Monthly Archives: April 2018

Your Stuff Doesn’t Matter

The following event occurred last week on a Thursday afternoon between 5:40 and 6:00 P.M.

As I left school by the gym after hours, I observed a young girl rubbing her hand across the front decal of my vehicle. I did a double take and planned to say something to her. The family’s car was parked next to mine. Her father took baseball equipment out of his car for his son. The boy rented his hands and peered into my car’s backseat touching the side rear door as he did so. I was close enough to be within earshot, so I said, “Could you please tell them not to touch my car?” I repeated my request to the father once I had his attention. He said, “He’s only nine years old. He’s not going to steal something.”

“I understand, but could you please ask him not to touch my car?” Whatever remark he made after that was lost because I got into my vehicle, snapped a photograph of his license plate, and drove off. As I drove home, I became emotional because I only wanted respect for my property. I just did not want them to touch or possibly damage it with a buckle, button, or other innocent looking item.

I wanted to say, “Sir, I am just now leaving work two hours after students were dismissed because I was preparing for young people like your son and daughter. I had a student who I mentor stay with me until 4:30. Only after I make sure he gets into his mom or grandma’s car, do I walk back in to finish my other tasks such as responding to emails, making copies, grading papers, tidying my room, and setting up for the next day. You don’t know who you are talking to. Please be respectful to a teacher who is working her butt off. Please show your children how to respond appropriately to a tired little woman alone at the end of the day. Please choose your response with care. I don’t know you from Adam, but please be respectful.”

I will drive my other vehicle and park on the other side of the school for the next few weeks.

RLT

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Robbed Again

I want to report a robbery, but the thief cannot be described to any law enforcement agency. My restful night of sleep has been stolen again. I awakened the other night and completed a review for my language arts students to play before their test on Thursday. Last night I was up writing in my prayer journal, and tonight (right now at 2:17 A.M.), I have finished documentation for some of my students’ learning goals. Always having one more urgent item on my “to do” list robs me of my rest. I don’t help my case by falling asleep on my couch in front of the telly. I awaken and realize that I have to now wash my face, brush my teeth, and dress for sleep. All of these tasks wake me up. The past few nights have nearly brought me to tears with the cruelty of certainty. “It’s 3:15. You are awake!” my triumphant brain shouts. “Now let’s get to work. You still have these tasks to do. You have not written that email. Oh, did you update the website for the week? Parents will be expecting it done first thing Monday morning. Slacker! Why don’t you get things done more efficiently?” As a result, I must carefully keep my tiredness hidden from my students who would exploit any weakness they detect. The LORD has been gracious and given me far more patience than five or so hours of broken rest warrant. I am thankful for that blessing. Now I am tucking the comforter around my frozen little toes since it’s cold outside, signing off, and setting my alarm to awaken me when the coffee maker begins brewing.

RLT

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The Face Behind the Mask

The impervious mask will be back on my face. I will not allow them to see me crying in frustration and despair because they cannot be gone from my life soon enough. The “they” are the children who are so miserable that they spread the misery around acting like ill-mannered brutes in this class. Blessedly, the bell rings to release one teacher from their presence, and then down the hallway with raucous comments and behavior before arriving at the next fortunate teacher. A group of students I have this year are determined that I should experience anguish, frustration, and little joy whenever I interact with them. I don’t know what it was in their past that warped their present reality and personality traits. It must have been traumatic, and I was not responsible for their unhappiness. I suffer behind my mask seething and longing to say a few choice words that would make me feel better in the short run but might prove damaging in the long run. They don’t care about their grades, and they don’t care that my name is next to theirs on the failure list. Their parents seemingly don’t care or know what to do about the grades either, or else my failure rates would be nonexistent. That is not the case, so I don the mask yet another day, take a deep cleansing breath, and steel myself for the day that is to be.

RLT

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