Friday, August 29, 2008

Back on track?

After an incredibly long and very rough week, complete with a total meltdown Wednesday night (which really shouldn't have happened since I went to the gym & worked out & that normally improves my mood tremendously), I think I might be back on track. Maybe.
I've made one of my "infamous" lists - and I'm grateful for the long weekend. Not just to get things done, but to get back on some reasonable schedule. I've been feeling overwhelmed, and I KNOW I've taken on too much (again), but I know I'll get through it, and I know I'm not alone. Prioritizing needs to happen - now. I started some of that tonight. I also realized that I need to be sure I schedule "me" time - whether that be reading, the gym, walking - whatever. Realistic goals with room for hiccups.
This was just a post to more or less remind myself that I need to continually review, renew and refresh myself & my time. This is something I know (both consciously & unconsciously) to do and how to do it, but the oxymoron of it is that I need to schedule TIME to do it - sounds silly - scheduling time to schedule my time. But, it's not really that silly.
On the flip side, for kicks (and just to check it out) I played around with Rosetta Stone tonight. Our school district pays for a subscription - and I've known it's been there for over a year now, so I just decided to check it out to see if I like it. I'm grateful that I took French in high school/college. Although I didn't use the French course (I want to learn Italian), I have a basic understanding of the semantics/grammar - the masculine/feminine forms that I learned in French apparently are present in all the "romance" languages. I went through about 7 or 8 lessons in the first unit. I get the listening, reading & writing pretty well - my biggest problem has been speaking the language. I really like the recording thing that it does - then it rates how well you did. It also has a special "just speaking" kind of lesson/unit area as well. So, after I go through the basics, I'll probably have to do that just to get the speaking down. There's no time frame here - I'm not going to Italy anytime soon, but this is also something "fun" that I want to be sure I schedule for that "me-time" that needs to happen. Even if I just spend 10 minutes a day on it. It took my mind off of everything while I was working on it - which helped a lot tonight :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Now I Know

I now know why I am a teacher and not something else. This day was unbelievably packed with things - early morning meeting (on a Monday :-P), more papers to grade with less time, students coming in for help before my meeting, lunch duty, meeting notes to email out, emails that needed an immediate response, and barely time to scarf down lunch. It was a pretty normal day, until lunch duty.
We rotate every three weeks and wander the cafeteria to make sure kids are supervised and putting trash in the bins, etc. I don't mind it too much - it's better than last year where I was outside and bored - at least I get to walk around. About 95% of my kids are in this lunch since it's ALL ninth graders in it - which is good so I can see them in a different setting. One of my boys from 4th period caught my eye and pointed to a boy sitting across from him with his head down. He then mouthed the words "He's crying".
I approached him and introduced myself, then kind of squatted down lower so I could see him better. I asked if he was feeling okay and what was going on. He was upset because he couldn't do his math homework because he didn't understand it and the teacher hadn't given him enough information/examples to work with. So, I sit down (knowing perfectly well if my assistant principal sees me, I'm going to get jumped - and I really don't care - this was infinitely more important) and see what he is working on - I have no clue how to do the work and that is immediately apparent to me. But, we sit and talk about it anyways. I ask my young boy if he can help since I am really at a loss and he agrees. The boy has calmed down at this point, so I go ahead and ask him his name and his teacher's name to see if maybe I can go talk to her (but I did NOT want him to know that - I can't remember the excuse I gave him for getting his teacher's name). We talk and my student begins working with him.
I found another teacher in the cafeteria who IS a math teacher and ask him to please help this young boy - and he does for a few minutes.
I found his math teacher on my way back to my room to eat my lunch and let her know what's going on. She said they were all having problems and the homework was going to now be due on a different day - but this kid has her the following period, so he doesn't know that yet.
This is why I'm a teacher - to help these kids that aren't even mine. Do you have any idea what it took for that boy to break down in tears in the middle of a cafeteria filled with ninth graders - who can be incredibly cruel at this age? My heart was in my throat as I was trying to not cry as I can totally empathize with what this young boy was going through - I was much the same way and to an extent, I still am today.
I'll be checking on him at lunch tomorrow - and the next day, and the next and the next - just to make sure he doesn't slip through the cracks and knows there's at least someone out there who cares.
These are the kids that completely give up - and cause us the most heartache when they leave us unexpectedly.
I won't let that happen to him.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I'm listening to the rain. It's been so long since we've had a good storm - damn drought! Thanks to TS Fay, we are getting a little bit at least. It's a pleasant sound - have you ever just thought about it? It's calming, soothing, melancholy and reflective in nature.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting this weekend. aka - I've dipped into the parts of my life that I normally keep very well hidden and locked away - even from myself.
Did I mention my mom passed away last year? I think I did somewhere. I'm still dealing with those issues as well - not sure why I was thinking about her tonight - it comes and goes. But that's not where my thoughts were this weekend.

