Make ’em cry

It's not easy being ten.

It’s not easy being ten.

The bad day. A concept humanity is familiar with both intimately and idealistically. In the course of history, it has borne the brunt of the blame for our short tempers, our lack of focus, our apathy and our overwhelming desires to eat everything within reach.

Sometimes I have bad days and sometimes I just think I am having a bad day. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve had one until I get home and wonder why I feel so tired.

There are three things I think we need to keep in mind about these kinds of days.

1. Everyone has bad days – even children.

As students, we often only see our own late homework and failed tests. We only feel our own itches, hear our own stomachs growling and think about our own feelings. As a teacher, you see, feel, hear and think about your entire class from the first day of school to… Well, I’m not sure if it ever goes away.

Today I had to substitute for another teacher so instead of having fourteen fourth graders, I had thirty. Thirty ten-year olds, when you’re not expecting them, are like thirty hungry lions and you’re the piece of meat. But they paw at each other also and today the boys were particularly rowdy – it’s been about 90 degrees all week so no one is in a good mood.

Still, I was surprised to see one of the sweetest, gentlest, nicest boys in class (we’ll call him Vlada) smack someone on the head and a few minutes later shove a punch at his best friend’s jaw. Continue reading

Don’t forget me

Morning comes early in May. The world is an alarm clock, sending in chipper rays of sunshine through my skylight window long before my actual alarm begins to ring, only without a snooze button.

I miss the days when 5:30 in the morning was still crowned with crystal starlight, inviting me warmly back under the covers (I could literally sleep forever if it not ever got light). Now I have roosters going off at six and sunbeams on high by 6:30. Spring is the worst.

Thursday was an exciting day though. I knew it was going to be, so I eventually dragged myself from bed (very, very begrudgingly) and started to get ready for work. Thursday was the school’s Garden Party, a very grandiose affair that my colleagues have been planning for months. It is the send-off ceremony, in many ways, for our ninth graders and a chance for family and friends to see what our students of all ages are capable of (following the taped pathways backstage is not in their repertoire of talents, unfortunately).

Enter: the first mistake of the day.

Despite hearing that the weather was supposed to be rainy, I decided to put on a dress I felt appropriate for a Garden Party. I’ve been wearing jeans to school a lot lately, drifting away from my more “school teachery” clothes, so I thought a dress might be nice for a change.

Of all the bad decisions I have made, this one is probably the most pitiable.

It rained. It rained a lot.

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Ugly Mondays

life cant handleI am an expert in the field of Mondays. I know all about them. I’ve lived through a couple real toughies. The thing about Mondays is that it takes us away from our free time and family time. It’s the less than grandiose welcoming of what, for most of us, will be a long week of tough jobs, gas lights, electricity bills, homework, and cooking meals you have no energy to eat let alone prepare. (I lost the battle with my freshman fifteen the minute I realized eating ice cream from the tub demanded significantly less effort than making myself toast or eggs or basically anything that requires more than a spoon*).

*I did eventually get the eating habits under control and now, independently and of my own accord, maintain a mostly balanced diet. Adulthood doesn’t come with one leap – baby steps.

But this last year has been pretty “Monday” free. Maybe this is because I love my job or maybe because the hardest day of the week for me is consistently Thursdays so Mondays are more of a light-weight in the ring.

I was definitely due for a hair-pulling, teeth-grating, hand-wringing, gut-churning Monday. I got one.

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