Friends, I'm exhausted. Knackered, as our UK compatriots would say. Done for. And I have 178 more days of this.
I am at 23 students now, expecting more tomorrow. We are boy heavy this year (one of my great-grandmothers used to say that whenever a lot of boys were born, it meant there'd be war) (greeeeat, JUST what we need more of).
Please know: I am okay with a lot of boys. I like boys. (most) Boys don't have a lot of the emotional drama that (most) girls seem to possess. I sense testosterone vs. estrogen is at play there. Can we fix that, Science? See if you can fix that, Science. Teachers everywhere will high five you so hard.
But boys also mature more slowly, are typically reluctant readers (I took a quick straw poll today: Math or Reading? Math. Hands down, Math was the favorite.) (So was P.E., which is good--kids these days! They just don't run enough, you know?). But oh em gee, girls and the drama! And I'm a mother to a girl, and a girl myself, so believe me: I KNOW.
C'est la vie. It just is what it is, I guess. What it is right now is exhausting--dealing with school supplies, children who don't have school supplies, bus/address location issues, children who need backpacks so they can have a bus tag to get on the bus to go home issues, talking issues, noise level issues, getting new students in the middle of everything and having to review everything 18 billion times issues, talking and noise, dealing with people from all different backgrounds and their various levels of dysfunction, noise and talking and talking and noise and talking and noise. Oh my god, there's so! much! NOISE! Why are children so fricking LOUD?
Other than that, I got some incredible cuties--I am already head over heels in love with about 5 of them. So. Stinkin'. Cute. Just thinking of their little faces and chipmunk cheeks is making me happy about going back there tomorrow. Also, these 5 aren't the loud ones, and that helps them so much. These are the kind of children I hope and pray my child is like at school (yet know she's not--she's far too observant and argumentative).
Another plus to this year, Miss M is at a different daycare--for before and after school care, because she's not attending the school I teach at. For the last 5 years, she's been at a daycare/preschool by the school I work at, and we'd drive in together every day. Let me tell you: my drives are heavenly now. So quiet. So reflective. I think this may be why I'm less stressed out by the ensuing noise that starts at 8:30 and lasts til 3:30. Driving meditations. They're wonderful things.
Oh, and last night she was out by 8:03 pm. I've known this child her whole entire life, and I've never seen that happen. Not one single time! She's inherited my night owl nature, and fights sleep like a ninja. For five years I've counted it as a win whenever she's out by 9:15. Now we're looking at 8:30 bedtimes. God bless you, Kindergarten teachers! Thank god for you.
Other than that, I have nothing else to add. I'm going to post a list of stress-fighting strategies I've re-worked for people in education. In the original, it was suggested one take a break every 45 minutes...I can barely find time to go to the bathroom every 8 hours. In addition, a nice leisurely lunch was suggested...I'm not sure how to stretch out that 20 minute time slot during which teachers wolf down a sandwich and then go pick up their wayward pupils (it's actually 30, but by the time you get them seated, get your food heated up or ready to consume, and then have to go get them out of the lunchroom? Twenty. You get twenty minutes to inhale some food midday) (and I work at a school that lets its teachers eat in a separate room from the children at lunchtime--some teachers have to eat WITH their students which, I believe, should be on the UN's list of human rights violations).
Run schools like businesses, my foot. If only we COULD run schools like businesses--I'd love to have an expense account, a company-issued iPhone, a corporate credit card, business trips out of town once in awhile. I wish I were able to take hour long power lunches, be able to call in sick and not have to have 8 hours' worth of lesson plans AND materials for some stranger to try to figure out, and sit in a quiet cubicle all day solving world problems. I'd like to just say to my boss: Hey, boss. I need to run to the doctor...taking a long lunch break, that cool? And have my boss go, "Yeah, that's cool." instead of, "Do you have coverage" or "Oh, I'm sorry, no. We can't afford coverage for you right now."
Must be nice. Must. Be. Nice.
So I'm not going to write this list of de-stress tips tonight (did I just set you up for a big let down? I just set you up for a big let down, didn't I.) I'm sorry. Because I actually did start to type the list earlier and realized: great god, this is going to take 5 hours. And I have some LOUD boys to contend with early tomorrow morning. So I just made an executive decision to hack out my list this weekend, when I have more time. And less stress. And life is quieter. Is that okay?
And just in case any corporate/non-educator/judge-y types are reading this going Oooh! SO hard! You just got an 8 week break, boohoo! Listen. I'm sure all you not-in-education peeps have your insane stresses. Working for a living SHOULD be stressful sometimes, if you give two shits about your work. And so I'm sure you look at my 8 week summer breaks and my 2 week winter breaks and my 1 week spring break and go: Ooooh! SO hard! Must be nice to have all that relaxation time! Must be nice. Must. Be. Nice.
That's fine. That's cool. So why don't we do this: I'll happily switch jobs with you for half a school year. Try my stress on for 90 days, and then let's talk about why planned, regular hiatuses (hiati?) from school are essential for society's well-being. That means, for you, for 90 days, there will be: No power lunches at hibachi grills, no regular bathroom breaks (seriously, I've gone 10 hours without one--no biggie), wild children totally out of control and NOT being good listeners, and 20 minutes to gulp down a sandwich and a bottle of water? Oh, AND you have to go out and drop $100+ out of your own checking account because 10 of your students' parents refused to provide the school supplies necessary for the year, and when you go to the office and ask about reimbursement they just look at you all crazy-like and go, "Uh, this is SCHOOL. You understand that this is SCHOOL, don't you?" Then let's talk about why I'm so tired after just Day 2 out of 180 days of work. Wait til I share my world with you on Day frickin' 90.