Saturday, May 31, 2008

The End

Yesterday was the last day of school and my last day at the jr. high. I woke up glad that it would be the end of a very long and stressful year and I just knew that I would be happy to walk away and never look back. Because really? I did not enjoy my time there. It was a very negative job mostly just the nature of the job. In a typical day I spent it reprimanding more than anything else-
"Get to class, don't be tardy, why are you still in the hall? The bell rang 5 minutes ago, You need to be in the lunchroom or outside-not in the hall, do you have a hall pass, let's go visit with the principal, stop banging on the vending machine, no you may not go to _____, Please explain the rule about ________ to me, shut the door, no running in the halls......" Repeat these phrases at least 50 times each and every day all day long for 180 days.

In between that, I had to check the attendance reports and notice any excessive unexcused abscences and call parents to discuss the problem. Parents that really don't care where or what there kids are doing as long as the kid is not where the parents are. Parents that make up any excuse they can in order to not take responsibility for their child. Parents that make up any excuse so that their child does not have to take responsibility for their own actions. Parents that have taught their children to say ,"it's not fair, it's because I am brown/black/poor/have red hair/am a girl/choose your adjective", or "but so and so was______".

Then I had to send home truancy notices or recommend students for truancy school or court and then deal with parents that felt that their child should be allowed to miss 112 periods of school because ___________. Or deal with the new woman over at the district office that felt that with the counselors calling the child down to discuss attendance, me calling home and sending letters home and also talking to parents as well as students about the issue, we were not trying hard enough. She called me at least once a week to tell me I was not doing my job well enough.

Catching students sluffing and taking them to the office. Being called to classrooms to take unruly students to the office. Oh, did I mention the first aid? I was first responder at the school. What about the time the boys were throwing around a metal broom handle they found and one of them "caught" it with his head. It took me 15 minutes to get it to stop bleeding and he ended up with 13 stitches. Took the custodians about 30 minutes to get the blood cleaned up. If I had had a proper first aid kit that had something besides 26 latex gloves and 32 assorted bandaids and one roll of adhesive tape that was as old as me, it would have been better.

What about the time we had a student having an emotional breakdown because her depression meds were not working and she didn't feel well and she had a test to take that she was unprepared for. I heard her in the bathroom sobbing her heart out. I had no office, just a desk in the back of a classroom, so we did a mini counseling session in the bathroom.

Did I mention that I didn't get a lunch break? No, well I didn't. I had to eat whatever, whenever.

Day after day after day after day. No matter how good I felt of how happy I was when I got to school, by the time second lunch was over I could feel my spine compressing and I had a tremendous headache and just wanted to go home and lay down. Needless to say only the very urgent house work got done when I got home.

I was very excited to see the end of school tomorrow. Excited to turn in my laptop. Turn off the lights in my room, shut and lock the door. Excited to turn in my radio and my keys and go to the faculty luncheon and go home.

Except I wasn't. You see, in the last two years I have made some friends and joined a family of people that I am going to miss more than I thought I would. I was ok while we were eating. I was great when it was announced that I got 3rd place in the biggest loser contest. (Yay me!!) I was even fine when the principal started his acknowledgment of those that were not coming back next year. He called me up and gave me my card. I managed to be sorta flippant when asked about plans for next year. You see, I wasn't going to cry. Why would I? I no longer cared.

Then he called Lindsey up. She was my first friend at the school last year. She co-taught 4-H with me (what would I have ever done without her? I have no idea). She is my hero. I cried because I am going to miss her. But it will be ok because I can see her on her blog. Love you Lindsey.

Then it was time to go. I hugged Lindsey, told her goodby and turned to leave. I planned on quietly going. But then the principal called me over so he could say goodby. I started crying again. He did tell me that he would come visit me because his daughter will be attending the high school where I will be. (just a side note, his sister-in-law grew up in the same town as I did, small world)

So even though I hated my job and am looking forward to a positive one, I guess after all was said and done, I cared afterall.


Karlene said...

You care because you are a good person. And even though you complained about those juvenile delinquents, I know you felt great joy when you realized you made a difference in their lives. And I bet you touched and changed more students' lives than you realize.

Josi said...

My dad was a teacher for 18 years--a great teacher that the students love. He went back to school and became a principal, thinking that his repore with students would make it a perfect job. It wasn't even close. He spent the days doing what you describe here--discipline, parents, swimming in negativity. After 10 years of trying to make it work, he went back to teaching and is once again a student favorite. I think on 'last days' we find ourselves swimming in all the good times, which might not have been much but feels like a lot right then. Best of luck finding something more positive.