Thursday, June 19, 2008

Closing Thoughts

I found this blog entry saved as a draft and figured I could use it as a way to sum up my school year. (There are actually many other school-related happenings I didn't blog about, so those may pop up from time to time).

While I'm happy to have this year off to care for my baby (if s/he EVER SHOWS), there are definitely some THINGS I WILL MISS ABOUT TEACHING:

1. Field trips: I've been to countless interesting places in my tenure as a teacher, from boat tours to obscure museums to weird (and bad) plays. I'll miss bringing my kids as they experience things in Chicago for the first time. It's a pain in the ass to schedule field trips, and sometimes not worth it when all some kids do is complain the whole time about how boring this is, but for the most part, who doesn't love a field trip? It's like a day off!

2. A Paycheck: What the hell is wrong with the USA? No obligatory paid maternity leave? What the hell is that? According to a USA Today article that came up when I googled "maternity leave in other countries," Canadians get 14 months of paid maternity leave. Swedes get approximately 24 months.

3. Humor: While I live with quite possibly the world's funniest person, I will miss the humor 4th graders provide.

4. Structure: While I'm a relatively flexible person and can move my schedule around when needed, teaching (or working in general) gives me a sense of structure to my day. Y'know, like I have to wake up by 6:20, and I have to have my kids to library by 11:00, and we always eat lunch at 11:40. Yeah, now...not so much. Don't get me wrong: the best thing ever (in my opinion) is to not have to wake up to an alarm clock and I appreciate that this past week I've pretty much been able to do whatever the hell I want whenever I want to do it (or not do it!), but after a while without structure to my day, I tend to fall apart. I guess this is something I don't have to worry about too much, though, because I have an 8-pound ball of structure headed my way, don't I?

5. That Feeling: I will never forget when I realized that I wanted to become a teacher. I was a sophomore in high school in the reading and writing lab, a place students could go for extra help. Mr. Silverwood was helping me answer an essay question for my English class about Huck Finn that I just did not know the answer to. We reread the part together in the book and he helped me realize the answer. He didn't tell me the answer, he helped me arrive at it on my own. Apparently I gave off some visible cue that I got it because he said to me, "See, that right there! That's why I became a teacher." And I knew what he meant. And I wanted it, too.

Okay, so granted that feeling doesn't happen every day, but it's something a teacher strives for every day, and when it happens, it makes the rest of the bullshit worthwhile. Speaking of bullshit...


1. Lack of supplies: Not having paper towels in the bathroom with which to dry my hands has gotten old after 11 years. I always have paper towels at home! Stealing toilet paper from the teachers' bathroom so my kids can use some toilet paper when they go to the bathroom OR having to bring my own from home is something I could use a break from as well.

2. Weird sounds: Dealing with kids making farting sounds, tapping sounds, and general weird sounds is a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g. Not that I'm expecting peace and quiet with a newborn, but at least the sounds s/he makes are not purposefully annoying.

3. The "computer" teacher: who does as little as possible all the time. Get this, she's not teaching computers next year! Hey, maybe the kids will actually learn something about technology now that she's not going to be teaching it. She is assigned to 2nd grade next year, so god help those 30 kids. I think her reassignment was a ploy to get her to retire (I think she's at least 70 years old!), but it failed.

4. Complaints: like, "He keeps bumping my desk when he walks by," or "She keeps talking about me," or "They called me dumb/ugly/retarded." Y' the beginning of the year, I was on top of this behavior. The kid would immediately "pull their card" and apologize. By the end, though, I just wanted to yell, "I DON'T CARE" or "JUST DEAL WITH IT!" That's what spending 160 days with 9-year olds will do to you.

5. Preparing students for assemblies, like Christmas or Black History: What. A. Pain. Like I don't have enough to do without having the kids memorize a song or poem.

6. Meetings: 'nuff said.

7. Preps/specials being cancelled with no advanced notice: Or is this good preparation for babysitters?

8. Clueless parents: Parents of all the students I've taught, thank you for preparing me to not be a total idiot who has the wool pulled over my eyes by a 9-year-old. While some of you are great parents, others of you need to get a clue.

