Mississippi Moments

Monday, June 04, 2007

A storm is coming...and anybody and their mother can write, so what makes me think I can?...just some of the thoughts that sat on the edge of the tub as I was stewing this evening in a bit of a...well, stew. Report cards are finished after a 4 day push with a bit of dancing thrown in, a graduation fly-by, recital support, and keeping a VERY bored Squishy somewhat contained and not catching himself up in his cone-idity. The dawn walks have been the Thing.

Which brings me to another thing---there was a guy on Jeopardy tonight (I "tuned in" for about 10 minutes) and this one guy, a construction worker, with hair down to here and a straightforward manner, said he wanted to go back to school. Alex: What school? Worker: Virginina Tech...Go---something unintelligible. I want to study math there. They have a great math dept. Alex: What do you want to do with your math degree when you are finished? Worker: pause...What ever people with math do. I just love math.
I liked that." I just love math." I just love teaching, the art of teaching, the science of teaching, the math of teaching, the dance of teaching, the stand-up comedy act of teaching, the therapy of teaching, the stretch of teaching, the flow of teaching, the sludge of teaching, the magic of teaching, the silence of teaching, the color of teaching, the grace of teaching, the crap of teaching, the battle of teaching...I just love teaching.

Most of the time. Which brings me to my next Thing. Something shifted and was lost last Friday afternoon. The insolence barrier was cracked around 1:15 pm last Friday, just as the dense air was pressing on our pea brains and frazzled bones to get the weekend started...4th graders have a right. a developmental right to be shits at certain points of their existences...this was one of their moments. And they took it. And I caught it full-on, face-on and got pissed. And we were done. To your seats. Take out something good to read. I am finished teaching here. And I was. And so it went. And that feeling is still in the classroom. And we can't get" it "back.(it=synchronicity, magic, Camelot-R-Us, whatevuh..) Maybe we don't want it back. Maybe I don't want it back. I'm too tired to bust my ass to do something "special". Maybe this is how it's supposed to naturally peeter out with 4th graders...too bad, because it's not this way with 3rd graders at all. Tomorrow is our "end of the year" party. They have decided to "hang out" and listen to music and play games because it will likely be raining so we can't go to the field to play kickball. And then it would probably just be an argue-fest anyway and I AIN'T INTERESTED.
They weren't interested in a movie because we can only watch "G". And we only have 30 minutes for our party. I was a party pooper. But wait, there's more! The kids have been working on these stupid narrative stories for a month, most of May. Even with the parent volunteers coming in for the past three weeks, there are only ten typed and there are 18 more to go. The other classrooms are already done publishing, binding, and are having their Publishing Parties with pizza and inviting the parents! We aren't having a publishing party because I don't know how the f8@#* we are even supposed to get these published and bound because I'm already working hard and long enough and haven't had time to read each draft and get it ready for the parents. Even with the careful check-off lists and hours we have spent in class, the drafts do not follow what I asked the kids to do and they are a mess and it takes one parent about 2 hours to do just one student 's work. And we still don't have author pages and I have never learned to bind-publish. And I don't want to learn right now. And in the tub, I was wondering what I could do to bring the Breath back into myself and into the classroom and into our community of learners..and the answer came--NOTHING. There is nothing I can do. It is not for me to do. It is for Abba to do. For Spirit to do. So I'm gonna let it. And the kids are going to have the option of a National Geographic something to watch if they want. Sans popcorn but with ice cream. The narratives will become homework which can be typed by someone at home that they are willing to bribe or guilt trip into it. Due Friday. Don't know what to do about the binding but I do know how to use an old-fashioned stapler. We have broken three of them this year. I plan to hate teachers who dump stuff like this on my kid.

Which brings me to my next Thing. The kid who keeps having meltdowns. Angry, awful meltdowns-three of them today alone and "everyone's picking on him"...blah-blah-blah. And the Admi---who shall remain nameless who keeps bringing him back down to our classroom and dropping him off for me to deal with when all of this is happening off of my watch and now this is what I get to deal with for the next two weeks because he can't handle transitions because he is a "victim" and ..blah-blah-blah. I found what works. Smile. Bring him into the classroom. Door always open. Filing. Lots and lots of filing. It is amazing how something ordering and simple like washing dishes, pulling weeds, chopping wood, carrying water, or filing can have a calming, centering effect. That lasts. That heals. That soothes. I have a shitload of filing that will take---hmmm, let me see--oh, about two weeks, including all recesses.

Which brings me to my next Thing. I don't like being pushed around. I don't like being misunderstood. And I don't like being underestimated. I am not just a "number", a quota, a check in someone's godawful box. In fact, I am not even in the box. The admissions counselor from the school I want to start at in the fall is buggin me. He wants paperwork now. Yes, I know I started on this thing a little late, but I guess I wasn't aware of the Universe's boot in my ass until last week. Ok, and with all the schooling I've had, it takes awhile to track down transcripts. Fine. He thinks he's getting ONE PAGE. There are about TWENTY-TWO. We will keep your little fax humming tomorrow Mr. Mr. And that's not counting what I've taken at SPU this year alone. Be careful what you ask for. It's my own fault for believing that I can have my Dreams right at the same time that life and my job interfere. And when people ask me what I want to do with what I will learn. I have a vague idea, but the best I can do right now is, I just love teaching.

I could go on with the Things all night. Annie LaMott was particularly poignant in her last chapters of Traveling Mercies. If you want to read something that will caress your soul and rake your mind, read that. She has a way. She is so broken and so healed. And real. And unapologetic. And apologetic. I get some of what she writes. I appreciate most of it. Some of it gives me a stomach ache. But I finished it and get to bring it back to the library tomorrow. That means I have no late or lost books. YAY ME!

One last Thing. Those of you with husbands or boyfriends will appreciate this...even though it is crass in a funny way. I am waking up laughing in the middle of the night from being "nudged"....by a cone...in the dark...on my back. And thinking in my sleepy fog that it was something else....and it makes me laugh! I love having a boy in my bed!


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