I met up with an old "friend" Friday night. I put that in quotes b/c we really weren't friends much in high school - she was close with my boyfriend, who eventually became the ex-asshole named Lee. She didn't like me much in high school - and I didn't really like her. However, things change, we grow up and out of those phases, don't we? Anyways - she lives up in this area so we met for drinks/dinner. Our lives have a lot of parallels - she's divorced for the same reason (cheating spouse), he married his mistress, she has her master's and is doing her specialist, she's a teacher (although middle school and in a different field than I am), she bought her own house up here as well, and I could go on and on....but I'll stop.
Here's the deep thoughts that I hate when they surface....she remarried about 3 years ago. She met her husband about 8-9 months after she moved to this area and dated about 2 years before getting married (I didn't ask how long the divorce took to complete - there are some questions you just don't ask). I've seen pics of her and her hubby - nice guy, good job that pays really well - she sounds happy and content.
Then, there's me. And I start those deep thoughts - what's wrong with me? We've been divorced for the same number of years, were first married for about the same amount of time. This is going to sound catty, but I don't really give a shit - she's really not aged well. If I saw her on the street and didn't know her, I would have put her in her early to mid-40s - she's only 36. Her ass is twice the size of mine and she's much shorter and "plumper" than I am. I know that's the physical crap that girls generally don't give a rat's ass about when we are looking for guys, but I do know guys focus in on that aspect first, then the rest develops IF AND ONLY IF there is initial attraction. To any guy that might happen to read this - it's true so don't try to BS some comment about how different YOU are - you're not. All females know this.
So - what's wrong with me? Any guy I've dated (especially recently - and I AM 35) has not believed my age - last one put me in my late 20s BIG GRIN. I try to stay reasonably fit and take care of myself as best I can with the time I have - I'm at the gym at least twice a week and walk 2 miles up hills (my ass is kickin' right now! and believe me I'm not bragging - I've been told this several times) in the morning, and usually another mile at night. I can carry on a conversation that doesn't center around hair products, makeup or clothes. I don't smoke. I rarely drink unless I am out on a social occasion and usually just one (I'm such a cheap date....). I don't do drugs - nor have I ever done them (not even one cigarette). I'm reasonably intelligent and highly motivated.
Is there an invisible sign on my head that says "Stay Away"?? Do I smell? I do bathe regularly - every day and sometimes twice a day (on gym days - can't stand to go to bed smelly/sweaty). My only vice is caffeine in the form of regular coke (B - NO comments if you're reading this) or mountain dew.
So, I'm just about ready to give up. I know I won't have children - I reconciled myself with that particular aspect of my life several years ago.
So I think the connection between these thoughts and why I was thinking about my mom - I have a deep and unreasonable fear of ending up like her. Unmarried and alone. She did have kids - 3 of us - but I wasn't there when she passed, nor were my brothers - just my sister-in-law. I've beaten myself up about that enough times in the past year to give myself permanent internal bruising. There's no way I would have made it there - I've done the math for the times & drive times - it wasn't possible, and there was no way to predict when she would pass. There's no way anyone can predict that. So - there it is. Out in the open - my single worst fear of my life. This by no means implies that I will simply go out and marry the next guy I find. Hell, if I were deathly afraid of this, then one of two things would have happened - 1) I would have found some way to stay with my ex-asshole husband, or 2) I would have stayed with one of the guys that I've already dumped, even though I wasn't happy with them. So, I'm not desperate, but I feel as though I am approaching the edge of desperation and I may end up jumping off it - without a parachute. No - not a metaphor for suicide either. There's no way I could leave my dog. Or my cat. Or my dad and family in that way.
So I sit. Listening to the rain. Seriously considering just going outside and reveling in it. Letting it wash over me, and maybe wash away this completely irrational and insane fear that I have inside me that is slowly receding to the deepest part of me, hopefully not to resurface any time soon.