I feel bad that my lists are so uneven (5 things I will miss vs. 8 things I won't), but not so bad that I'm going to sit here and think of 3 more things that I will miss. It's time for me to go eat some breakfast. That's right...breakfast at 9:30 a.m...when I want to eat breakfast...not at some prescribed time that my job says I should eat breakfast.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Next Chapter

School is officially over. The next 14 months are mine, all mine! Okay, who am I kidding? The next couple days/weeks are mine-all-mine...after that, they belong to my future son/daughter.

*giggles nervously*

While I can't wait to meet him/her and start this next chapter of life together, part of me is like, "What the hell was I thinking???" I was perfectly happy before getting pg, why did I think I needed to be any happier? Have I bitten off more than I can (or want to) chew?

Mothers assure me that having a baby is "the best thing there is," and then follow it up with horror stories of labor, complaints about how little sleep they got the first month, difficulties breastfeeding, and so on. "It's all worth it," they say. I hope so, because at this point, this kid has GOT to come out of me.

Being pregnant has been great...up until about 2 weeks ago. Now, not so much. The little things I used to take for granted are now some of my greatest obstacles. Tying my shoes, for example, is the hardest thing I do all day. Turning over in bed without waking up...forget it.

So while I'm ready to get this kid OUT, the aforementioned fears make me want to keep the kid IN. Better yet, I wish there was a hidden option "C," in which I wake up from this dream and I'm on vacation in Belize or something.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Polka Dots

I'm all about the comfort these days. At 9 months pregnant, you gotta be because you're so friggin' uncomfortable most of the time! One of my most comfortable items of clothing (besides my pjs) is my pair of white capris. I swear, I could wear them to bed, they're that awesome.

I wear them to work at least once a week, always careful to wear the right color underwear underneath, y'know like a nude or white.

Well...I was walking my kids outside the other day for recess where we encountered another class coming in. I stopped for a minute to talk to the teacher and then we continued on our way. Once we got out to recess, some of my girls came up to me.

Q: Ms. M, do you know why that other class was laughing? [and, yes, I have a female student whose name starts with "Q"]

Me: No, I didn't even notice anybody was laughing.

Q: Oh, it's because you can see your underwear.

At this point I look down and, sure enough, I'm wearing orange and blue polka-dotted underwear! Crap.

Me: You sure can, huh? Oh well, I'll live.

Q: We were going to tell you this morning [at this point it's 1:15 p.m.], but we didn't want to embarass you.

Me: We?

Q: Yeah, the whole class noticed right away.

Me: Terrific.

In all honesty, I really don't care. (I'm finding you really don't care about much when 9 months pregnant). But I am glad she told me because I had to go to the dentist and Target after work, so I stopped and changed before going to these places. Thank god there's only 3 school days left. The white capris will probably only be worn to work once more. I'll make sure to have the right color underwear on.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Food Fight!

I've been bad, I know. I haven't posted for a while. At least I'm not as bad as my husband who hasn't posted in over a month.

So I witnessed an honest-to-god, real-life FOOD FIGHT! Just like in the movies! It was unreal. My fourth graders have lunch at a time when the lunch room is filled with 5th and 6th graders. As we leave, 7th graders come in. However, on this particular day, I kept my kids at lunch late because we arrived late and they didn't have time to finish their lunch. Despite the bad feeling I had about staying 5 minutes late, we stayed. Yes, I literally had an intuitive feeling that we should not stay, but damnit, I'm 9 months pregnant and hungry!

From where I sit in the lunchroom, I have a wide vantage point. I can pretty much see everybody. It started with a 7th grader throwing an orange. Then another kid throwing an orange. Then hamburgers started flying. Then chocolate milks. Then whole trays of food were going all over the place. We're talking over 100 students in this room, in this mess.

My class was pretty much out of the way (as we're all the way at the front of the room) so we weren't in the food fight, but we witnessed the whole thing. My poor little 4th graders either ran out of the room or took cover under the table. I pretty much just sat their, mouth agape, and watched the chaos unfold. Crazy, but the whole thing lasted under 30 seconds...there's only so much food you can throw, right? Good thing it wasn't spaghetti day. ( ;