The White Flag

Good evening fellow slicers!

I got beat, conquered, defeated…by the children. The only reason I am still standing after today is the mere fact that in a few days I will get to partake in a much needed respite. By around 2:00 today, I was waving the white flag of surrender. I could no longer correct, redirect, investigate, debate, negotiate any longer. I was done. I was stick a fork in me D-O-N-E done! I had nothing left to give. For the last 45 minutes of my day we watched a movie and silently read-done. All I wanted was for everyone to be quiet and not touch anyone-done.

However, we are never really done. 2:55 dismissal. 3:00 confer with the t.a. in my class and the reading teacher about a student. Write out an extensive parent email going over the details of their little darlings award winning day. Get my materials out and ready for the next day. Meet with a parent who was not able to make it for the two scheduled conference days . Then I get to head home.

However, we never really head straight home. Knowing I need to make it to the poll in time to vote before it closes. Do I go all the way home ( in the cornfields of Joliet, IL) or do I stop by the store to get food for dinner? Luckily, the polls didn’t close until 7pm, which gave me time to get dinner before heading to the voting location by my house. Stopped at Chipotle to get dinner (Yay ). Then finally headed to the polling place, fingers crossed for a good friend running for a major office (total underdog btw), but I would’ve been heartbroken to have missed the chance to vote for them.

In the midst of all that after school hustle and bustle,on my drive home, I got hit. I got hit with the voice in my head. The one that tells you to get over yourself. The voice that says, “It is not about YOU”. I have a student in trouble. He acts out, he’s always sleepy, he’s increasingly angry, he’s falling behind academically. Ugh! I missed it!

I will try to be less done tomorrow.

Easy Breezy Free Time

The countdown continues! I am counting down the days to my birthday and spring break. My birthday is Thursday and spring break starts on Friday at approximately 2:56 pm (dismissal is 2:55) I’m giving my students 1 minute to vacate the premises before I do my spring break is here happy dance. So one would think with these two special days coming up I would be excited about the fun times coming ahead for me, rights. Nope. You are sooo funny if you were actually thinking that. Let me remind you of a few things, I’m a 5th grade teacher and a single mom of a teenage girl. Ahhhhh….now some of you are thinking, oh right, we don’t get fun time like that. Duty free, easy breezy fun time. Doesn’t exist for teachers and/or moms.

The teacher in me is stressing about these last few math lessons I need to teach before I give this assessment that I need to give before spring break. Not enough days of the week or hours in the days. As for the mommy side of things. Baby let me tell you…first of all my daughter’s dad is taking her to Wisconsin Dells next week. Oh how nice, you may be thinking. I would think the same thing, but think of it now in a custodial parent point of view. Clearer scope thoughts: Oh joy, what list of things do I need to have ready in order to prepare her for this trip. Well first off I need to get her hair done for the water park. If you’re confused, I understand your confusion. You’re thinking who gets their hair done to go to a water park? The answer is quite obvious if you think about it. The next time you go to a water park, look around for the black women and their daughters. There are a few of us who would dare go to a water park without some type of braids or protective hair do. But for the vast majority of us we get our hair done. Braids, twists, curly weaves, are a black girl water park trip must. PSA: Water is not our friends. At least in terms of what it does for our hair. I could do a whole other blog on black women, our hair, and water…but no time for that tonight. Maybe another day.

Anywho, my birthday weekend I will be taking my daughter to get her hair done, get new swimsuit, go to SAT tutoring. I think I get Sunday off from mommying, but make up for it on Monday. Monday I need to take her to her new Primary Care Physician which is 15 minutes from my house then drive her all the way to Chicago which is about an hour from my house to see her neurologist. This part is all her dad’s fault, changing insurance blah blah blah. Then finally I think I’m done. Then she will go with her dad and I get 5 days of mommy freedom!

