I don't know why it rattled me so much... I've had students lie to me before... I've had students steal from me before... it just... really. freakin. hurt.
You see... I have this student that comes and checks in with me. He does so because he is known for lying and stealing. It's like his little daily "conscience" check before he starts his day.
At first, you could tell he didn't want to be gracing my doorway every morning... We talk about things that we do to prove people can trust us. And at first I could see his eyes roll, even if he didn't physically do it, but I saw less reports of lying and no new reports of stealing... and I felt like we had a rapport. I guess you could say that I was giving myself a virtual pat on the back for breaking ground with this kid.
Today, he got caught going through my desk drawers... which caused the realization to hit that the candy bar he "got" yesterday (that his mom emailed to see if I had given to him because he said it was from a friend) was FROM MY DRAWER! And then when I point-blank asked him about it, HE LIED!
I'm not gonna lie.
I trusted him.
Despite what everyone else told me... I like to give kids the benefit of the doubt (until they prove me wrong.)
And today... Today, he proved me wrong.
And it crushed me.
I guess I wanted to believe SO badly that I had made a difference and in one quick action, I felt as if I failed.
Funny though... How HE did the wrong action and yet *I* feel like I failed.
That's why people don't understand teaching sometimes... Because when our students fail, we view it as a poor reflection on us... Or at least I do.
I walk up to the boys and their friends. They are outside the city limits of this big city in a completely flat area that looked like a desert. The ground is dry and cracked. I ask the boys what they are doing and they say "Nothing." It is evident that they are doing target practice of some kind.
Then, all of a sudden, one of them shoots something and a huge explosion happens on the edge of the city. The ground begins to shake like an earthquake and a crack begins to run down the ground towards us.
"What have you done?" I yell. "Just run!!" they yell back as they grab my arm and pull me away from the crack that is increasingly growing as it comes towards us.
We run to a hill. As we crest the hill, we see green lushness beyond it. There are men with shotguns at the top.
One asks, ""Where do you think you are going?"
One of the boys replies, "We need to get there." pointing to the bottom of the valley on the other side of the hill. "Go around!" the man yells. It is obvious this is his land and he doesn't want us to cut through. "No time." says the boy pointing to the crack that is following us.
Nodding us on, the man says, "Go."
We run over the crest of the hill and start to run down it.
During this running, 2 young girls join us; one is about 8 and the other is about 3. They ask if they can join us... They are obviously poor. They are wearing rags and you can tell they are just want something to do. I ask the 8 yr old if she has ever rolled down a hill. She says no. I look off to the landscape beside us and it is green plateau, then a craggy drop, then another green plateau, and another craggy drop. It continues like this down the side of the hill, even though the area that we are running is just a smooth hill. I tell her that when we find a good hill, I will teach her how to roll down a hill. As I'm telling her this, I'm thinking that I have never been successful with rolling down a hill since I hit puberty and gained boobs, but decided to deal with that when the time came.
When we finally reach the bottom of the hill, we reach a pond and decide to rest. I tell everyone to be careful around the water. Then the 3 yr old starts crying. I ask her what is wrong. She tells me that she lost her doll's shoe in the pond. It is obvious this doll is worth more than what her family probably could have afforded on their own as it is brand new.
So, I go to the water's edge and scoop my hand into the water. I come up with a handful of doll shoes. I show the little girl and ask her if any of these are her doll's shoe. She shakes her head. I scoop again. Again, she shakes her head and says, "It's pink..." I have several pink shoes in my hand. "What about?..." I asked as I start to point at a pink shoe laying on my hand. She cuts me off and says, "No, it's pink like a bunny's nose." I wade into the water and scoop up a handful of shoes from the center of the pond and carry them over to the water's edge. I show the little girl again. "No, like a puppy's nose." she innocently says again. I decide that I don't have time to keep looking randomly for this doll shoe in a pond full of doll shoes. I tell her I will keep my eye out for it, but that right now I will go home with them and explain to their mom what has happened and that I will take the blame for it.
We walk into the shack of their house, Stair-steps of children are running around...It is obvious that the two girls I met are just two of many. We walk into the kitchen where their mom is in front of an old stove. The scene is from the 1930's Great Depression. I start to explain why I'm there. Suddenly, the door is slammed open by her husband. "Woman!!!" he yells. She looks at me and whispers, "Not now." I sink into the background of the kitchen. He bursts into the kitchen. "Woman, what have you done?!!?" he yells as he shoves a square bottle of dark alcohol in her face. He is wearing trouser pants and a pageboy hat, but they are tattered. "I had to take care of your children somehow. I made sure they gave you credit." she said. The bottle he is holding has 3 calligraphy initials on the front label. "Woman, don't you know this stuff is illegal? And now they know WHO made it!!"
So a month ago, the boys and I were in a wreck... not my fault...It totaled my car.
I have lived through many traumatic things in my life... However, I can't seem to shake this one.
Maybe it's because I'm still in pain from it.
Maybe it's because I HAVE to continue to drive on a daily basis.
Whatever it is... I am suffering major PTSD from it.
I pull over if someone is following too close behind me because I'm afraid they will hit me.
