January 1 might be New Year’s Day, but January always feels to me like no-man’s-time. The long summer break when I forget what day it is. Camping and beach holidays. Heat waves that make it ok to spend all afternoon watching Buffy reruns.
The year really starts tomorrow, when I go back to work.
Tomorrow I will stand in the middle of an empty class room and re-imagine the space. I will negotiate with my colleagues, move tables around, position bookshelves, build platforms. I will place everything pleasingly, then realise I have only found a home for 70% of the furniture. I will place enough tables for everyone to sit for lunch, then feel I can’t cross the room without bumping. I will pace around trying to get a feel for how the traffic will flow, testing turns and pathways. I will look at the room from different angles checking the sight lines.
Tomorrow I will check the garden for deadly nightshade. I will sweep paths and shake leaves off the sandpit cover. I will pull spades and buckets and mobilo and tricycles out of the shed. I will check for mouldy gumboots and spiders in blocks. I will arrange planks and A-frames into a climbing course, and test the ropes on the swings. I will pick up windfall apples, and pull out lettuce that has gone to seed. Perhaps I will find some ripe tomatoes for my lunch.
Tomorrow I will label lockers and write questionnaires and search for enrolment forms and set up filing systems.
Tomorrow I will get everything ready for the children who start the next day.
And tomorrow night, I will go to bed with a knot in my stomach, convinced I have forgotten how to teach.