Internet, I've had a WEEK. My exhaustion is exhausted.
First, The Good:
O. M. G. I got the class from Cutesville. I mean, seriously. The other day, one of my little boys who looks like a little, aged man walked by our door holder every time, bowing formally while saying, "I thank you, sir. And good DAY to you, SIR!" And every time he did it, I wanted to hug him to me because he kept making my whole freaking day.
Then, one day, one of my little girls who can't read to save her life spent about 10 minutes weaving a lovely story about a pet chicken in Mexico she once had. Her grandma wanted to kill it and eat it for dinner, and she threw herself onto her grandma, begging for mercy, thus saving the chicken's life. But the best part was at the end of her chicken story. Because she stopped to make sure she didn't have anything else to add and then announced, "And that's the end of my chicken story." And flounced off. No, really. FLOUNCED.
And my storyteller heart just about exploded with joy.
I have a little girl who looks JUST like the girl who plays Riley on Girl Meets World. With the same personality to go with it. Every morning, she floats into my room, basically going: "I love my teacher, I love my friends, I love my school, I love my school work, I love my breakfast, I love my LIFE!"
These kids. Oh my god. THESE KIDS. I've taught for 20 years, and I think this is, like, the pinnacle of my teaching career in terms of dream classes. And their handwriting doesn't suck! Some can't read, some can't write, but they can art like nobody's business. I can totally work with this. Totally.
Now, The Bad:
I am not a leader.
But you knew this.
I have people, GROWN people, I am working with who need me in ways my own 6 year old doesn't need me. Which, listen. I'm a giving person. I know it's overwhelming. I know it's exhausting. We're all tired here. So let me see what I can do to help you. But also understand: I have my own workload, too. We're all under pressure. So every little bit you can do - get on our school's shared files, go to the district website, go ask those other veteran teachers down the hall...anything, please. And THEN come to me.
This morning I walked in at 7:35 AM, 5 minutes before the bell, and had to deal with two grown ass people's needs. And then another came in looking for Social Studies ideas. And then another came in looking for little readers to print. To which I just want to scream: I KNOW AS FUCKING MUCH AS YOU DO!!!! I NEVER ASKED TO BE IN CHARGE!!!!!!
But I'm a people pleaser, and so I just swallow and smile and go: Don't know. Can't help you. Nope, don't have enough to share. Nope, can't give you that, I'm using it. Sure, yeah. When I get some time. Okay, good luck with that. Oh, absolutely. Do whatever you think is best. You're the professional. (and the fucking adult.)
And last, The Ugly:
We do this thing every year in my class, at some point, when emotions run high and people are forgetting that we're a family at school. I make each kid a heart. I ask them what their hearts look like right now - white/pink/red/purple/perfect. I make them write the names of all the people they love most on it, as well as our class' names. Then I make them take the heart and crumple it up as much as they can, and I make them stomp on it. They have a lot of fun doing this. Then I tell them to bring their hearts to the floor and tell them to open them up. What do the hearts look like now? Crumpled/ripped/destroyed. So I tell them to see if they can smooth out the hearts as much as they can, or if they can just maybe get some glue or tape and fix the ripped up parts. Do as much as they can to make their heart look like it did before we crumpled them up. At the end of 5 minutes, I bring them back and ask them if their hearts look better. Some say yes, some say no. Then I ask them if any of them were able to get their hearts to look as clean and perfect as before we crumpled them up. And they all say no. When hearts get hurt, you can smooth them out and tape or glue them back together, but they will never be the way they once were.
I think this is a good lesson for all of us, no matter your age.
Because I've had some really mean things said to me over the last week. But I've also said some pretty mean things to some people over the last week. I'll admit: I'm pretty goddamned angry. I don't know about what or why,actually. I say it's men, but really it's I don't know. I just feel really, really angry. I do know the following are all the things that will 100% make me come out like Belle Star, guns ablazing, if/when I realize they're happening:
*Being told I owe someone anything
*Assumptions and presumptions about who and what I am, from people who aren't me and don't live in my brain
*Excessive demands from other grown ups
*Douchebags in general
And then I start building walls. And after my wall is nice and high, all bricked up nicely, I go away. Bye.
That's all very coded, I know, and I bet you're wondering if I'm drinking (maybe, maybe not, but maybe). But I'm angry, and I'm wary. But mostly, you know what I figured out since moving to my own place on June 15, 2015? I don't need anyone else but me, myself, and I. And if that makes me some kind of Olive Kitteridge, then I shall wear that label with pride for the next 50 years and you'll have to pry it out of my cold, shriveled hands from my coffin.
But I have a stinking cute group of kids to hang out with all day, and they're making my 5:20 AM alarm going off a hell of a lot more bearable. Otherwise, I'd be considering panhandling for a living right about now. It's that dire. (And NO I don't care if you think I sound overly dramatic! I AM overly dramatic, and that's how it's going to be until I can balance out this stupid shit.)