Ode to School Days

In honor of the beginning of school, I thought I would tell al tale of mystery and wonder from my old teaching days.  Enjoy:

I have a little bit of a problem with food.  That is a mammoth understatement, but hey let’s pretend it is little.  Anyway, my first year teaching I found to be incredibly stressful.  Having 20 kids being all needy and talking at you all day is exhausting.  They never leave you alone, and in addition you are supposed to actually teach them something!

I soon found myself drained of energy and generally grumpy all the time.  So I self medicated with chocolate, mostly, but I also had my way with a bunch of other food that was crappy for me as well.  During school hours though, Hershey’s Kisses were my drug of choice.

This was all well and good in the sense that it got me through the day.  The kids would irritate me, I would go over and toss down a few chocolatey bites, and the day went on.  It didn’t take long for it to catch up with me.  I soon found that much of my clothing was rather uncomfortably tight, and my ass seemed to not want to fit into any of my pants.

The problem was compounded because I was a teacher, and I wasn’t exactly raking it in money wise.  Between student loans, supporting my chocolate habit, and insisting on having cable television, there wasn’t much money to spare.  So I continued to hold my breath and mash myself into those pants figuring that someday I would replace them.  That day was just not today.

And then it happened.  One of those little kids had a problem and I lumbered over to help.  Seven year olds are vertically challenged, so I had to squat down to help the kid out.  And ploof!  I blew out the rear end of my pants completely.  There was no covering this up, my ass had made a dash for freedom from the constraints of that all too tight fabric prison.

Shame overwhelmed me.  Then I quickly moved on the blame.  If those damn chocolates hadn’t jumped into my mouth I would not have the air conditioned butt from which I was currently suffering.  I slowly inched my way tail first into the hall to get the teacher next door.  We quickly ass-essed the situation and decided she would watch both classes while I went to try to sew up my pants.

That is how I found myself sitting alone in the locked principal’s office with no pants on.  It is truly humiliating to sit in your Fruit of the Looms while frantically stitching up your pants with your emergency sewing kit, stolen from some random Vegas hotel when you turned 21.  I stitched like a mad woman until I had created something of a meandering, lumpy seam running up the back of my pants.  Now they were even tighter, but I determinedly shoved my plump butt into them.

I sucked it up, literally and figuratively the rest of the day.  And yes, as soon as school let out I found my way to the nearest discount store to buy some bigger pants.

Ch-Ch-Changing

Something strange is happening.  For the first time in 30 years I am not starting back at school.  This week all the other teachers must report back for duty.  I am no longer one of them.   

I have been starting school in August since I was five.  College and grad school followed and then I began teaching.  And now that chapter is finished.  I am a civilian, and I feel lost.

There is something so bizarre about not opening up a dusty, hot classroom.  There is no need to go buy any new school clothes or supplies.  I have had no panic over how on earth I would get everything done before the children show up.  No dreams about teaching wake me up in a cold sweat of fear and anticipation.

How odd.

Instead I sit and write.  Every morning I get up and pluck away at my keyboard.  Mostly I write crap.  Hopefully if I write enough drivel something worth reading will eventually emerge.  I read and I listen to pod casts.  I stalk experts online trying to glean some secret that I can put into practice to become better at the craft.

But really I am just trying.  That is it, just trying.  I am trying to become something new, a writer.  I am trying to do something that I always dreamed of, but never thought I would be any good at doing.  I am taking a leap.  Making a change.  Trying to become better at something that scares the living daylight out of me.  I never knew one could feel so incredibly vulnerable, yet so excited and passionate at the same time.  I don’t know if I will ever publish anything, but at least I can say that I tried.

After 30 years of school I am changing, and it is scary as hell.

Excuses

As a teacher a hear A LOT of excuses.  So many of them I hear year after year, day after day.  My mom didn’t do my homework.  My mom lost my homework.  I didn’t know we had homework.  What is this homework of which you speak?  My mom did my homework, but then she lost it.  My homework was in my bag but now it is lost.

Sometimes I get fun excuses about why kids don’t come to school as well.  My alarm didn’t go off.  My mom’s alarm didn’t go off.   I do not even know what an alarm is.  Dad took me to see Star Wars and then pumped me full of sugar.  My baby sister kept me up last night so my mom let me sleep in.  My mom is not a morning person.  School starts too early.  I was up late last night while my mom picked the lice out of my hair.

Today I heard a new one though.  One of my student’s siblings came to relay a message to me on the whereabouts of her brother:

Dennis was diarrhea yesterday so he is not at school today.

It is true that this particular kid can be a little shit, but alas I am pretty sure he hasn’t turned into a liquid pile of pooh.  Now you may be thinking how adorable that a younger sibling would try to fill me in on the situation.  Unfortunately though, this sibling is three years older than my student.  Yeah! THREE YEARS!

I fear for our future.

Thank You For Your Service

Dear Veterans,

You have the toughest job on earth.

Sometimes I like to think I have suffered in the line of duty as a teacher, like when last Friday I found myself under a cafeteria table desperately tugging at the damp shoelace of a seven year old that had gotten stuck between the metal of a table leg.  After much frustration and some mental cursing I managed to free the little guy, yes I had won that battle.

All was well and I was feeling rather like a winner until later when I ran my fingers through my hair.  And they snagged.  On goo.  Dried goo.  Goo that had congealed into a massive rat’s nest of miscellaneous cafeteria floor fluids.  Defeated I went home that night to actually follow the shampoo bottle directions as I washed, rinsed, and did indeed…repeat.

So not that it is a surprise, but let it be know that I could never do what you have all in the line of duty.  You have raced into battle, guns blazing while never leaving a man behind.  Some of you have even suffered the terrors of Prisoner of War Camps, surviving horrific torture.

I on the other hand nearly water-boarded myself in the bathtub today.  I was merely trying to self-medicate myself for a tension headache caused by a few rowdy students by taking a hot bath.  As I soaked I placed a damp rag over my face to block out the light and steep.  Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the actual dampness level of the towel.  I soon realized that it was well beyond damp when I began to choke and sputter as I breathed in bath water.  It sort of ruins the relaxation process when you inhale your people-tea bathtub water.

Anyway, thank you Veterans for being tougher than me, and providing us the freedom to get coated in cafeteria goo and water-board ourselves.

Love,

Kelly