What a day

giphyI had to be up at what will soon be Regular Time but for today was Two Damn Hours Early this morning, in order to drive across town to drop my son off at day care before driving back across town to go to a conference.  Which had precisely one (1) useful session out of the five that I attended before bailing early with the usual complement of complaints about how these horrible things always go.  Today’s highlight was the first session of the day after the keynote, where the guy began apologizing for having had a “long week” immediately when the first people walked into the room and did not stop apologizing until five minutes after the session was supposed to have begun, at which point he provided us with perhaps fifteen minutes of material in what was supposed to be a 45-minute session and then declared that he was glad that he’d been able to “stretch that out so long.”  The other fucker was an elbow-partner fucker, which is when the presenter for a session decides that the people attending his session to hear him provide his expertise on a topic would rather talk to the people next to them who they don’t know and were presumably also seeking, rather than possessing, said expertise.

Be aware that they could have pointed at me and said “You.  Head this session.” at any exact moment and I would have been able to fill 45 minutes with no preparation at all.  I’m a vet, motherfuckers, and really any teacher ought to be able to fill a time slot that short.  This is Goddamned ridiculous and I was about to type something about how I can’t believe how terrible these always are and how they are always terrible in the exact same way except really by now I shouldn’t be surprised any longer.

The one session that was good was great, though, and provided me with all sorts of useful information for next year.  I will be using stuff that this guy suggested we do.  Lots of it.

Welcome back, I guess.

On a positive note, I had several instances of people saying really kind things to me over the course of the conference, including the principal of the school letting it drop that he had been about to call me for an interview when the principal who ended up actually hiring me actually forbade him to do so, because she wanted me– which I feel like I could justifiably be angry about but I’m going to choose to be entertained by instead.  I randomly ran into the mother of a kid I had in both 6th and 8th grade, a kid who is entering college (yay!) next year, who was all kinds of excited to see me and told me that her entire family generally believes me to be the best teacher her kid ever had.

Which is fucking humbling.

I also ran into two former students today, one who was actually in my class that I ran into at the grocery (and recognized me first, and didn’t run away, and gave me a hug instead) and another who I didn’t actually have but who sat with me at lunch and when I asked him “how high school has been going” (he’s an incoming senior) proceeded to begin with first semester of his freshman year and tell me every class he’s taken and every grade he’s gotten.

On the plus side, he’s doing great, and this is a kid who just kind of makes everyone around him root for him to succeed, and on the negative side, I forgot that you never ask an autistic kid– or at least a kid with his particular stripe of autism– a wide-open question like that unless you’re prepared to get the entire answer.

So, yeah.  Despite the first half of this piece, it was in general a pretty good day.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

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