Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Going to Be a LONG Year!

We have officially been in school for a month now.  I haven't written anything about it because I can't stand work right now.  My job is exhausting in every capacity.  I question daily how I will keep my sanity until June with this group of fifth graders.  I knew when I accepted the offer last year that it was an especially challenging school, but this group is ridiculous.  Here are some stories from the first month of school:

--Throughout my five years of teaching in Title I schools, students have always brought KoolAid, Fun Dip, and other sugar in plastic bags.  Most of my kids refer to it as "Happy Crack" since it looks like cocaine.  Several students have taken it to a whole new level this year by distributing and selling Happy Crack.  After the principal investigated the situation, several students' roles were revealed as the "runners", "holders", and "watchers" (all of which are drug terms).  We had an emergency grade level meeting after a middle school student in a neighboring county became ill from unknowingly eating Happy Crack that was mixed with bath salts.  As far as we know, our kids are just selling sugar, but we have to take the matter seriously. 

--One of the distributors of Happy Crack lives in a foster home.  Her case worker had to come to school and the police officer kept talking to the student in front of the woman as if it were her mother.  The student was getting increasingly agitated with the officer talking about her "mom".  The student's mother is in jail from drug use.  Go figure...

--One of my girls was crying during math and asked to speak to me privately.  She revealed that the whole grade is spreading rumors that her father rapes her.  Sure enough, my teammate intercepted a note by a boy in his math class that said, "Did you hear about [her name]?  I bet she likes having her dad's dick in her pussy."  (Only the note wasn't spelled correctly, of course.)

--I have had four new students in the last three weeks.  One of my new students has strange emotional outbursts.  I never know what triggers it, but he'll get angry and upset to the point of crying and shaking in the corner with his fists balled up.  I've called his mother about it and she told me to ignore it and he's just trying to get attention.  (Strange, right?)  Thursday afternoon he had another episode and kept punching the wall and cubbies.  I got my phone out to call his mother and he started growling and sobbing.  I walked him to the counselor's office.  He had a severe panic panic attack when I gave him the phone and was literally choking and gasping for air.  It turns out he's being abused.  The counselor is legally obligated to report it to DSS.  She will also pull him for weekly counseling sessions.

--Another new student showed up on my roster.  His behavior was unsettling the first week of school.  I gave the students a writing prompt to think about someone they considered as a role model and to write a paragraph about that person.  He refused.  The social worker later informed me that he and his mother fled from an abusive home as soon as a spot opened at the local shelter.  They left their home in another county in the middle of the night and arrived in my classroom the following day.

--An unmedicated kid with diagnosed ADHD was making fun of a very overweight kid.  The overweight child has mental health issues and is dangerous.  He flipped on the kid.  He pinned him to the ground, put him in a choke hold, and punched his head over and over.  Despite screaming, blowing the whistle, and using all my strength to remove the overweight boy, I could not break up the fight.  No serious injuries occurred.  Both boys were suspended.

--We learned on Friday about a handful of boys that are starting a gang at school.  The boys huddle together behind a fence during recess and try to beat each other up during recess.  Our recess area is actually a community park.  Fifth grade uses two full size baseball fields.  It looks like the boys are playing tackle football. When we go up to check on them, they tell us they were playing rough and break it up.  In reality, the boys are volunteering to be beaten as their "initiation" into the gang. 

--The PTA passed out fundraising packets.  I normally only have a few kids who sell anything at all.  After turning in the order form, one of my kids asked if she could get it back.  I told her they had been turned in and asked what she needed.  She said, "My neighbor ordered two items but the police just took him to jail and my momma doesn't want to pay for him."

--One student has been caught stealing from the "treasure box" twice and the snack box once.  He rides a late bus, which happens to meet in my classroom after school.  He tries to hang back in the classroom when I drop the other students off for dismissal.  (I don't have anything in my room that locks, or I would lock the items up.

--Three of my homeroom students are identified as homeless.  They receive a brown paper bag filled with snacks in the afternoon (peanut butter crackers, applesauce, etc).  The social worker places their bags on my desk and the students know to get them at the end of the day.  I caught a different student stealing fruit snacks from their snack bags.

