Friday, September 16, 2005

mosaic

i'm sitting in my dark apartment enjoying the silence and my solitude. there are no whining teenagers, no questions, no one sucking my attention, my stability, my advice until i retreat exhausted.

i know i love teaching because i'm overwhelmed but happy. granted, many people and situations have pissed me the fuck off in the last four weeks. like textbooks. four weeks into the school year. like meetings that waste my time. bureacracy. the usual.

i love that i feel a deep, heartfelt connection with my students, past and present. they file in and out of my room, coming for a safe place to sit and chat. i don't mean physically safe, but rather socially and emotionally. my room is OK. they're walking stories, and while i've always considered this, it's really hit home this year. perhaps i grew from my own personal stuff this past year. i don't know. perhaps i'm slowly accepting that i'm really gonna do this. despite the lack of professional respect or the insane amount of energy put into every single day of work, i'm looking toward the long haul. i think.

the other day i found out that one of my all-time favorite students dropped out of school. she became pregnant and her family is totally nonsupportive and wants her to come back to school as a form of shaming. there were other options. and now she works at taco bell. god. this kid had overcome some major hurdles and was college bound. a now she's in charge of 59 cent soft tacos with a baby in her belly.

on the whole though, my kids are cracking me up. they're a ragtag group and i'm pushing work on them. cornell notes, reviews, quizzes. they're getting cranky and a little scared. sometimes i pretend to cradle them in my hands. "it's okay fourth period," i coo,"i've got you. i'm gonna take care of you. i wouldn't give you work you can't handle." inevitably they ask me if i smoke pot. it's a very popular question.

as far as the curriculum goes...it's going. i think my students are still in shock about the new workload. these are "regular" kids that are not used to weekly quizzes and homework of which they are held accountable. the other day i assigned a chapter review for homework and i got about one or two assignments per class. this is typical but i refuse to back down. these kids have got to get a work ethic.

lastly, i would like to relay a comment one of my students said today. i think other women will appreciate this as much as i did. today i wore a very large school t-shirt with jeans. this shirt is way too big for me but, honestly, i have no clean clothes and i wanted to wear a spirit shirt because it's comfortable (a perk to teaching). so i oversized it today and went to school. about fifth period this kid turns to me and says, "wow ms. that's a nice shirt. (pause) it's kind of like a tent." awesome. "aaron, you really know how to make a person feel good," i replied. i'm going to shrink it in the dryer.