prodigal schoolgirl.


I’m back.

Part of my problem, aside from my inability to not create outrageous and impossible expectations for others’ behavior, is my hormones. If I can figure out how to let go of expecting things others cannot/will not deliver on AND get my monthly hormones into balance, I’m 100% certain I will be just fine and dandy. Is there a pill for THAT Big Pharma? I’ll buy it, if you sell it over the counter.

I’m back at work. Overwhelmed, brain fried from too many meetings-slash-waking up before 10 AM. It’s the waking up part that’s the hardest. I’m just not an early morning person. Coffee doesn’t actually help all that much; I think a mug of hot coffee just gives me something to cling to for dear life. Really the only thing that helps is Time. It just takes time for my brain to accept that Yes, It’s Morning Yet Again. So I’m done fighting it and making excuses for it. If you want to love me, you’ll have to accept it’s safest to do so after a large mug of coffee and 10 AM.

One of the girls I work with came back to school 30 lbs lighter, just from changing how she eats. Like me, she’s an inconsistent worker outer, but she said changing what she eats has made a huge difference. So I’m going to start there–this will involve brown rice, fish and grilled chicken, a crapload of salads, and zero sugar. Like, not even in coffee–I’m going to have to learn to like it black. And way less wine. (Please pray for me.)

I am not as stressed. I’m also not as depressed. Like, there are people who do my line of work who are all geeky about it; they are nervous but happy and excited about diving in Monday morning. They’re staying up thinking of all the great things they’re going to get started on, starting Monday. They’re probably in their classrooms right now, cutting and pasting. (Yes, it is a Saturday–my school is open today for people like this.)

I have never been like this, not as a classroom teacher. If I were still in the classroom, my stomach would be in knots with stress all weekend. My temper would be extremely short. I would spend a lot of time weeping, worried about what’s ahead. This is not the case right now. I feel okay about work. I really, really like my new assistant principal. I feel excited about getting to meet my new ESOL students when I start that and I’m a little nervous about working with older kids but also excited because it’ll be a challenge to figure out how older kids’ brains work and–I’m hoping–will help me when M gets to that age. But the most important thing is I’m not stressed or with a knotted/nervous stomach. Also, I like to ease into things, and this is also helping my mental state so much, being able to ease into this. Like, on Monday morning I am not teaching; I am registering new students all day. On Tuesday I have more meetings. I have no idea what I’m doing on Wednesday-Friday next week, but I hope I’ll get to decorate my room finally and figure out lesson plans for when I do start doing that thing I was hired to do because I had so many meetings this last week I was only able to really just arrange the furniture (WHY are there 3 huge computer desks in a small classroom trailer?!). And I was able to unpack a lot of boxes (the contents of 3/4 of these are lying all around the floor of the room).

Other things I did at work: I got spoken to firmly by the custodians for not breaking down my empty cardboard boxes. I ate two hard-boiled eggs too fast and ended up throwing both up in the ladies’ room. I spent a lot of time trying to keep my eyes open in meetings because it was warm. I got to go out to lunch like Americans who work in offices/not with children get to do. I got big hugs from my students from last year and years past–I was easily able to recall the names of kids I taught 3 years ago, but couldn’t remember a single name of anyone I just spent 180 days with last year and was told it was trauma–my brain is blocking out trauma. I saw a girl I taught as a first grader who’s now a 10th grader who told me her grades are horrible and she hates school but she’s going to finish anyway. (“But are you at least not doing drugs?” I asked her. She laughed and laughed, “Yes, Ms. S. I’m NOT doing drugs.” Well, fine. That’s all I ask, former students: it’s okay to hate school…just stay clean and live honest.)

So back to the writing challenge–Day 10 is to write about something I feel strongly about.

At first I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I feel everything strong. I mean, if I have a feel, I pretty much feel everything to my bones. If I love you, I don’t just love you…I LOVE YOU. Ditto for if I hate you. It’s how I operate, and I don’t know any other way to do it.

