Friday, September 21, 2012

On Being a Hypocrite and Bright Spots of Chaos

Chris has this best buddy that drives me bonkers.
Don’t get me wrong, I think his friend his awesome . . . but he is the definition of “unreliable.” Chris calls it being a “free spirit.”
Yeah, well . . .
See, here’s the thing: this fellow will call and say, “Hey! Let’s get together! I might be over tonight!” and so I panic to tidy up the house while Chris lectures me on my panic, and I just throw things into bins yelling, “I’m a woman! We do this! Get over it!” and then we apologize, and he even helps me wash dishes and fold underwear, and then, when all that panic is over and I’ve made a darn good “we’re having company” meal with all the fixings . . . this friend doesn’t show.  Two days later, he shows up with about an hour’s notice if even that.  So, we have a moderately clean house and takeout because I’m not doing the dance again. Chris’s family have stories of finding this fellow in their kitchen eating mixing bowls (yes, you read that right) of cereal at midnight. He just kind of shows up when you least expect him and disappears when you do. Kind of like an elf . . . or something . . .
All that nonsense to say color me a hypocrite because that’s how I treat this blog.  Unreliable. Slap me on the wrist.
So here’s my question: How do you blog when you have nothing to say? No pictures to post? Some days are so dull and I’m so tired I can hardly find anything to say or the energy to attempt at any wit, but some of you post EVERY DAY. How do you do that when you’re just living life? Nothing special, just the daily grind?
Ha! There! A picture from the everyday! A florida sunset!
The news I had from oh, like two weeks ago, is part of the reason I was absent: I was hired as a substitute for two weeks at my old school. It was AWESOME
Here’s the breakdown: Kids get new teacher. After being there a week, new teacher falls through. I get a text message from my sis-in-law saying that the principal is desperately asking me to sub while they interview for a new teacher.  I get off from office job, and I show up Tuesday morning to the curious glances of the new 7th graders and my students from last year bursting, “OH! MRS. B! YOU REALLY ARE HERE! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!”  and am swallowed in hugs and screams of joy.
This, my friends, is what it is to be adored.  I know what celebrities feel like, what with the waving, and the shouting and all that.  By the time my two weeks were up, I had the new kids screaming, too.  Both 7th and 8th grades composed petitions for the principal asking to let me stay for one semester then teach over the Skype the next.  One girl gave me the petition and told me I could frame it so I don’t forget them.  I almost cried.  
I don’t know if I am a textbook “good” teacher—classroom discipline is not my strong suit, I make mistakes (that I correct), paperwork is a struggle, and I’m terrified of parents.  I’m loud. I’m quirky. I’m overdramatic. I pace the classroom, waving my hands around, losing my eraser and dropping my marker. I’ve even been known to run into walls because I’m so focused on speaking that I forget to watch where I’m going.  I can never remember what time classes get out.  I’m almost always running late, if not barely on time, and my quizzes often have at least ONE typo.  I have obsessions that I manage to relate to lecture in some form or another every week. I drink tea with copious amounts of creamer out of a giant mug with a squid painted on it and sometimes eat lunch while I teach because I was too busy over my lunch break.  I’m a grammar nazi. I pound MLA until they recite it in their sleep.  Last year, I cried once in a lecture because the principal was watching, which terrifies me, and the meaning of our reading—the message that is the cry of my soul—crept up and choked me because I wanted them to get it, to understand that they are not mistakes. That no one is a mistake.  
I love those kids. I love joking with them. I love trying to get them to understand the proper placement of the comma. I love finding pieces of their culture to link to monomyths and reciting Greek myths and the secrets of Gothic literature.  I thrive on showing them that books and writing don’t have to be dull. They’re boring if you make them boring, but, oh the wonders you’ll find. We are the dreamers of dreams . . .
They love it when I read Robert Burns in a Scottish accent or when my marker, by total accident, slips through my fingers and flies through the air. They love it when I teach them words like “holus bolus” and “chiaroscuro”  and that I use words like “dandy.”  They love it that I know video games and have a huge crush on Iron Man.
Just a few of the notes my 8th graders scribbled for me. :]
Another super sweet note from my last day.  She also gave me a drawing of a squid, one of my favorite animals :]
I do not miss the grading and the lesson plans and the late nights trying to manage it all on a feast of frozen dinners.  I do not miss the after school meetings or the training days.  I do not miss the wealth of emails.  The hubs does not miss it.  At all.
 I miss teaching. I miss those kids—those frustrating, brilliant, silly, loud, ridiculous, wonderful kids.  I knew that I missed the classroom, but I didn’t know how much until I was back, until I was home. Then,  a new teacher was hired, and I was no longer needed. 
I went home, curled up on the couch, and hardly moved all weekend. Something hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Finally, it dawned on me: I wasn’t needed any more.  I would never forget those kids, but would they forget me?  Their lives would continue normally with this lovely new person, and I would sit alone in my gray and burgundy cubby feeling lost and lifeless.  The bright little chaos of my world was slowed to a halt.  I was alone in my cubby again, staring at a computer screen and mountains of useless files, and they had moved on. Cue “All By Myself” because this must be what a break-up feels like. No, I'm not at all dramatic, why do you ask?
Still, as much as it hurts now, I had them again. I got to see them before I leave, which was what I wanted.  I made new friends and visited old ones.  I ate lunch with my sis-in-law again and chatted with all the lovely ladies in the offices.  I helped out when they desperately needed a substitute, and helping is my favorite. You know I care for you when I help you. You know I love you when I do it all the time with a smile.  I got to hug those kids and talk about books and geekiness for two weeks. Not one day, not two days, but TWO WEEKS. And it was awesome. 
Tennyson said,'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Boy, he got that one right, didn’t he?
Just because . . . I found this one morning before I left for work . . . My sweet hubs had to wake up at 4 AM to catch a 7 AM flight to Atlanta, and he STILL took the type to clean my glasses for me. Love that man. I just do. It's the little things, right?


  1. Aw Sarah! You are so great, you are EXACTLY what makes a wonderful teacher that makes a difference, an impact. They will most certainly NOT forget you!

  2. welcome to my life. i never have anything to say. hence the long pauses i tend to take.

    but it's okay.

    i still like you even when you take like 543 months off. ;]


    your teaching story is just the sweetest. look at the homecoming you received. girl, you WILl NOT be forgotten. that board of love and that drawing of a squid? don't even think for 2 seconds they'll move on and forget you. never in a thousand years.


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