I began writing this to half-heartedly complain about my life. But as I read through each complaint all I see are blessings. Getting through the math lesson: at least I have a job and a goal to work towards. Taking my daughter to get hair done: I have a daughter who is beautiful and a beautician who is magical. LOL. Preparing her for her trip: I have a daughter who has a great relationship with her dad. Trip to 2 doctors: I have a healthy daughter whose health and future was questionable for a point in time some years ago. Quiet time alone: I get the best of both worlds, I get to be a mom, but also get breaks most moms never get.

Perspective my friends…pure perspective 😉

 

Monday Eve

It’s Sunday night and all is well with the world. We are coming up on the final week before spring break. 5 more days and then a much needed, guilt free break from work. Earlier today I was reading the Facebook post of a young man whose welcome back to school video went viral last year. He’s a first year teacher, teaching 5th grade on the West Side of Chicago. He made the cutest rap video introducing himself to his class and welcoming them to school. He may have been a student teacher when he created that video. Anyway, I follow him on FB and enjoy his energy and passion for working with children. Well today’s post from him was about how he found himself in the middle of a mental health crisis and was getting burnt out from his job. Pouring so much into his job and his students, he didn’t realize he wasn’t pouring into himself. He took a temporary break from his job last month but is scheduled to return tomorrow. Anyone reading this post know exactly how difficult it is to be a teacher. The amount of energy we put into others and their well being and needs is grossly underrated with quips of how we get summers off. You also know that it is tough to match the energy and zeal of being a first year teacher. Just think about that…if first year teachers in all their glory are getting burnt out, how in the world do us veteran teachers muster up the energy to do this year in and year out. We have to keep a balanced life for one thing. Teaching is a wonderful job, but you have to have a life too. It is okay to step away from the grade book, the plan book, the whatever academic reading…step away. So to Mr. Reed and my fellow Slicers who have endured great stress in the quest to being that top notch teacher, Happy Monday Eve, t minus 5 days till spring break!

Saturday Shenanigans

Just sitting here watching my friends. Having an impromptu St. Patrick’s Day get together. We have snacks and wine, lots of wine. Anyways, this is a special St. Patrick’s Day. My close friend recently found out that she has Irish lineage. We always knew she was biracial even though she was raised by her dad and mostly her paternal grandmother, aunt and uncle. She never knew her birth mom but reconnected with her about a year or so ago. Her dad is black and her mom is white. She’d been looking for her mom on and off for years. She finally found her mom and was able to talk to her on the phone and get answers to all the questions that have haunted her over the years. Bottom line, mom got pregnant at a young age. As if being a pregnant teenager wasn’t enough, she was pregnant by a black man. That was a no no for this family at that time. Any who, my friend caught up with her mom and had those conversations and even found out medical history and family lineage. Her mom has since married and had a boy and a girl with her husband. They are probably in their 20’s/30’s at this point and time. The sad thing is that this woman never told her husband that 42 years ago she had a baby and gave her up to the father and his family. The mom was actually scared that her daughter (my friend) would disrupt her life and wanted to be sure that this first born child of hers did not resurface to cause confusion in the life she has created. I’m sure my friend was sad at being rejected, yet again by her birth mother. At the same time there was a since of…maybe closure, at knowing her story and how she came to be in the world. So fast forward to March 2018. We are celebrating my friends first year as an Irish woman. So we are here together, with drinks, snacks, and girlfriend conversation. My girlfriend is here, with her Irish princess crown, and St. Paddy’s day t-shirt, and matching socks. We are celebrating my friend today and the side that don’t know how to celebrate her. As I’ve said before, every parent want’s their child to be successful. This poor mom is missing out. My friend is pretty wonderful!

