Our school is hosting a fundraiser next week for Japan. Rarely do I venture into the lunch room (=no lunch duty yay!), but I will definitely stop by next week to give what I can for my Japanese sisters and brothers.
Although I am a high school teacher, every so often I receive something like this from a student. Little do they know how much their thoughtfulness makes my day.
I was reading end-of-the-year reflections written by my students and came across this gem. One line in partcular stood out in a paper written by Roberto, an ENL student, I don’t regret what I did, I regret what I didn’t do. How thought-provoking!
Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It used to be that I could hardly “wait” for the day to come. Now I can barely get through them. No longer do they represent happiness and relief from working. Fridays are sadness, loneliness, and terrible memories that surface. Every Friday I relive that horrible night. Friday is the day all the trouble began.
Saturdays, too, are classified the same as Friday. Saturday was the official day of his death.
And for some reason yesterday (Friday) just felt so much more heavier than usual on top of the forlornness that I normally feel. There were “signs” everywhere that I could not “read.”
- During my prep I made a personal call, and while on hold, I grabbed the nearest magazine (Lady’s Home Journal) to pass the time. The first article I encountered was called “To Happy Endings.” The author wrote about the many problems she had faced in 2008. No matter how many times life surprises you, you never get used to the shock. A year ago I couldn’t have pictured all that has come to pass in my world in 2008: my mother’s death, the end of my second marriage and a raft of other heartaches big and small… Midway through the article it mentioned that she had been widowed in her early thirties! I about fell off of the stool I was perched on!
- After reading her story, the article I turned to next had my husband’s name in large letters! Turns out that one of the adult dogs who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me has the same name as my husband!
- The last feature I read in the magazine was an interview with a mom. The final question asked what she wished her family had money for. She said she wanted money to restore their emergency fund as it had been depleted. She also desired money so that her family could visit her in-laws in (take a wild guess) Morocco!
- During my sixth period some of the students were talking while working on their assignment. A female student was casually sharing the fact that she spent 11 1/2 months in residental treatment. This of course caught my attention because this is the exact amount of time that Evan spent in treatement as well!
- One of my student’s brother, who attends our middle school has been acting out because their father died recently. Her brother’s name is Ethan (also in middle school)!
- I received a call from Eliza’s sister’s cell phone. I did not answer the call and no message was left.
- On Wednesday I kept my friend’s two sons while she went out on a date. They are the same ages as my stepsons. It felt really eerie having them there. Later in the evening she sent a text asking What are my boys doing? This is the way Eliza always referred to Ethan and Evan, Although this did not happen on Friday, it still triggered many memories.
I was haunted all day and night long. Even while I was “stealing time.” I felt overwhelmed and crushed by the memories and what-if’s. Later in the day I was exhausted and took a sleeping pill to stop my wandering mind. But I do wonder if it was all a coincidence or some kind of sign?
My students think it is a part of their role to critique my clothing and assessory choices. Everyday I am surveyed from head to toe. Then I have to listen their comments about what I have on that day. I think the focus is more heightened because they wear uniforms. And there are only so many things one can say about khaki pants and polo shirts.
Yesterday they did not like my lace socks paired with ballet flats. I know because I heard all about it!
And they always complain about the green marbled sweater coat that I put on when I get chilly (which is all the time). They call it the “ugly old bathrobe.” They really get bent out of shape when it doesn’t match what I am wearing!
The one Friday that I wore a pair of Coach sneakers, I was the talk of the school! No one thought I even owned a pair of tennis shoes, I was informed.
Once when I was not wearing my wedding ring, a male student asked if I was “mad” at my husband!
Today it was my shoes. I happen to like them and think they are quite cute and quaint. Many kids agreed with me. But several wondered why I had on “old lady” shoes at my age? One of my students called them girl “leprechaun” shoes and asked if I was looking for “me gold”! Another student inquired “Where you think you going in those shoes?!” But they liked the pair of diamond barretts in my hair, so they gave me “points” for those.
Of course they have opinions about EVERYTHING! Their junior fashion critiques add a little humor to my day. Not to mention, it is a good springboard for teaching fact versus opionion!
Love tastes like freshly whipped cream
Love smells like my husband’s cologne
Love feels like cotton candy
Loves sounds like a symphony
Love looks like a sleeping child
Today I will be introducing a poetry unit to my students. I always like to start with a simple poem to ensure success. And of course, since love is in the air with tomorrow being the day for lovers, I thought I’d use love as the topic for this 5 Senses poem to model for my classes.