But then I started writing this and got to thinking about what I’ll be doing on Monday–actually what I did Thursday and Friday as well. Thursday I helped parents new to the school register their child/ren online. They want everything online now, which at first I thought: oh yay! Paper and pencil was always so tedious because some people are sloooowww writers and they take forever. And also we have some families that aren’t strong on literacy, and so this also slows up the process. So I thought computer registration would be faster and easier…nope. No, nope, nein, nyet. It’s actually worse…I’d far rather painstakingly have to sit with a parent as they slowly wrote out their information than have to help them figure out what that thing is, click, here’s the cursor. No, press the space bar. No, your information not your child’s. No, you need to push the shift button. Um, here–you need to click this hyperlink. Oh, well right…a hyperlink is a blue set of words with a line under them…never mind, I’ll go ahead and do it. Well, you need to log into your email address to get to the hyperlink we need to click. Oh, you have a hotmail address? Our district blocks those because of spam, so we’ll have to set you up a gmail account. You’ll need a password….

Oh my god, you guys. Oh my god. Just give me pencil/paper or stick a fork in my eyes. Damn you, technology. I’m not judging; I’ve been on computers since the late 80s and took Typing 101 in high school and write on the computer a lot so I type 60-80 words/a minute. I also have two college degrees and I work in this industry, and not everybody knows what I know. But it’s still such a weird thing to me because all of these people had smart phones, so it seems like computers would be a no-brainer. But not a single one of them could remember anyone’s phone number (which I get, because who does that nowadays? they’re all in our phones) and they didn’t know how to use a mouse (which I get, because who does that nowadays? everything’s a touch screen). But seriously, friends. Have an email that you log into once in awhile, and NOT a hotmail account. Stay current.

At any rate. The deal this year where I work was this: ALL the new kids registered on Thursday. Nobody registered on Friday. Friday was exclusively for returning students and students who registered over the summer or on Thursday. If you came to school to register your child for school, you’d need to come back on Monday instead. Which would be totally fine if, historically, we already didn’t have 300 families trying to register their children for school ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. It has always been like this. Since I’ve worked at this school circa 1998.

And that’s the thing about which I feel so strongly–not about parent technology literacy; I feel strongly about parent-child management. This is not an area I necessarily excel in. But this school registration time management part does feel really, really basic to me.

PARENTS. You have a child. Your child is school age. You want them to start school. Or you just moved to a new town. And your child needs to go to school in your new town. School starts in August (in Georgia, it does). This has been advertised all summer. You can also get on your smart phones and Google: “When does school start in Georgia?” and Google will pull that information right up for you. You can call the local newspaper or school district. Or just pick a school, any school, and call them. Call the police department and ask. Whatever. They will tell you or direct you to where you need to call. They will do this. Because people may think you’re annoying and crazy but we all want your child to go to school.

And so you find out the start date of school. Schools are open all summer–mine was open Mondays through Thursdays, like 8-3. Every day. Registration available every day, except when they were on lunch breaks. All summer. All summer long.

It’s a phenomenon I simply don’t understand. If somebody out there in InternetLand can explain it to me so I can grasp why people wait until the first day of school to register their child for Kindergarten or a new school, then I’d so appreciate it. When Miss M was age-appropriate for Kindergarten, it was the most important thing ever. I registered her in May, on Kindergarten Registration Day. She went to a little half day, 3 day long Get To Know Kindergarten and Your New School summer camp. Starting school is important. It’s like, the biggest part of a child’s life, the place they go to every day, where they will learn how to navigate social relationships and the entire world, where their foundation for excelling and success begins.

I get it. I have two college degrees and this is my area, so I’m more aware than other people out there. But still. If you have a kid and you KNOW they’re going to need to go to school, is it like…you just wake up Monday morning, August 8, make your coffee and turn on the local news, hear them talking: “Oh well, there go the buses. It’s the first day of school for many kids in the Atlanta area, and so traffic’s going to be a nightmare today folks. Bring your patience.”

And so then you kind of spit out some of your coffee and go, “Oh snap! JOHNNY!! JANE!!! Get dressed! NOW! I forgot you gotta go to SCHOOL!!” And now Johnny and Jane are all sleepy and pissed because they totally weren’t even ready for school. And you’re going to go to the wrong school to register them which will send you to the right school which will send you back home because you just showed up with Johnny and Jane thinking you’d sign a piece of paper and they’d stick them in a class and then you could go back to bed. And you’re going to yell at at least three teachers and one school administrator and then the campus police are going to have to escort you home and you’ll have to come back Tuesday. Meanwhile, Johnny and Jane are just happy they get one more day off.

So just figure out when the first day of school is and then register your kids at least two weeks before then. It will help you, your kids, society, and traffic.

That’s what I feel strongly about. (Today.)