Sometimes you have to just try something in order to be in the game. You can’t just give up, throw the towel in. Everyday can’t be a winner, but it was a day nonetheless. Today for me wasn’t a winner day…but it most certainly wasn’t a loser day either. It was just the type of day where you wake up exhausted, shake off the fatigue and keep it moving. My good friend, who just moved out of town, came home for a visit. Her mom is in the hospital, just had a mastectomy earlier today, and is now in recovery. She put out a text on our friend group chat that she was looking to meet up for drinks. Most of my friends aren’t able to do too many impromptu outings with kids in various activities and hectic work schedules. But I was free, exhausted, but free. So I met up with her for a “my mom’s post op and my husband’s job moved me to east of nowhere and I need friend time right now drink”. So I’m finally home and got in the bed and realized, oh crap! I forgot to blog. I contemplated just going to sleep and double blogging tomorrow. But then I though…nope…not gonna do it! I signed up for a Blog A Day Challenge and dang gummit I’m gonna do it. So needless to say, it’s not one of my most profound writings. My eyes are crossed as I type and doze simultaneously…

So today wasn’t a winner blog post…but it ain’t a loser either. It’s just the type of blog where I got up out of my warm bed into the cold, walked downstairs to get my laptop, brought it back upstairs back to my bed, so I could complete my post. Mission accomplished…good night.

Conferences

Good evening fellow Slicers!

I’m feeling a little more formal right now. I’m still at work, will be here until 8:00 because of parent/teacher conferences. I’m glad to meet with my parents and give them an update on their student’s progress. It feels good to reassure parents that their children will be okay. It also feels good to be able to help and encourage the parents whose children are not okay (but will be with assistance). I feel like a big component of getting parents on board to whatever regimen or intervention you’re hoping to put their children on is to be sure they do not feel judged. Every parent wants their child to be successful. Every parent wants their child to be successful. Their desire for their child to be successful may look different, may even appear non existent, but it is there. Some parents avoid their kids school like the plague. They are intimidated by school, teachers, administrators. They feel like they’ve failed because their kids are failing or misbehaving. They may also feel like the school is trying to label their child which feels like yet another judgement or stigma against them and their family.  Every parent wants their child to be successful; we have to understand that as educators, lead with that as a reminder that we are the liaisons between parents and a system that they don’t always trust. Every parent wants their child to be successful. Now whether they let us help them to achieve success…that’s the million dollar question!

Grateful

Good Evening Slicers!

On top of being a 5th grade teacher, A rookie slicer, I’ve also signed up to take a course on how to be a Certified Positive Educator. The class started tonight from 7 to 9. So I came home, cooked dinner (ordered pizza), chatted with my daughter about her day, then off to class I went. It was pretty cool, except for the fact that it went over by 12 minutes. I feel like this class will help me shift my thinking. Although I am actually a naturally positive person, I feel like lately, the negative has weighed me down more than the positive. That’s a huge shift for me, and I wasn’t digging that so much. So, me being the proactive, glass is half full, let’s solve this problem type of gal, have been actively looking for ways to fight these negative emotions. As with all things, you just can’t take anything for granted. I took my positive demeanor for granted and I wasn’t feeding it and building into it. I took for granted the fact that I had a treasure chest full of silver and didn’t think to polish it. Sure, silver is strong, valuable, and precious, but if you don’t polish it every now and then, it will start to tarnish. I am grateful for this blog that allows me to connect with the side of me I’ve lost for many many years. I am grateful for a home where I unplug and unwind and truly feel peace and calm. Most importantly I am grateful for scoring Beyonce and Jay Z concert tickets for August 10 in Chicago!!!!!!!! Yassssssssssss!!!!!!!!

