Saturday, August 27, 2011

ABC's of the First Week of School

A is for Aunt flow--After a 14 month hiatus, she has made her appearance once again.

B is Batman Birthday Cake--Jesse's leftover cake has been my breakfast of champions the past two mornings.  Jackson has been sleeping when I left each morning.  Can we say emotional eating?

C is for copy paper--I was thrilled to discover that we do not have copy numbers at my new school.  We can make "unlimited copies".  Except that there is NEVER copy paper in the copier.  It is locked up in the supply closet that only a handful of people have a key to open.  I went to four different copiers and all of them were out of paper.

D is for Diverse--After working with 98% African American students for the past three years, it doesn't take much to have a more diverse classroom.  The student body is 40% ESL with half of that population being refugees.  I have students from Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, Nigeria, El Salvador, and Cuba.  I love it, though parent communication is certainly more challenging.

E is for Exhausted--I spent many months laying on the couch with Jackson napping on my chest.  I am completely drained after operating on very little sleep, wearing heels, and staying on my feet for 7 hours a day.

F is for Forgetfulness--I left my pump at school but took the horns and other parts home to sterilize on Wednesday, then completely forgot to bring them back on Thursday.  Jesse had to bring them to me before lunch.  I also wasn't paying attention and missed the interstate exit on the way to work yesterday morning.

G is for Great staff--I really enjoy my teammates.  We get along really well and I am impressed with their work ethic.  They don't take shortcuts or do things half-ass, which I really respect.  I'm also excited to have one of my favorite former Irwin teacher across the hall from me.  There is a lot of familiarity and comfort.

H is for Hallway--I feel like I spend the majority of my school day standing in the hallway, waiting for the other 5th grade teachers to change classes.  Of course this is an exaggeration, but seriously, what the hell is the point of making a schedule for when to switch classes if you aren't going to bother looking at a clock?

I is for Independent--Since I have a smaller room I moved my teacher desk to the front of the room and actually sat down while students took a math pre-test on Thursday.  I had them bring me their completed test so I could grade it right away and they read quietly at their desks.  I still plan to walk around and monitor most of the day, but it's nice to be able to actually sit down while they take a test.  I'm trying to teach the kids to be more independent and I do not want to stay so late doing paperwork.

J is for the J-Men--As tired as I am when I come home, my energy suddenly spikes when I get to hold my smiling boy, see pictures from the day, and hear Jesse recount events over dinner.

K is for Karma--Jesse and I went to Denny's for dinner tonight.  Strangers always stop to talk to Jackson every time we go out.  Tonight a middle-aged couple was sitting in the booth behind Jesse.  As they were leaving they talked to Jackson and us.  Suddenly the husband tossed a $20 bill on our table and said, "Well, please have dinner on us."  They walked away before I even processed what happened.  What an amazing random act of kindness!

L is for Late buses--Last year the school where I now work was an early start school.  The school hours changed and there is no procedure in place for students whose buses haven't arrived.  Somehow my classroom because the impromptu late bus room.  I had over 20 students ages pre-K through 5th grade in my room for over an hour past dismissal!

M is for Milk supply--Between going back to work, not staying hydrated, having my cycle return, and not getting in enough pumping sessions my milk supply has nearly diminished.  I had to give Jackson a 2 oz bottle after he nursed because I knew he wasn't getting enough.  Nothing like failing at your child's most basic needs.

N is for Nervous--Words can't even begin to describe my anxiety level the night before school.

O is for Ovulation--It is crazy to think that my body is once again preparing to ovulate and able to conceive again.  As much as Jesse and I want another child, I'm not sure now is the right time to try considering we are unable to function on one income and I am already exhausted and overwhelmed.   

Pumping privacy--Yesterday I had random students knocking at my door trying to come in since their bus wasn't there yet.  I had to stop pumping after just a few minutes because two other teachers were sending them to my back door and the students could see me through the window.  This afternoon the janitor unlocked my door and began vacuuming while I was getting ready to pump after school.  I do not take these repeated interruptions lightly.

Q is for Questions--There was so much miscommunication the past two days!  I'm not sure why procedures aren't set in place for such scenarios.  It seemed like none of my questions were answered.  There is so much to learn with a new school (i.e late bus procedures, two different lunch lines, dismissal during specials, watching announcements on TV, technology failing, etc).

R is for Routine--My new routine consists of waking up at 5:30, nursing Jackson, leaving by 6, and getting to school at 6:30.  This gives me an hour to do preparations before I pump again at 7:30 and the kids arrive at 7:45.  The past two days I've been unable to leave until 5 pm.  I hope this is NOT my routine as I have a much longer commute during rush hour and only get to spend two hours with Jackson.

S is for Specials--Our kids pack up and dismiss from specials (art, music, PE, media, guidance), leaving us the afternoon for our team to plan.  I like having my day end earlier, but it's hard to be productive rather than vent about the day.  (And yes, we already have plenty to vent about these first two days of school.)

T is for Transitions--That word pretty much sums up our life right now, as we are in a constant state of transition.  Specifically, I am having a hard time with the transitions during the school day.  I am so used to having my class of 24 students all to myself.  This constant switching and rotating at random times is difficult to get used to. 

U is for Unemployed--The job search for Jesse is becoming increasingly frustrating and discouraging as each day passes.

V is for Valuables--I do not have any place that locks in my classroom.  There is nowhere secure to put my purse, laptop, or pump.  My classroom was broken into the other night, though nothing was stolen.  We've found used condoms and bullets on the playground, so I'm not too keen on the idea that I have nothing that locks!

W is for Water (or lack thereof)--I do not have a break between 7:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  I don't want to drink much because I will have to use the bathroom.  I feed dehydrated and I know that is not helping my milk supply.

X is for Xylophone--The music teacher's office is directly beside me.  She even has a two-way mirror to see into my room.  She told me she has several orff instruments, xylophones, and keyboards that she needs students to carry for her since she doesn't have a music room and must rotate to each grade level.

Y is for Young money--I let the students at each table come up with their own team name.  I give table points throughout the day and the winning table gets to go to the treasure box each Friday.  Team Young Money won the first week.  My tables last year were so competitive, but the students this year our so sweet.  They want every table to get the same number of points. 

Z is for Zzzzs--I've been asleep by 9 p.m. every night this week.  SO TIRED!


  1. Fantastical (totally a word) update! Crazy how all our cycles started back within a 2 week period. Just an FYI, I had next to no milk for the week mine returned, but now, I'm able to pump in abundance of what J needs.

    I really hope you get things fixed so you can pump at school; that's insane.

    Continued prayers for Jesse's job & your anxiety.

    Love, love, love that the middle aged couple paid for your meal! That happend to us many years (and kids) ago at IHOP. Great memory!

  2. I've been so anxious to know how your first days back went. It sounds like you like the school a lot.

    We used to switch classes like that and it drove me crazy when teachers were late. We finally stopped switching because one teacher was always 10+ minutes late and we were spending sooooo much time in the hallways.

  3. You've had an interesting week! That's so cool that the couple paid for your meal. Praying that Jesse finds something soon! Things sound hectic but I you'll find your routine and things will even out... then you'll have your second child! ;) Love you!