Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I don't celebrate Halloween.
But I work in an elementary school this year and Halloween is a mandatory celebration complete with costume parade.
My fall-back costume from when I was young just won't do.
These kids don't know who Pippi Longstocking is.
I thought maybe I could be Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus, but even that might be above the heads of Kindergarteners through second graders.
I can have the power blink 7 minutes before my computer class and still be up and ready before the kids come in.
I can have lessons to teach that require minor assistance from the classroom teacher and still pull it off when I have a day full of substitute teachers that know nothing about how to help.
I can have a lab full of a dozen students, ready to participate in a reading program that I have not been trained on nor instructed in nor debriefed about and still teach them something about the program (and myself) in the half hour we have together.
I can change my schedule for every new need of my principal, including a change to cover for a recess monitor; to eat my lunch at 10:30 on Tuesdays to accommodate the lab schedule; to become a hall monitor before and after school instead of a bus monitor; to move classes around to accommodate the needs of one particular student in one particular class....
I can reproduce an entire set of log-in cards when they go missing even though I am certain I didn't lose them but unable to find them and the teacher insists she didn't take them only to have the teacher confess days later that she did in fact find them in her room.
I can grade papers, staple art projects, file math papers, and any other assorted tasks for other teachers when I have nothing at all to do in my lab.
I can help a brand new sub on her very first day, even making sure to be in the classroom at the end of the day when it's time to get kids ready for the bus (she apparently didn't make this a priority for herself, I was there alone with the kids).
But today, I did the hardest thing yet. I stuck a needle into a precious little six year old Kindergarten girl. She's diabetic and every day we have to test her blood and give her insulin and it's been changed to my list of duties as there needed to be a shift with the woman who was helping. And I did it, and we both survived. She made it easy. She's braver than I am.
"What will he take in 8th grade then?" I asked.
She didn't have an answer. She finally said he'd probably have to repeat the class. I politely suggested that wasn't much of a solution to the problem then.
So today LM goes to school and is approached by his counselor after 5th hour. "After lunch, go to your new computer class."
LM replied, "I didn't know I had a new computer class."
"Yes, you're in the 8th grade class now."
LM, aware of my conversation with the Assistant Principal, and the fact that I didn't think moving him was a good option to begin with, shrugged and headed to lunch.
After lunch, for 6th hour, he headed to his new computer class. It was already in session. The teacher told him to just "take a seat in the back and do the typing progam" which he did. And 20 minutes later, the bell rang. Because it was time for 8th grade lunch. And the teacher announced to LM that this wouldn't work at all because this was also her lunch hour. LM shrugged. And went back to his counselor and explained the problem.
And the counselor said, "oh, yeah, that won't work, will it?"
I think the best solution is to just let LM run the school at this point. He's clearly got the smarts for it.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
...know how sweet it was that you brought me flowers, gave me a huge hug and asked so many times how I was - really - ?
...know how much I appreciated the gentleness and tenderness that you treated me with when my heart was breaking?
...know how touched I was that you sat and played poker with a reluctant risk-taker, and a horrible bluffer when you could have been home enjoying the games?
...know how wonderful it was for me to see the Rentals? To hug them both and hear their giggles when LM read them Cat in the Hat with an English accent?
...know how nice it was when you cooked dinner?
...know how much I absolutely love the jersey, even though it somehow feels inappropriate to accept it now? My favorite boy on my favorite team.
...know how much I worry that you're doing all this to win me back?
...really believe me when I say I care about you but I can't date you now?
...think we can really be just friends or is the only end to this a broken heart and bitter feelings?
...know how scared I am of becoming 'that girl'? The one who takes advantage, who has no regard for the feelings and desires of the other, the one who will take in all the kindnesses without seeing or addressing the underlying message?
...know how relationships got so complicated in the first place?
...know that I do care - so much, in fact, that all of this worries me and makes me think I should close the door, even if you insist on leaving it open?
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
She invited me to school on Monday so I could show LM my classroom. I was as excited to see her as I was to see my room. We talked for over an hour. She had met LM before, but she was quickly entertained by him. Pam has never married, although I can't figure out just why no man hasn't fallen for her.
I noticed the bruises then, but didn't say much. I don't want to act concerned when it's her cancer we're discussing. If she wasn't worried, I'd try not to be, too. She excused them away, she'd been carrying in loads of things to get her room set up. I nodded and agreed, but wondered about the back of her arm, the back of her leg...
I was thrilled today to walk in and see her. We hugged and cheered that we'd be seeing each other every day this year. I caught her from time to time in the hallway with her kids - she told me one of her students had asked why her shirt was fuzzy. "Cat + black shirt = fuzz" she answered in typical Pam fashion.
It was at lunch that our concern racheted up a notch. Others had noticed the bruises and some she'd known for longer, known when she was fighting leukemia asked if she'd made the calls yet. She'd tried, but had gotten an answering service for the cancer center. She'd try again after lunch she promised. We tried not to talk about it. But in just one day I saw more bruises, more colors, more inexplicable marks. I was genuinely scared.
While it was only a half day for students, she intended on staying in her classroom until 5. I had training until 3 but told her I'd stop by before I left for the day. She poked her head into our training an hour later and said she was going to get her blood count checked. She wasn't in her room when I stopped by.
When I called later, the news wasn't good. Platelets are low. Not as low as when she was originally diagnosed, but low enough they want to see her on Friday for a bone marrow draw. She's been through this before. It isn't fun and it didn't come out well the first time.
My heart sank with the news. For all she's so recently been through, just two short years ago, with her hair finally getting longer again, she's faced with the same fears, the same worries, perhaps the same outcome.
The first day back, the first day with her new students, the first week of school and classes and she has this weighing on her mind. I pray that God lifts her burden. I pray that He takes this out of her and keeps it from her. I pray that the draw on Friday is not the outcome that seems so likely. I pray.
For it's all I know to do.
Monday, September 01, 2008
"He doesn't snore, he doesn't stay out late with all his friends, he's polite, he never argues..."
"LM, what on earth are you talking about?"
"I found the perfect guy for you, Mom. All you have to do is add water."
And that's when I realized. He had found the boyfriend Mig had sent to me last year. (Cause that's what friends are for, to send you a boyfriend in case you ever need one.) He must have fallen out of one of the boxes I had just emptied.
I'll admit. There are some qualities about him that I do like. He doesn't talk about himself and all his accomplishments. He doesn't belch after dinner. He doesn't insist on listening to RunDMC while driving. But I think he's been spending a bit too much time at the tanner, and he needs to learn not to slurp the foam off his beer and there's this whole growing-shrinking-growing thing he's supposed to do, that, well frankly I'm not even sure Cialis could help. But even if I could get past that, when push comes to shove, he obviously just came out of the closet. And we all know I've been down that road before.