I park my car in one of the spaces out front of the school marked ‘visitor.’ I pause. I’m never sure if this really the right place for me. I’m consulting, so I don’t belong in the ‘staff’ parking lot, but I’m not really a visitor either… this is the story of my life. I float from one school to another, not really a visitor, per se, but not part of the staff either.
As I drag my suitcase full of books through the snowy parking lot to the front entrance, parents check me out. One woman in particular gives me a long stare as she sends her two sons into the building. It’s a small school in a small town and everyone knows everyone. She knows I’m not one of the teachers, but I can tell I’ve confused her because I so clearly look like a teacher — with two canvas bags hanging off of my shoulders full of books and chart paper, and suitcase full of things for school, she’s thinking Who is that? Is there a new teacher?
At the door of the school, I have to press the buzzer to be let in. The secretary doesn’t recognize me. “Who are you here to see?” she asks.
“K-1-2-3. It’s me, Beth, again.”
Long pause. “Which teacher?”
“All of them… I’m doing staff development today?”
She lets me in. I sign in, affix my day-glo VISITOR sticker to my skirt. I know better than to put those things on my sweaters anymore–I’ve ruined too many sweaters already.
I pause before leaving the office. I have no idea what direction to go in. I think to myself. This is the story of my life, isn’t it? Always a visitor, with no idea what direction to go in.