I know I have been a tad angry recently. Ok, maybe more than a tad...maybe fairly angry is more accurate. Ok, ok, you're right...it's more like ragingly pissed. Yea. That's more like it. I realized just how angry I was the other night as I cried about my job while making dinner (and then quickly feigned that my tears were about the onion I had been chopping- can't let a crack show in my oh-so-fabulous exterior, now can I?)
I'm guessing that you've been able to pick up on my anger in my more recent posts. After all, I've never been one to feel or do anything subtly...just ask Mr. Mimi. (Love you, honey!)
Just in case you couldn't pick up on my seething irritation, I will give you an example. (I know, you're thinking "lucky me", right?)
Let's look at my week last week, shall we? On Wednesday, I definitely had a "crying over onions" kind of day. That morning, I had a meeting with the infamous Bacon Hunter, in which we discussed the ridiculously useless tests she forces us to give our students yet oddly refuses to allow us to correct, opting instead to uncharacteristically do it herself, yet then totally in character, give us the results two months later when the "data" is even more irrelevant than it was to begin with. So we were enjoying a wonderfully productive chat about that when she brought up this irritating little gem:
BH: (eyes only half open, face a mere inch or so from actually lying on her notebook) So, when can you get me the tests?
Me: I think by next Friday.
BH: Well, it's up to you, but I need to know exactly what day you will get them to me.
Me: Uh, by next Friday.
BH: But what day? I need to know so that I can email all the teachers of children I meet with that day and cancel.
BH: Well, I can't exactly meet with children when I have all that paperwork to do...
Uh, what?? When the Bacon Hunter has actual paperwork to do, she gets to cancel working with children in order to finish said paperwork between the hours of 8 and 3? So she can do what? Resume her hunt for bacon?? But when an actual TEACHER has, I don't know, say twenty math tests, twenty report cards, twenty writing rubrics or twenty reading assessments to do, we have to DO IT ALL while simultaneously managing to teach a full day....
But that my friends, was just the tip of the Iceberg of Bullshit.
Just a few minutes after our meeting, I was (gasp!) working with my students when three big, loud, strange plumbers walked into the classroom (without knocking, making eye contact or asking) and sauntered to the back of my classroom. They proceeded to turn the faucets on and off and use what we refer to as "outside voices". Clearly, twenty sets of eyes were riveted to these intruders (rather than to our shared story) as one of them (seriously) answered his cell phone and began to have what was clearly a personal conversation.
Knowing it is wise to choose my battles, I told the few who were despereately trying to maintain focus to just turn around and watch. Upon noticing all the little eyes staring holes through his back, the most offensive offender turned and said, "Lady, I'm just trying to do my job."
Yes, me too, my man, me too.
After lunch, the same three men returned to my classroom (again, without knocking, making eye contact or asking) to change a light bulb, which necessitated them standing on a desk. While a child was working. At the desk.
It was at this point that I started chanting "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job" in my head.
As we were packing up to go home (finally, the end of this ridiculous day was in sight!), our end-of-the-day routine is rudely interrupted by the flippin' phone. Relinquishing my tenuous hold on their behavior, I reluctantly went to answer the phone. The security guard at the front desk demanded that I send down one of my friends packed up to go home.
"But we're leaving in seven minutes," I said.
"I don't care if you're on the way out the door; her mother doesn't want to wait," replied my not-so-polite co-worker.
"This is ridiculous, we're in the middle of packing up. She isn't ready. We'll be down in five."
"Her mother says she wants her daughter now. She's sick of waiting for YOU to be ready."
Deep breaths. I love my job, I love my job, I love my job?
I bring my friends downstairs, say goodbye and head to office to check my mail, thinking the worst is behind me. As I enter the office, a familiar bark comes my way.
"Mrs. Mimi!" barks our secretary.
"Are you going to pick up your pay stub or do I have to send you a personal invitation?"
"Your pay stub. Duh! It's been ready since 1:00 and you still haven't picked it up."
(Did she just say "duh" to me?) "Um, well, I've been teaching since 1:00. So, no, I haven't picked it up yet."
"Then why you just standin there? You think I gots all day?"
No, I think you "gots" some major issues with simple grammar and a huge attitude.
So, yea. That was my day on Wednesday. My anger spilled over into Thursday, and Friday as the pointless interruptions and unwarranted attitudes continued to fly.
You can imagine what went through my head when The Weave popped into my room on Friday morning to hang for our morning meeting. (Well, you're going to need to imagine it, because even I wouldn't have the cajones to put that kind of foul language into print.)
At the end of the day, I skanked into the office in an attempt to avoid the bullet-like commentary of our barking secretary and found a note from The Weave in my mailbox.
I read the note on my way back up to my classroom. I was so shocked by what it said, that I almost walked straight into my locked classroom door.
She gave me a compliment.
Wait! Not ONE compliment, MANY compliments. About my lesson, it's tone, my classroom and my interactions with the children. Hold on, let me read this again, that can't be right.
But it is, I have received an actual compliment. I feel strange, and unsure of how to take this new sort of interaction. Should I trust it? Is it a trick? Is her note missing a page filled with other scathing remarks?
Yes, there is more. There's feedback. Actual constructive commentary that might help me improve my work with kids.
Addicted to the odd display of positivity and promise, I quickly read her feedback. It read, "During your morning meeting, you reviewed some strategies for addition problems with your class. Your kids had great ideas. Perhaps you could chart those ideas and post them somewhere in your room. Better yet, maybe you could somehow credit each child with the strategy they shared. Here's an example." And she sketches what this chart might look like, followed by a big smiley face.
Great idea, right?
It would have been, if she hadn't been sitting in front of the EXACT SAME CHART as she was observing our morning routine. Yea, we made one. And displayed it. And she sat right in front of it. Seriously, like two feet away.
(sigh). Her heart was in the right place, I guess. Now as for her keen powers of observation, we'll have to save those for another day. Baby steps, people.
In the name of not crying over onions anymore, I'll take it.