Thursday, December 20, 2012

Some Thoughts...

After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the community of elementary school teachers was shaken up across the country. It was interesting, because no one asked "Would I have died for my kids?"  We didn't need to, because all of us knew that of course we would. 

I was student teaching when the shootings at Columbine occurred. I remember my sadness and sudden knowledge that this job was going to be different from what previous teachers had experienced.

Because that's what we do. We teach, and love, and hug, and adore these kids. And pray constantly that the world will be kind just a little longer. That all those bad experiences will stay away for just one more day: the bullies, the bad grades, the bad friends, the bad school lunches. Everything, big and small. We wish them happy recesses full of friends and games. Math they understand. Pizza for lunch everyday. Of course we know this can't happen. But we dream. And then try to teach them to cope with the ugly parts of the world. 

And now every teacher also prays that the bad guys will stay out and the locks will hold. 

Many people have expressed similar concerns followed by the statement "wouldn't you feel safer if you had a gun in your room?"


I recently had a student with oppositional defiant disorder. They had threatened their parents with weapons. It was all I could do that year to keep that child calm. They stole from my desk and went through my closets daily. The last thing I would have wanted in my classroom is a gun. 

I'm not against people owning guns. But think about this. You as a parent have put safety measures in place so that your children aren't harmed: gun locks, gun safes, separate storage for ammunition. You have probably even educated your children on your gun rules. How can you trust something that important to a stranger like me?  We're not talking about multiplication tables. These are life and death rules. The minute a gun is at school with a teacher there needs to be ground rules. Do you trust they will be the same as yours? Better even?  I work in public education. I don't. 

I don't want a gun in my class. I want pencils and crayons and glue and math books. I want music. I want hugs and hand drawn pictures. I will protect my students. From every little hurt that I can. But I won't be keeping a gun in class. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to School

My last entry was a little more introspective than I usually least out loud. And I've noticed a lot of parents complaining about the back to school hassle. So, to lighten things up, I give you my back to school experience this year.  It involves new carpet, new plumbing, and asbestos. Yup. It's gonna be that kind of an August.

In June, the district told us they would be fixing our plumbing. Almost immediately they discovered asbestos which shut the entire school down until this week. Health and safety required that all fabrics in the room be thrown out. So, good news! I have new carpet! But because every silver lining has a cloud, that means all the cleaning I did at the end of May was undone by a bunch of construction workers going through every closet and cupboard.  My beautifully arranged classroom is now a heap of furniture in the middle of the room. (Everything has to be 3 feet from the walls while they work on replacing baseboards.)

By the way, I now have one extra file cabinet and two office chairs. Takers? Anyone?

And all those big strong workers and their hand truck, that moved my file cabinets in minutes? Busy. Doing silly things like making sure the school can open in 3 weeks.

So my job tomorrow is to move/find the following:

My desk
30 student desks and chairs
My computer (and please, please, please let all the cords be there)
Two full file cabinets
Four book cases and all their books
My sanity.

Maybe expecting sanity is too much. I should hope all the surge protectors are there and call it a victory.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Two years later...

I admire people who blog regularly. People who record their weight loss or videos of their kids. I have neither of those things to post. And my life has been fairly boring since my last post. I teach, I read, in between I watch Doctor Who and daydream.

But today was a difficult day. And I found myself alone with my thoughts and I was in tears.  The people around me wanted to help but it's difficult for them. And I didn't have the words. Today was hard. Today, I felt rejection and with that, I began questioning my worth. 

As a single in the Mormon church you're constantly surrounded by the message to "get married!!!" When you're my age the message changes to "what's wrong with you? why aren't you married?". And I have always wanted a family. Lots of children. A fun, warm home, like I had. So, it's an old and painful wound, the fact that I don't have a family of my own.
Usually, I work my way day to day and ignore both questions. They are usually asked by people who were married very young and never experienced dating after college.  They don't realize that at 38 you ask yourself "what's wrong with me?" every day,  Every time your date doesn't call back.  Every time you check your LDSSingles account. You ask those questions. 

Today I was asking myself these questions more than usual because I really liked the guy who didn't call back. It's been three weeks and hope dies a slow painful death. You can't help but ask, why? What's wrong with me?
You start looking at your weight, the grey in your hair, the laughlines around your eyes, the sound of your voice, the sound of your laugh. You start second guessing every word you said.  It's human nature I guess. We always think the fault lies in ourselves. I never once thought, what's wrong with him that he didn't see how fantastic I am? Isn't that a better question?

But, after a good cry and a long conversation with my Father in Heaven, I realized something. This is not how Heavenly Father wants me to live.  Yes, families are important. Families are forever. But, I can't worry about that at the expense of my of self worth. I'm a good person who deserves good things.  Being single in the LDS church can be painful. But you need to learn to celebrate the family you do have, your sisters and brothers and parents and cousins, rather than mourn the one you don't have. It's a matter of keeping the glass half full. More than half full because I have a fantastic and large and loving family. 

So, I'm going to focus on the positive. Yes, I have grey in my hair. That's my cue to go a little more ginger. I have laugh lines and worry lines. I would be afraid of any teacher who didn't have them. I am a beautiful person. I may never marry but I refuse to let myself feel less than I am because of it.
I will remember who I am.  I'm a child of God.

The question is, what's wrong with them?