The health app on my iPhone tells me that I walked ten miles– over twenty thousand steps– yesterday, and that is without a single second of anything that I could accurately describe as “exercise.” It was just that busy of a day.
Every so often it hits me just how ridiculous my job can be, right? Thursday, in particular, was like that. On Wednesday evening the sister/cousin(*) of two of our seventh graders, who has been missing for several weeks, was found dead in a field a couple of counties south of here. My understanding is that the man who murdered her turned himself in and led the cops to her body. Thursday morning, as we were putting our heads together and trying to figure out what we should do about that, we had one fifth grade student brought down to the office whose nine year old cousin had just committed suicide the night before. She had just confessed to a teacher that she was thinking about killing herself as well.
Within five minutes of that, we had two fights in two entirely different parts of the building, including one between two kids whose families have literally been feuding since they were in second grade.
Within five minutes of that, the kid who got put up for expulsion for shoving me earlier in the year was back in the office because he blew up at somebody– an event that turned out to legitimately not be his fault, but he claims nothing is ever his fault. On the rare occasions he’s actually telling the truth– which isn’t the case most of the time– we still need to do an investigation to verify it independently.
I tried to home iso him anyway, because generally once he gets his blood up he’s incredibly difficult to calm down even if whatever happened really isn’t his fault. His mom’s response was to tell me that she wasn’t coming to get him, that we should put him in ISS, and that if he messed up in ISS– which everyone involved knew he was going to– we should call the police.
I got to the office around 7:25. By 7:48 AM, my morning was done. Right there. Done. Before 8 AM.
And y’all think I should be worried about test scores?
So. Right. The ridiculousness part. That was my morning. Other stuff happened, but I had enough student issues on my plate before eight in the morning to keep me busy until well after noon. What did I spend the afternoon doing?
Check the picture up there. I spent the afternoon building radio-controlled sharks, learning to fly them, and then teaching 8th graders how to fly them. And worrying about inflatable pools and popsicles. We had our post-ISTEP celebration at the end of the day yesterday, and the theme was “beach party.” And my boss is not the type to do anything half-assed, so there was extensive setup required to get everything right. So there were games and competitions in the gym for a while at the end of the day, and then two dances– one for 5th and 6th graders, one for 7th and 8th, in separate parts of the building.
At the end of the 5th and 6th grade dance, something amazing happened. There were, I dunno, 250-300 kids in the room, and maybe 12-15 adults or so. We cut the music and the adults all raised their hands. That’s all we did. I was looking around while all this was going on, and none of the adults were talking to anyone. The kids all did one of three things:
- Some went to stand next to their teachers;
- Some went and stood against the wall;
- Some went and sat on the bleachers.
But every kid in the gym was moving with purpose and to a destination, and they were all doing so quietly, with none of them being told what to do. We somehow managed to dismiss half the building at the end of a dance on a Friday before a three day weekend, in– well, not silence, but manageable quiet– without talking to the kids.
And then I did a six-hour shift at my other job, which featured my high school co-worker not bothering to show up until an hour and a half after the start of his shift, a visit by a dozen or so special-needs adults, a group that comes by all the time and who I really enjoy having with us but who generally require about three times as much, uh, hospitality as any similar group ought to, and the immense, “well, this may as well happen” fun of having to clean up a pool of what was clearly menstrual blood on one of our picnic benches toward the end of the shift. A pool that no one informed us about, and I only found because I was checking the gameroom.
It’s been a long goddamn couple of days, is what I’m saying.
(*) I’m not being dismissive here; I’ve heard both relationships from people who should know, and I suspect this is a situation where the kids are literally cousins but raised in the same house.