I would never say I'm an elite map reader. If I had to read a map under some kind of tremendous pressure I would likely take us (assuming you my dear reader are coming with me) in the wrong direction. Sometimes I think South is North and North is South.... but I usually eventually figure it out... this may be because I usually have somewhat of an idea of landmarks because I'm fairly familiar with the city I live in.
But I digress...
This is a story about the first time I subbed in the big bad high school (which wasn't actually bad at all... but big it definitely was).
Anyways, when I got there they gave me a map of the school because I didn't know where anything was.. but a map should make things a little more clear (they said and I thought).
Well... the thing is it didn't. The secretary pointed out where we were (at the office) and where I was going for my first class (which I found no problem - perhaps because I didn't use the map). I even found where my other class was located on the map. It was all working out just lovely.
Until I needed to find the staff bathroom. I went the way I thought the map told me to... but I did not see a cafeteria or a staffroom along my journey... so I turned a corner and there on my left was a door that just happened to be labelled staff washroom. So I used it. Something about it just didn't seem right though but that didn't stop me... I used it and found my way back to class no problem (and because I was a little concerned about that not being a bathroom I should be using I managed to sneak in and out undetected... I think).
So I'm back safe and sound in an area of the school I'm familiar with... the classroom I've already spent a few hours in. Here I am consulting the map to see where I went wrong in my journey to the staffroom washroom and I couldn't figure it out but now I needed to head back downstairs to go to my last class of the day (just to leave a note on the door). So I walk downstairs and go past the office where I'm assuming turning left will not take me outside (even though I'm quite certain it will)... when it does. At this point I decide my time would be better spent consulting with someone at the office about where to find this other room where she pulls out a bigger (just as confusing) map of the school. Luckily, she uses some hand gestures and left and right directions and I find my way there no problem.
Before I left at the end of the day I consulted the map again... I needed to find my way back through the school to where I had left my car. The map still didn't make any sense so I just figured there was some kind of misprint and the map was backwards... looking at the map as if it were backwards made more sense to me... and I meandered my way through the school to the doors I had not entered through. Ah well... at least I was on the correct side of the school my car was parked (I can only imagine how long walking around the perimeter of the school would take).
Or, to make a long story short. Sometimes maps don't make sense and I survived a day at the big bad high school!
FYI: Since writing this post I've returned a couple times to the high school. The map suddenly made much more sense the second time. By my third visit I was fortunate enough to not need the map at all (of course, if one day I teach a course in a different area of the school I'll be needing that map again!)