I’ve been out of my building for a good piece of last week and nearly all of this week, and won’t be around much next week either, as my traveling band of merry People Who Share My Job move around from building to building doing Important Things What Need to Be Done. Last week we were at a couple of middle schools and I was back at my home school by late afternoon. The high schools have been this week, and after seeing how yesterday went (at my alma mater, no less) I emailed my boss and told her not to expect to see me at all for the rest of this week.
Well, today’s tasks went by fast, and I was out of the high school by just after noon, and so I had this weird hour and a half or so where I kept going back and forth on well, I told her not to expect me to come in at all, and it’s not like she’s going to be looking for me to the rather more conscientious dammit you know good and well you’re supposed to be at work until four and it’s 1:30. Take your ass back to work like you know you’re supposed to.
I took a long lunch and the high school is on the other side of town so I threw some drive time in there. At any rate, I was back in my building for the last couple of hours of the day.
Let me back up.
The next couple of days are going to be interesting. Tomorrow we are going to be at the high school that most of my kids from my previous school– the one I quit at mid-year– usually end up. I will know a lot of those kids, or at least will remember their names, but honestly there won’t be many of them who have any particular reason to come see me. On Friday, I will be at the high school where most of my kids from my first school in this area are at, and I’m probably going to know half of the senior class and a sprinkling of the younger kids. So I’m kind of looking forward to Friday.
Today I saw exactly two kids who I remembered. One of them was a young lady who I know I’ve written about once or twice (he said, after spending fifteen minutes looking for the post) who I basically helped out at exactly the right moment once and have received endless and frankly ridiculous levels of gratitude ever since. She’s a really sweet kid, but she was never actually in my class, and when it comes right down to it I don’t actually know her all that well, but that didn’t stop her from running right over to me and giving me a big hug and saying hi and being really surprised that I remembered her name. Her first name, at least; I admit I blanked on her last name.
The other kid I saw? Remember Jihad? Yeah. He either didn’t recognize me or pretended not to, and I’m fine with either choice; honestly, I’m amazed that he’s still in school and not, say, in jail, or dead. He appears to not have changed much other than that he’s covered his hands in gang tattoos (from gangs he does not, I suspect, actually belong to, as he appeared to have tattoos from rival gangs on opposite hands, which is perfectly in line with the shithead poser he was in middle school) and he’s grown a beard. He managed to be literally the only discipline problem we’ve had at this particular thing we’re doing, and that’s across, so far, four schools and probably somewhere in the neighborhood of four thousand students. Which is entirely unsurprising.
But! Let’s stay positive; he hasn’t dropped out yet, no doubt because his parents won’t let him.
I didn’t want to go back to my home school because frankly the place has been stressing me the fuck out lately. I’ve talked about this a bit, I think: the more knucklehead-inclined among our student body have been taking advantage of the fact that none of the teachers, myself included, really know many of the kids yet, and it’s led to what I will gently refer to as some disciplinary challenges, along with the somewhat expected cohort of, ah, territorial disputes among some of our kids who were previously at other, competing schools. And parts of town.
I have two choices, and I know what the right one is: I can hide out in my classroom/office and not come out during passing periods and during times when I can tell from inside said classroom/office that some sort of shit is going on, because coming out is guaranteed, fucking guaranteed, to lead to something fucking stressful happening. Or I can be an adult in my building– my fucking building, whether I like it or not– and go do something about shit and control the kids, despite the fact that a fair proportion of the time that’s gonna lead to me having some shit to worry about that is not specifically within my lane, so to speak.
I walked into the office after dragging myself into the building and within three minutes had six extra things to do, and then hauled a box of stuff up the stairs at the counselor’s request to deliver it to the teacher next to my office. And then I had the delightful challenge of trying to figure out whether I couldn’t breathe because I am fat and old and have effectively lived a lifestyle completely free of climbing stairs for two years and was therefore slightly out of breath, or if I was having a fucking panic attack.
We are not fucking doing this again, and we are sure as shit not doing it in fucking August. No. Not doing it. Period. I haven’t had a panic attack in years and we are not. doing. this. shit. again.
I got over it. I think I was just out of breath. But I got over it.
The weird thing is, by the end of the day, despite having thrown myself into the shit with every available opportunity, because I made the correct decision and did not hide out in my room like an asshole, I was in a good mood. And today was a good day. And did I stay in my lane? No, I did not. And did I do my damnedest to make my building a place where one might want to go to receive an education? Yeah, I did.
I’m gonna focus on the small victories this year, I think.