Oh, them humans.

The best part of my week was yesterday afternoon, after I was done teaching. It started snowing heavily, and me and my fellow office mates crowded onto our fire escape – we are in the 2nd floor of the old convent, facing the main school building. We got snowflakes all over us, and waved at the kids in the computer lab across the way… who started screaming when we began throwing snowballs over at the windows. As soon as we got back inside our office was invaded by a dozen chatty 8th graders, for whom we dug up whatever food and candy we had on hand.

It was a good way to end this week… mostly because I love laughing with kids instead of yelling at them. Recently those moments feel so few and far between that they are always bright spots.

Many of my fellow teachers are on the verge of quitting, some ready to give up on teaching in general. I’m not going to do either quite yet, but it is tempting. What a horrible week. The kids are restless, but that’s not even the worst of it.

I drove out to Waterford today for a conference with a few other teachers, which was interesting but not entirely applicable to our school environment, and certainly not something I wanted to spend seven hours of my Saturday on. But so it be.

Something about this week, and the attitude from certain kids, and constant criticism from administrators, and getting lost in Pontiac for a long time this morning, and the fact that I can’t stop sneezing… something is making me feel like there is no way I will get through next week. I know that’s not true. There are good things, too. Snowball attacks, for one thing.

Right now I am sitting at the Mug, back in Y-town. The crowd has changed since I used to practically live here, several years ago. There’s a few old faces among the new paint, new art, new smoke-free air. Being here makes it seem as though time is moving faster than it is, or perhaps slower. It’s strange, coming back to places that only make you realize how strange it is that you have been elsewhere. I feel relatively “at home” in Hazel Park now, if only for the fact that I have no time or energy for anything other than coming back to my apartment after school. Coming “home” brings a disproportional feeling of relief, just because I can take off my shoes, not think or talk for a little bit, and usually fall asleep long before I finish the grading and planning I need to do. But I still feel very strange and out of place sometimes, realizing how far away I really am from anyone who is even an acquaintance. Or when my car doors are frozen shut and I am prying them open with a key, and I realize there is no one to call if I needed to call someone. I locked my keys into my (running) car a few weeks ago – shocking! – and had to pay a locksmith $75 to get them out, because everyone else was too far away. Simple human kindness – the passerby who stopped to wrench open my doors; the librarian who gave me detailed and helpful directions to such-and-so – is enough to choke me up. I miss people. Someday maybe I’ll be surrounded by people I love, doing what I love doing, seeing some evidence of progress, getting constructive feedback and not just constant criticism along with a paycheck…. as a certain someone always tells me, someday I’ll be teaching Spanish to a attentive, eager class of adorable kittens….

I may not make a lot of sense. Today I feel as though my head is clogged with far more boogers than brains. Gross. Sorry.

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2 Responses to Oh, them humans.

  1. nkelber says:

    Kittens make good students but terrible christmas tree decorators.

  2. maggie says:

    sounds exhausting…have you read Jonathan Kozol? He wrote (writes) about teaching in inner city schools with such quiet passion and intelligence…i own a few of his books.

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