Friday, May 24, 2013

Perils of Teaching in My Town

This evening reminded me of the perils of teaching high school in the same city where I live. 

To begin, students can't separate school from the real world.  When I see them in public places, like the grocery store, they eye me suspiciously, as if they were thinking, "Strange teacher, you have left the building in which I see you daily.  Do you have some business outside of the learning institution?  Why are you creeping about where you don't belong?"
I do NOT sleep here!
If the above happens, I am actually blessed, because the student refuses to approach.  However, the danger appears when a student decides to engage me further.  You may wonder why that is dangerous.  Well, the danger lies in whether I remember the student's name. 

You see, recognition is usually never a problem.  I'll recognize a student for six to ten years after I've taught them.  But, I can't guarantee I'll remember their name or situation.  So, I must improvise to the best of my abilities.  I readily admit to knowing them, and ask how they are.  Then, I pray desperately that they will provide some clue, some tidbit of information, that will allow my brain to make the connection between face and name.  If I'm really lucky, I'll remember what they meant to me, and where they were headed when I last knew them.  If I'm not, I'll flounder, ask inane questions, and appear addle minded in my old age.

See?  I'm a normal person!  Sorry I can't
remember your name. 
I can pretend pretty well, but I won't deny that I've been in my share of awkward moments.  It isn't personal.  I really like all my students.  However, I've been teaching seven years, and have had about 140 students every year.  Since I suck at math, my phone tells me the answer to that equation is 980 students.  So please, my lovely students, be forgiving if I look at you with complete and total desperation.  I am a lowly woman with a limited amount of mental capacity who just survived another week of proctoring SOL exams.  I'm normal.  I promise.  Be kind.

My second biggest complaint is that my students see me sloppy outside of school.  I planned on going into great detail about how they have impeccable timing when it comes to seeing me at my worst, particularly after I've just left the gym, but, upon further consideration, I realized that I always look sloppy outside school and there really is no coincidence here.  When I'm not at school, they will probably see me at my worst.

So, I won't even dwell on that anymore.  A girl has to live normally, right?

Beth - 0
Students - 1

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Breaking Buddies

No Harar misfortune is complete without company.  Therefore, when I broke my pinkie six weeks ago, I should have known that another breakage was lurking around, just waiting for the right moment to claim another victim. 

Let's start with me, however.  I wish I had some fantastic story to share about how I saved a baby bird from falling to its death by streaking across the lawn, still wet from the previous night's storm, and slipped, catching the bird but breaking my pinkie in the process.

But I don't.  My story is really lame and makes me look ridiculous.  On Sunday night, in my excitement to show my parents the laminate samples we'd picked out at Home Depot, I raced out their garage door, bounded exuberantly down the stairs and happened to bring my arm down in a skippy-swingy type motion at the same time.  I whacked my hand on my mom's car and subsequently tore the tendon on my pinky, chipping off a piece of bone.

The worst part about this break was not the pain, but rather then foul smell that emanated from my bandage at the end of the six weeks.  Also, my pinkie will forever bend slightly to the left and look bumpy.    
You can see the break!  Poor baby!
Just two weeks after I got the okay to remove the splint, I received a phone call at work.  This is very bad, because the school has a lovely process that all phone calls go straight to voice mail unless it is an emergency.  So, while I can put off the phone conversation with an angry parent who wants to rip me a new one, I also am terrified to answer the phone when it does ring for fear of what awaits me on the other line. 

I had good reason to worry, because it was the school nurse, calling to inform me that I needed to take my son to the emergency room to get an x-ray. 

I rushed to his school, hurried to the hospital, carried all 55 stocky pounds of him from the parking lot into the emergency room (no easy feat, let me tell you) and awaited the bad news.  It was, in fact broken, which I pretty much already knew by the extreme amount of pain on my poor baby's face.  they moved us to a room with a television so he could watch SpongeBob, which he found even funnier after they doped him up with pain meds.  Two hours later, we left the hospital with a splint and instructions to take him to an Orthopedic Surgeon to get a cast the next day.

On a side note, the first thing everyone asks someone who has a cast is, "What happened?!"  Joey started out by telling everyone the entire story, which lasted close to 5 minutes.  Either he picked up on their boredom one minute in or grew tired of telling the same story over and over, but to my immense relief he found a shortened ten second version and has stuck with that one over the past week. 

I don't think there should be any more, because my sister broke her hand in January, and that makes three.  I can't believe karma is mad enough to come at me with any more this year. 

Beth - 0
Joey - 0
Bones - 0