--We had a real lockdown a few weeks ago.  I knew it was real because we hadn't gone over lockdown procedures during the staff meeting yet so I knew they wouldn't do a drill.  (I later found out there was an armed black male with tattoos wandering around the park.)  The kids all have to go behind my desk and cram in the corner of the classroom away from the doors and cubbies.  My worst behavior problem kept saying, "I got a fart.  Can I let it out?  It's right between my butt cheeks."  This made my immature kids laugh and my mature students irritated.  The principal was walking down the hall, heard the kids, and unlocked the door to tell my class, "The police have called to put us on lockdown.  We are taking care of things, but you must be quiet!" 

--One of my students was clearly very sick.  He is generally loud and rambunctious.  He had his hoodie up and kept falling asleep in class.  He said he was cold, yet he was sweating.  I sent him to the nurse.  He had a "very high fever" and wasn't even allowed back in the classroom to get his bookbag.  His mom picked him up, but sent him to school the next two days, even though he obviously had the flu.  He would walk in the classroom in the morning and lay down on the rug.  I kept sending him right back to the nurse, who sent him home.

How am I supposed to focus on curriculum when my kids are more worried about food, sleep, safety, and gossip?  One day at a time...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Surgery was two weeks ago.  The bruise from my IV has finally faded.  There is no longer any physical trace of pain, which infuriates me.  I want a hideous, visible sign so that my exterior matches my mind and heart.  I have not healed.  Not yet...      

I had my follow up appointment with the OB this afternoon.  The plan is to wait for my cycle to naturally begin, take Clomid, have blood work for progesterone checks, and hopefully begin trying to conceive again with the following cycle. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New & Improved

If I was a good blogger, this post would be three different posts with narratives about each event.  Unfortunately for any readers, my heart is not exactly in blogging, or school, or much of anything else for that matter. are the major updates that have taken place during the past two weeks:
1. New landscaping
We finally succumbed to paying a "professional" to remove the holly bushes.  (I use the term professional very loosely as he was teaching his preteen son a lesson and insisted the son do part of the job.  The man came on Sunday, rather than Saturday when we scheduled him to come.)  Jesse took up the patio and planted small flowers in its place.  We re-mulched the planter areas and moved the furniture on the porch.
2. New phone
I have had the same phone with Verizon for nearly three years.  The phone shut off in the middle of calls and texts.  After many hours at Best Buy, UPS, and AT&T, I finally own a working "ice cream sandwich" android.  Welcome to 2012.

3. New car
Jesse decided to trade in his 2010 Scion for a 2012 Prius.  He spent most of the afternoon at the Toyota dealership trying to work out a deal.  Since he totaled his Scion last year, the dealership isn't able to resell the car.  They also requested Jesse put money down, which wasn't an option for us. His payment increased by $20 a month, but he should save double that on gas. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Jack Update: Still Goofy

I seriously love Jackson's personality.  I couldn't ask for a funnier, happier, more care-free child.  Here are what I can only imagine Jackson's thoughts during our weekend outtakes:

"Spoons are for people with no appetite."

"Why can't I live outside with the cat?"

"Bring me a mirror so I can admire myself."

"Catch me if you can!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Working Hard This Labor Day

The boys spent their day off laboring over our dreaded holly bush.  Jesse used a hatchet, pick axe, and shovel to try and dig the roots out of the ground.  The sucker would not budge!

Jackson was in charge of hauling the wheelbarrow around.

Hours later, we've decided to call a professional to have it removed!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Silent and Alone

Over the past two months, a forlorn silence has preceded life changing moments.  Waking up with intense nausea was my clue to take a pregnancy test on a quiet August morning.  I waited alone in the bathroom and watched with awe as two pink lines quickly appeared.  I ran downstairs to show Jesse.  He stared quietly at the positive test in disbelief.  We had waited ten months for this moment.

Fast forward to the 8 week ultrasound where I awaited the precious flicker of my baby's heartbeat, the baby whom I had loved, prayed for, and spoken to continuously. The eerie silence of the ultrasound technician said a thousand words.  Quiet tears evolved into hysteria as the doctor informed me of my options to end my "non-viable pregnancy". 

Days later landed me on an operating table where I was prepped for a D&C.  The overstimulating hospital lights, sounds, and sensations were all suppressed as I entered an unconscious state.  Waking up with the familiar feeling of having given birth (contracting uterus, cramping, bleeding, exhaustion) without the joy of holding a baby made it difficult to breathe. 

And here I sit with a heavy heart, forsaken.  Waiting for the burden to lift.  Waiting for peace to come.  Waiting for a new reality.  Waiting in silent turmoil...