Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My X Hurts

I'm a teacher, right? Okay, so even though I'm responsible for my 18 kids throughout the day, I can't take care of their every need even though they expect me to. What the hell am I supposed to say to a kid who approaches me (as one did today) and says, "Ms. M, my tooth hurts."

In my nice moments I say something like, "I'm sorry, honey, but there's not really much I can do about your toothache. Did you tell your mom this morning?"

In my, uh, less nice moments, I say something like, "And?"

Seriously, kid, what do you want me to do? Now it's been 11 of years of teaching and I've heard about all kinds of aches and pains, most of which I can do nothing about. So unless you are visibly hurt (like your arm is bent between your wrist and your elbow), or you have a fever I can judge without a thermometer, or you are throwing up in the garbage can, there's not much I can do for ya.

A couple things I have learned about children's ailments are:

-having a child put their head down on their desk or lay down in the library for 20 minutes seems to cure most illnesses.

-bandaids work wonders, even for cuts that aren't bleeding.

-an upcoming recess cures most (if not all) illnesses.

Countdown: 30 days!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You're Seriously Not Going to Believe This


Most Wednesdays we have staff meetings. I, however, could not attend because I had morning duty (yes, I said "duty"). This one week-long responsibility keeps me from meeting my kids outside in the morning and escorting them up to my classroom. During weeks like this, by the time I get to my room, my kids are already there waiting to be let in.

Today, H. supposedly pushed R. on the stairs, and he fell and hit his head. On the way to my room (after morning duty), I encountered R. being brought to the office by another boy. At least I thought they were going to the office. The other boy informs me that, no, they're going to the gym teacher. "Uh, why?" I asked. The boy explains that they already went to the office and they told him to take him to the gym teacher. "Uh, why?" I asked. "Because that's where they told me to go." (Wow, school really does prepare you for the real world!)

Now let me back up a sec. You may be wondering why they didn't go to the nurse's office. Remember the nurse's office in elementary school? It was always pristine and smelled like rubbing alcohol. She always had cots for you to lay down on when you didn't feel well? Yeah, this is CPS, people. There is no nurse's office. We have a nurse 2 days a week. I'm not kidding. So when somebody is sick or hurt, they get sent to the counselor's office (who, by the way, doesn't counsel. Again, I'm not kidding, but that's a whole other blog entry). If the "counselor" is not there, the kids go to the main office.

Aaaanyway, after 5 minutes R. comes back from the gym teacher (sans ice pack or anything) with the other boy who informs me that the gym teacher said to tell me that if R. seems sleepy later, I should let him sleep since he hit his head. Uh, isn't this contrary to everything you've ever heard about head injuries? Aren't you NOT supposed to let the person sleep? I'm reeaaaalllly hoping that the kid heard wrong and that this was not the true advice of the one person apparently doling out medical advice to 700+ students.

Later on, I found out that the staff meeting that I missed was about sending kids down to the office when they're hurt or sick. "Great!" I thought to myself before hearing the rest. "I really hope they work this system out so the gym teacher isn't the acting nurse on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays." Yeah, what They've decided to do is not allow us to send any sick or hurt kids to any office anymore! They gave everybody first aid boxes and now we're on our own. I'm hoping this is more misinformation and isn't actually true, but I didn't have time to find out today. I'll let you know what happens.

Countdown: 34 days. Hopefully nobody gets something hard to diagnose within that time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Makes Me Smile

Bet you've never heard this at YOUR job:

[over the P.A.]: "If anyone found a Hello-Kitty backpack, can you please bring it to the office?"


Monday, April 14, 2008

Hanging My Head in Shame

Today I said what I think is the worst thing a teacher could say to a student. I said:

"I don't care what you think."

J. was talking back to me for the 8,000,000th time after I reprimanded him and it just came out. Hearing the words come out of my mouth as I said them, I regretted them immediately. I didn't mean it. I swear. And I told him so. I made sure everybody heard me tell him I didn't mean it and that I was sorry I said it. Then I went on to tell him what I really did mean.

I guess I'm being hard on myself. I've heard teachers say a LOT worse. A LOT. And they didn't take it back.

Countdown: 41 days

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cue the Circus Music

I guess I'm not getting much out of my job lately since I haven't posted in...I don't even know how long. Either that or I'm just so effing tired by the time work is done that I can't even function. Seriously, by the end of the day I'm spent to the point where my husband is worried about me. Awwwww. Really, though, I'm fine. I'm just 7 months pregnant. (Yeah, holy shit.)

Yesterday was a no-school day for kids. Those are the best because I can actually get work done. This may sound silly to you because kids are my work, but imagine this: Everyday you have to give a presentation that has to last from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Now these presentations cannot (or should not) be repetative. They should be hands-on and interesting, use engaging supplies and manipulatives, and your audience will be tested all the material you cover, which, by the way, has a very wide scope as you must cover 5 different topics.

Uh, when do you prepare for these presentations? Right, you get to the presentation early and you stay late. But some presentations require much more preparation than others, so sometimes you are preparing for one the day before and sometimes a week in advance. Add on top of this a shitload of paperwork, many phone calls to make (and no phone given to you), materials to gather and/or make, field trips to plan, interruptions from the office, and...oh, yeah, your audience doesn't really like to listen most of the time.

Basically, teaching is like being the ringmaster of a 14-ring circus while you yourself are juggling 23 balls in the air. Ask any teacher...s/he will agree. There is just so. much. going. on. And while you can't really understand it until you're in that situation, I hope I've given you a glimpse.

So yesterday, when I had a whole 3 hours in a row to work in my room, I got SOOOO much done, but not even close to what I needed to get done. I could probably use, like, 3 more DAYS, but there's no way in hell I'm going in on a weekend.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Reason 699

Another reading response letter from the same kid who wrote the ones I've previously posted. His always are more interesting to read than the other run-of-the-mill (read: "boring") ones:

Dear Ms. M,
I'm reading The Tiger Rising, a great book by Kate DiCamillo. It's about a boy and girl who found a tiger in the woods. The boy, Rob, was feeding the lion. His father found the meat and Rob had no choice but to lie about it. When Rob and Sistine finally went to go free the tiger, Willie May had told his father and he murdered the tiger!
I think it was bogus that his father killed the tiger. I mean, endangered species, hello!!!
Sincerely, R.
Countdown update: 45 school days left!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Final Countown

I've started doing something unhealthy. I do it every school year even though I shouldn't: I start an end-of-the-year countdown.

I shouldn't do it because I try to subscribe to the "it's not where you're going, but how you get there" mentality. Y'know enjoying and living each day, not just trying to get through it? Up until this week, I feel like I've done pretty well, but now...well...not so much.

It's part of my nature, I think. Hell, it's one of the reasons I went into teaching in the first place: because there is an end to every school year (conveniently followed by 2+ months off). I don't know how you civilians do it, working day in and day out with no end in sight. I could never EVER do it. I think I'd kill myself.

So I guess I've started my countdown early this year because I know that once this school year ends, I will have a whole new part of my life starting. That and 14 months of not having to go to work!

Oh, and by the way, we're at 48 school days (full school days with students in-session). Woo-hoo!