The (Third) First Day of Doom

It started with the bell.

When the school bell rang, everyone flooded out of the girls’ locker room and out to their next classes. The first day of school that was actually a NORMAL day was bound to be chaotic as everyone memorized their new schedules for the third time.

I rode the wave of students out to the B-wing. I didn’t know what to expect. My math teacher was the one I had met before ‘The Great Switch’. He was kind, but he informed us that rowdiness would be punished strictly. I wasn’t sure what he was like, but I had a feeling that with the final schedules, we were about to find out.

What is ‘The Great Switch’, you ask? Well, that’s just the name we middle-schoolers call it. At the end of last year, the Board of Education (BOE) decided to change everything about our current schedule. Each class was to be 10 minutes longer, while lunch would be 10 minutes shorter. There would be no more recess (which is basically just going outside for half of lunch). Instead of our usual 9-class schedule, we’d have only 7.

It backfired when they couldn’t fit a proper schedule. Classes overlapped, and some were just blank spaces in the block schedule. You’d often find yourself going to study hall 3 times a day for this reason.

Finally, the BOE declared it a bust and reverted to the original. Before this, everyone was practically cross-teamed. See, our school had 3 grades, each divided into 3 teams, with each team having different teachers. Cross-teamed people had teachers from two or all three teams. So before this, there was pretty much no teams at ALL.

When the schedule changed back to the old one, so did many people’s TEAMS. They reestablished themselves and we all got separated again–but many got a team switch. This is what we now call ‘The Great Switch’. We’d had to go through this twice before, and this was the (third) ‘first day’ of school we’ve had this month.

At this time it was 8th period and I was heading to math class. I had 4 best friends there: Priskilla, Jessica, Sunerta, and Rhea. Problem: 5 friends, 4 DESKS.

I saw Jessica ahead of me, leaving Health class. At the time it didn’t mean much to me, but I knew it would soon enough.

We all entered the math class. My first thought was to sit with my friends, and I quickly grabbed the last available seat next to Priskilla. As Sunetra and Rhea had already taken their seats behind us in the 2nd row, Jessica was forced to sit alone behind all of us.

We were excited, and our teacher, Mr. Richards, gave us a fun activity to do. We were happy for a few days, getting to know each other and buzzing with the excitement of last class before school’s out. We were all a little out of touch those few days–until we started to learn.

After that he forced us to quiet down. Once it became clear that this class was permanent, he gave us work to do. He started teaching more topics, and we had to be silent while we worked.

He also started handing out lunch detentions. See, for some people, like me, the work he gave was too easy, and we wanted harder. Since he had to keep with the pace of the entire class, we tended to talk–which was disrupting the work of others.

It was quiet and short, but I kept it hidden from my friends. Turns out I had some company from other good students, who normally didn’t get into trouble. It was a shock for all of us, but we had learned our lesson.

Life was great until the day we found out that only one would be isolated. A lot of the time that one person was me, but that’s another story for another time.

The first day, however, stuck in my mind the most: the seating that we all chose, what we did, even what was written on the back wall in blue pen (some student decided to write in permanent ink and no one could get it off). I remembered everything down to the last detail, which was unusual given that I had the worst memory possible.

Little did I know that it would be the start of this whole process.