What is love to you? In the comment section, try your hand at this simple poem following the specified 5 Senses format!
My students and I are watching the inauguration. My kids seem to have an opinion about everything! This is a great moment in our history so I asked a few students to share with me how they felt. Here’s what they had to say:
This is history! We shouldn’t have to come to school ever again on this day! ~Howard
It’s a new beginning. ~Donte
I am happy to be alive to witness a Black man become president. ~Fernando
On November the 4th I realized that I could be anything. There are no more excuses that can be made by anyone in this country. Hope is alive! ~Brian
It’s a beautiful thing. I really want to shed a tear. (two seconds later) I mean I’m happy to have a Black president and all, but really it’s not that deep! ~Iesha
I think he will make things better for all Americans. ~Ashley
I don’t know what to think! I can’t even express the way I feel. ~Dasha
I hope he will make college more affordable. ~Makailya
It’s amazing! ~Maurice
Barack O’bama is a rock star! ~Dashae
He has set a standard for Black people. ~Montice
My only wish is that my lost loved ones were here to witness the day with me.
Today I took my kids on a field trip to see Bodies…the Exhibition. They really enjoyed it and were quite intrigued by the wonderous complexity of the human body. My students (of course) were eager to see the sex organs!
I, on the otherhand, was very interested in viewing the heart gallery. But looking at the display of arteries strongly reminded me of my husband, so much in fact that I could not bear to look at the one aptly called the widow maker. I hate that terminology!
Today, it has been two months.
I have received such an outpouring of love from students both past and present. Upon learning of my loss, I have had mounds of student visitors bearing cards, teddy bears, flowers, and plants. Not to mention the myraid of text messages and phone calls I have gotten.
There have been so many former students visiting me in the last couple of weeks that the staff has been forced to escort various groups to my class. Typically visitors are asked to come during a prep or teacher’s lunch, but I guess I must look like I need cheering up because they have definitely relaxed the policy for me.
I was a bit surprised how quickly word spread. However, when I learned that the majority found out through a current student’s message of condolence for me on her Facebook page, I smiled. The kids put everything important to them online. This act spurred text messages sent and forwarded to any student who has ever had me as a teacher.
I have barely had an appetite and have eaten little here recently. I was quite touched earlier in the week when Ashley, one of my students who comes to my room for our lunch period placed a bag of chips in front of me. She shyly explained that she had to make sure that I ate something becasue she has noticed that I no longer eat.
Really, I am filled with such gratitude and awe that they care so much about me. A teacher couldn’t ask for anything more. I know exactly how Sally Fields felt when she uttered those lines after winning the Oscar. Not only do they like me, they love me!
When it comes to parenting, I have my own unique style that I like to call “democratic-assertive.” I am not authoritarian because I believe that this approach eventually backfires in the end.
I like to think that I am fair, flexible (to a degree), and firm. However, I do like to maintain control. Kids are kids for a reason. I am not at all wishy-washy (permissive) and I believe that consistency is a key component to well behaved children.
Sometimes I think I am too strict and overprotective. However, my husband is a nice counterpartner and helps round me out with his more liberal views.
I noticed that I approach teaching in the same manner that I do parenting. Often students are quick to remind us teachers that we are not their parents. I say a silent prayer of thanks before quickly pointing out that actually I am, in locos parentis. As a public school teacher I am legally entitled to act accordingly.
Oddly, they embrace this concept once they get over the fact that I don’t look very”motherly.” Despite my appearance I am quite conservative. My very austere grandmother had a lot to do with this. Even though I teach 12th grade, I still set my classroom up as a family. I am the parental figure and I liken my students to my “kids”.
Furthermore, I feel obligated to get to know my students like I do with my own child. I spend so much time with them that I couldn’t imagine doing otherwise. When you know their strengths and weakness, whims and wishes–it makes the monumental task of teaching far more bearable.
This approach works for me and it creates an atmosphere of trust, stability, and warmth. Many of the students that I work with come from broken homes and appreciate this type of environment. I don’t meddle in their personal affairs or anything of that nature. And I only give advice when requested.
We all have to discover what works best for our individual families because one size does not fit all. Here is a quiz I found on ivillage to help get you thinking about the type of parent you are or the kind that you desire to be.