I jump if someone I am riding with pulls out into traffic even if the cars aren't that close.
I still won't take that road home that I got hit on.
Yesterday, I knew without a doubt I had been traumatized...
We went to Incredible Pizza where they have 4D movies. We did the Jurassic Park one. Unbeknownst to me, it is basically a car wreck where the dinosaurs wreck your car over and over and over again...
I walked away with fingernail indentations in my hands from gripping on so tight, a nauseous stomach, and a splitting headache.
Then last night I woke up from a nightmare where I was riding in a car with a friend and because she was crying so hard she didn't see the car in front of us, so I braced myself as we rammed into the car in front of us causing me to throw my hands forward and brace myself on the dashboard.
Tonight was open house...
This night used to be filled with anxiety and excitement... LOTS and lots of excitement... because it meant I was meeting a whole new group of smiling student faces and I knew they were mine.
I saw lots of smiling faces at open house tonight. I got to stand at the front door and greet as everyone came in and say good-byes as they all left.
...But it wasn't the same.
Even though I again will have every student in the building, none of them are mine. I'm not sure I will ever get over this part of it.
It especially made it worse when former students of mine came back (because of younger siblings) and gave me hugs...
... because they all know that once they are mine they are always mine.
I have a VERY vivid imagination.
I always have.
I think that's why I don't watch scary movies... because later I recreate those scenarios in my brain.
I haven't watched a scary movie in a long time, but last night I felt like I was living one.
Let me set the scene...
Todd and I went to a friend's wedding up north.
He got married in a big little town... It seemed quaint but had all the amenities of a city, but seemed like a town.
All of their hotels got horrible reviews. The hotel we picked had 3 out of 5 stars. Most people knocked them down for their breakfast. We weren't planning on eating breakfast there, so I decided to book it.
When we got to the front desk, the clerk seemed distracted and a little at the end of her rope. When the printer flashed it was out of paper, she said, "I really don't care if I have a copy of your driver's license. Just don't smoke in the room, okay?"
She handed me my copy of the reciept. It said we were in 208A. She scribbled out the "A" and said, "Ummm... Don't worry about the A. It's just 208." I thought that this must be a suite or something, but didn't question further.
We headed up the outside stairs to our door, 208.
I slid the key, the light would flash green, yet I couldn't get the door open.
I did this three times.
Finally, Todd decided to try.
He put all of his body weight against the door and it came open.
The room was dark with the exception of the light from the tv screen.
It was playing a black and white movie.
(I'm pretty sure I said, "That's weird.")
I didn't like it.
It gave me a bad feeling.
I then switched on the light switch.
I started to back out the door.
I told Todd that something was not right here... that we weren't staying.
He trudged forward.
He turned on the lamp at the far side of the room and looked behind the door of the bathroom.
He told me to come in and close the door.
I still wasn't convinced it was safe.
I turned on my flashlight on my phone and looked under the beds.
Then we heard something outside, I went to the peephole.
Someone had stuffed toilet paper into the hole so you couldn't look out.
I thought for sure we were going to die!!
By now my brain was reeling with scenarios.
I started looking and relooking behind the doors and under the bed.
Then I remembered the "A"...
The room was NOT a suite!! Why would they number it 208A if it was NOT a suite??!!
This sent me into more of a tailspin.
Luckily, I have a calm boyfriend who knows how my crazy brain works.
He jokingly says, "Well, if we don't wake up dead, we know it was all in your head."
We didn't wake up dead (I know that doesn't make sense - In other words, we're still here...)
Maybe this is how movie writers become so creative... Maybe they stay in weird hotels too with rooms like 208A.
You know that point where you are so tired that you know you have stuff to get done, but instead you do nonsensical things that seem productive, but really truly aren't and are most DEF not getting you any closer to the goal you are hoping to achieve???
That's where I'm at.
Been up since 5 am.
Put in a full day at summer school.
Went shopping for supplies with the summer school team after summer school.
Picked up Sam and took him to practice.
Got home at 7pm.
Have been doing nonsense for 2 hours while my niece's cake sits on the counter waiting to be decorated.
And yet, here I am blogging.
And this hour and a half decorate job I think is going to take several hours.
This week when you are a normal classroom teacher is filled with gifts and surprises...
But this year, that's not me... I'm a "specials' teacher... and I have come to realize how often they are left out of the loop.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not here to complain about not getting gifts... Quite the opposite.
You see... During times like this, when I am feeling a bit invisible... all it takes is just one child.
My little friend who has been checking in with me all year, that I have been forcing to change out of her stinky clothes into clean ones on a daily basis, so I can wash hers, so she can gain confidence about herself... She arrived at my door today with a letter to me.
The letter said how I was the best teacher in the district because I listened to her and cared about her and that she knew she could tell me anything and it would still be okay. It was a page long... a whole page from a child who struggles to write a few sentences for an assignment.
It made me cry!!
A box of chocolates has never done that...
Copyright 2008-2015. All photos, text and artwork on this blog are the property of What's Around the Next Bend. All rights reserved. Please do not copy, reproduce, or use without permission. Thank you.