Battle Scars (of the lamest variety)

Early

It’s already mid-October. I’ve been silent here because I’ve been so busy; but that’s too bad since a lot of positive things have happened this school year. I am trying to keep that in mind.

Yesterday after proctoring the MEAP, which smushed all my classes into shorter blocks in an afternoon full of antsy kids, I stayed at work for calls to parents and an hour and a half long staff meeting  where we were raked over the coals about some serious but very undefined problems with the way the test was being administrated.

When I left school at around 5:30, I was burned out and frustrated. Most frustrating of all to me was the fact that for the first month and a half or so, I had maintained a pretty positive attitude towards my job. I was getting there early and staying late out on my own initiative. I am starting an afterschool Spanish program this year. I have gotten frustrated with administrative shenanigans, student shenanigans, and the myriad small frustrations that are part of my job, but I am still excited to come to work every day. (What a nerd.)

Then with the anxiety of yesterday came a sinking sensation as I felt my positive attitude dissipate. I don’t want to be bitter and resentful. I don’t want to be mentally and physically burned out by the end of the day which was spent doing crowd control around a standardized test, not even actually teaching. But I was. I was exhausted and anxious and stuck in Detroit rush hour traffic, and I got so light headed that I had to pull over and regroup before I passed out. I made it halfway home, dozing off at the wheel several times, until I was terrified enough that I pulled over in a parking lot and slept for a half hour so I could drive the rest of the way home.

Waking up groggily in a parking lot to a setting sun, with dark circles under my eyes and my passenger seat full of ungraded homework… not my proudest hour, but if I were to create a montage for prospective teachers to give them an idea of what they were in for, I would include it. I would also include yesterday’s 7th grade class, where while writing two kids up for calling a classmate a F#$&@% they continued to argue about it, repeating “F#$&@%” approximately a dozen times both in my classroom and rather loudly in the hallway outside of my room, where 2nd grade classrooms are full of little kids diligently building up their vocabulary. I would include the inevitable chaos of the end of my day, when the 2nd graders are to stack my chairs, wash my tables, and get in line – somehow an endless task, due to wiggly kids and others who would spend all day meticulously polishing every item in my room if I let them. I would include my broken record refrain of “do you have a pass? do you have a pass?” as I stand guard at the restrooms during dismissal. I would include a mash up of dozens of unreturned voicemails. I would include some shots of me on my bed wearing pajama pants and grading stacks of papers. I would not include any footage of me going grocery shopping, going to the gym, cleaning my room, or doing laundry, because there’s not time for those things.

Okay, all that aside… I can’t just blame my busy-ness on school. I have also been doing grad school homework, applying and interviewing for a Fulbright ETA, and shooting engagement photos and headshots. I am busy and tired because I have a life full of things I care about. I will sit up and and tell you this in a crabby voice, if you happen to find me asleep in my car with drool on my face and coffee on my shirt. Battle scars.

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One Response to Battle Scars (of the lamest variety)

  1. maggie says:

    i would feel the same frustrating ‘stuckedness’ with the test prep. have you read Jonathan Kozol at all? i think you’d love his books on teaching.

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