or, maybe it’s hello people who read blogs. I’m not sure who I’m greeting here. That is because I’ve never even looked at a blog before. This raises an interesting question that I, myself, haven’t quite answered: why are you doing this?

Well, I’m not totally sure. Perhaps I’ll find out. Either that or I’ll become bored with this or get writer’s block and move on to something better, which is my passive-aggressive excuse for giving up.

But today is January 30th, 2013, day 99 of the school year. This is my second day-99-of-the-school-year. Last year I was a “newbie” teacher. My principal mentioned me in the back to school letter that came two Augusts ago: “And welcome to our faculty, Laura Beninati. Laura will be joining our English department. She studied at UNH for her undergraduate degree and completed her M.Ed at Rivier College. She has a background in English and Special Education, which will be an invaluable something or other…” It felt like a better diploma than the two I’d already earned in the last few years and it didn’t cost me 140,000 dollars. I bet I have the letter stashed somewhere…

I actually hate the term “newbie.” It’s the cutest condescending word in existence. I also hate the word because most days I feel like I’m sloppily navigating through this career choice. Some days I love this job like people love their favorite food, while other days the love I have is buried under twelve or so feet of ungraded papers, terse parent emails, 27 unread pages of The Scarlet Letter and the nagging, pulsating reminder that I haven’t planned for the next day yet. I know the love is there, but I sometimes don’t have the energy to find it. So I take a nap instead.

Some days I love this job the way I love mashed potatoes. Or Tripoli’s extra-cheese pizza with the thin, crispy crust that never lets me down. I hate inconsistent pizza. But anyway. Some days this job is something that I actually look forward to spending 12-14 hours focusing on. I find that I have something cool to share with the kids: a funny story, a new creative writing activity (Those paint samples at Home Depot make for the basis of an awesome warm-up), a connection that I discovered that I know will make everything make sense. “See, we do have something in common with Jonathan Edwards, guys!” I devour everything about this job in one breath some days. Then there are the days when I choke and gag on it.

I often over-indulge in my job. I submerge myself in it. Then I get the inevitable sinus cold that feels like a horse is standing on your face and my dad will scold me for not eating enough, not resting enough, doing too much.

It’s like when you drink too much and you’re hungover and throwing up until 2pm you vow to never do that again. But you do. And even as you’re cursing your life and damning yourself to the fiery depths of hell, you know it’s only a matter of time before you drink just as much. Though maybe it’ll be beer and not vodka.

I think I’ll end my first blog posting with that.