Life is wonderful Slicers…have a good night! 🙂

Time

My goodness time! It’s either going to slow or going way too fast. When I’m laying down trying to fall asleep and finally accomplish my goal, only to hear that alarm clock  wailing in my ear. Way too fast. However, those lovely PD days, when you are in the rare position of sitting and listening, and listening, and listening to various speakers giving you tips and anecdotes on how to do your job more effectively. I’m sorry, the most engaging speaker…still…too slow. When you’re looking at your curriculum pacing calendar and trying to fit in x amount of lessons so that you can assess before spring break, because you know if you assess afterwards your class will not do as well…too fast. I just spent some time this evening with a close friend who was recently hospitalized. Very strange freak accident where she almost died from sepsis, had a wound that had gotten infected and it quickly became life threatening. Too fast. It’s funny how we all have our time lines on how quickly or slowly we feel things should be completed. When we should accomplish this goal, how long it should take for students to learn this skill, what age we should be when we make that major career accomplishment. My dad used to always sing this song, “May not come when you want Him, but He’ll be there right on time, He’s an on time God, yes he is”. Guess what Slicers…I’m getting my slice done just in time to make the 11:59 EST cut off! Woohoo!!!! 🙂 Just in time.

The Mondays

Okay so the only thing worse than having a case of the sleepy, I took Benadryl last night AND it’s daylight savings time sleepy, draggy, Mondays, is having a class of students who are sooooo not having a case of the Mondays. I was so sleepy, tired, middle age draggy and they were so hyper, loud, pre-adolescence, revved up for no good darn reason! I liken my day to the scene from the Gremlins. You know, the scene where they were at the movie theater, swinging on film reels and throwing popcorn all around. These weren’t the cute cuddly Mogwai, Gizmo type of Gremlins. No ma’am! I had the real deal, full tummy after midnight Gremlins. I had Stripe and all of his cousins, and they came to visit my classroom today. Their visit started at 8:05 a. m. and ended at 2:55 p.m. They came in at a level 10.5 and all I had was a puny level 2.3 at best (and that was after 2 cups of coffee). So what does a teacher do when she’s outnumbered, and overpowered by a group of rambunctious, over sugared, and surprisingly well rested 5th graders? Well, you stay the course of course! You proceed with your day as intended, never show weakness, don’t give in to fatigue. If you show any sign of distress, or weariness, you’re dead in the water! So being the top notch teacher I am, I faked it till I made it. Now in my mind I know this day kicked the ever loving crap out of me. I am tired, I am tired, I. Am. Tired. In my mind I was thinking, “Oh lawd this class has run amuck and I haven’t a mustard seed of energy to reign them in”.

By the time the bell rang, I was stick a fork in me D-O-N-E. But as I looked around my classroom, all was in order. Desktops were cleared off, chairs were pushed in, and desks were neatly aligned in their rows (courtesy of my desk straightener for the week). There was no sign of the tomfoolery and shenanigans that occurred throughout the day. I had survived the second coming of the Gremlins. They had me beat…but that’s just between you and me. No need to let Stripe and the cousins know that 😉

I’m super excited. We just set our clocks forward which means no more going to work and coming home in the dark. Hopefully there will be no more snowy weather. Living in Illinois you don’t even seriously believe that the snowy season is completely over until May. So I will continue to hope for warmer days ahead and maybe my positive thinking will keep the snow away.

Springtime is my favorite time of the year.  Every Easter we would each get an Easter basket full of toys, candy, a coloring book, and a kite. We didn’t really do the Easter bunny, we knew the baskets came from my parents there was no big secret there, but it was fun to get them anyway. My younger brother and I, we would go to the field across the street from our house and fly our kites. I would have some cutesy girly kite and my brother would have a super hero or transformer themed kite. It was such a fun time watching our kites slowly ascend high into the heavens. Once your kite catches a good breeze you’re good as gold. At a certain point you’re not even running with it, more like maneuvering it to maintain it’s height. Just be sure that as you’re flying you don’t grab that string the wrong way because that string burn was the worst!

I could go deep with this and say that flying a kite is symbolic of life and climbing up the ranks to achieve success and what it takes to maintain that success, blah blah blah! I was about to go there and get real fancy with metaphors and symbolism and other fancy schmancy English Lit major kinds of stuff. But the purist in me saves the glitz and glamour for the term papers of spring semesters past. What I really want to say is I miss the springtimes where we had Easter baskets with candy and coloring books and toys. I miss flying kites in the field across the street from the house. Most importantly I miss my little brother.