Posts Tagged ‘sigh’

Pretty much

September 16, 2014 Leave a comment

I saw one of my former first graders, now in 5th grade(!) this morning. She came over and wrapped her arms around me in a side hug. “So,” I said, looking down at her, “when I talked to you in June you predicted you’d spend the summer on the computer and text messaging. Is that what you ended up doing?”

“Pretty much,” she said.


I guess it okay, I guess

March 30, 2012 2 comments

Today was our last day of school before Spring Break.  My most active boy was very, very active today.  Literally bounced off the walls (and doors), and told me several times that I “so mean a teacher.”  About 5 minutes before dismissal all that activity. Stopped.

Completely subdued, he came over to me, worrying his bottom lip. “What’s the matter?” I asked him.

“I-I-I no want to go Spring Break.  I don’t know what do.”

“Who’s going to be with you when you’re at home?”

“I don’t know…I guess a babysitter?”

From what I know of his family, that truly is a guess.  He and his sister might have a babysitter, or they might be dropped off at different neighbors or family members each day, or honestly, they might even be on their own for stretches of time.

“Do you want to bring some books home?  Some math games?”  [Head shake no]

“How about one of our jump ropes?”

[Slow nod] “I guess yes.”

He and I spent the last few minutes of the day walking around the classroom, opening cupboards, drawers, and cabinets, collecting anything of interest and stuffing it into his backpack.  When his bus was called he said, “I guess it okay, I guess,” then zipped up his bag, said “I going to miss you,” and ran off.


March 27, 2012 1 comment

As we headed out to recess today I saw two of my girls whispering to each other and heard snippets of a story it sounded like I could ignore.  Oops!

Turns out they were sharing the story of Bloody Mary, a story I remember being scared sleepless by during a 5th grade sleepover with friends.  In the version I heard, if you chant Bloody Mary’s name three times in front of a mirror, the lights will turn out, the door will slam closed, and she’ll come out of the mirror to attack you.

This titillated many of my children, but one, oh one did not like it.  As I prepared to line them up for gym, I heard him gasp as though shot, then start hyperventilating and sobbing, chanting something over and over about not wanting to die.  Knowing his tablemates know his triggers, I turned to them, “did you talk to him about dying?!”  The girls tripped over themselves to offer competing, equally incoherent denials, but somewhere in there I heard the term “Bloody Mary,” and since hearing that seemed to double V’s panic, I realized what had happened.  V turned to me, in the throes of what looked like a full-blown panic attack, saying he didn’t want to be killed, he didn’t want to be killed.

I went with the one construct I thought might break through the emotional haze: “V, that story is FICTION.  It is NOT real.  Someone MADE IT UP.  It is FICTION.”  Still hyperventilating, he gasped out, “Megan. says. it’s. REAL.” His not-so-helpful tablemates quickly agreed with him – Megan DID say it was real.

Time to pull out the big guns.

“V. Who do you trust more?  Me or Megan?”

Through tears: “Y-y-you!”  But then: “But J-J-Jennifer says it’s true too!”  Increased wailing and shaking.

“V! Who do you trust more?  Me or Jennifer?”

Happily, even Jennifer agreed that I was more trustworthy.

“You trust me and I say it’s FICTION.  It is NOT TRUE.  It’s a story people make up to scare kids.”

That brought on an unexpected new problem: “They LIED to me???  Megan and Jennifer LIED???”

I told him that they were telling a story, just like we read stories in books.  This managed to get him just barely calm enough that I could line the class up, but the panic was still in full bloom, and for some reason leaving the room triggered another hyperventilating attack.  My teammate was on her break in our pod, and hearing me say something along the lines of “NO one is going to kill you,” she leapt up and offered to walk my class to P.E.

V and I went on a hunt for the school counselor, after he refused to consider going to any other teacher’s room because they all have windows (the counselor is literally in a closet, giving Bloody Mary no window to come out of).  Although she had a one-on-one counseling session starting when we found her, she pulled V in with her and kept him for over 30 minutes; he returned to class still on edge, but with his intellect back in control of his emotions.

The rest of the day was, for my room, remarkably quiet and drama-free, but it’s amazing how many things the professors don’t even think to prepare you for in grad school!

All is forgiven

December 22, 2011 Leave a comment

One of my boys almost always has hard days, but today was particularly tough.  By the afternoon he couldn’t control himself anymore.  In his non-stop moving over-exuberance he ripped a book, threw a pillow at a classmate, then tackled another classmate and wouldn’t get off or stop tickling him.  He’s almost never aware of his movement, and definitely doesn’t feel responsible for it, he felt hugely wronged by getting in trouble for this – “[while sobbing] You so mean!  You SO SO MEAN! [continue crying]”  I brought him to a buddy teacher’s room to calm down; he stayed there for almost half an hour, coming back just in time for dismissal (it’s our last day before winter break).

At the doorway he threw his arms around me, buried his head in my stomach and said “I going to miss you so much!”  I got a big final squeeze, then he sprinted down the hallway to his bus.

They don’t tell you about this in grad school

May 17, 2011 2 comments

After 8 straight days of having to call the office to request a custodian with a plunger, plus several discussions about our class’s over-use of toilet paper, today I had to set aside my science lesson on plants and talk about…poop.  Our class had a somber conversation about new rules for flushing to make sure that our toilet doesn’t break, then I used the instructional strategy of having students list details across their fingers to have them repeat and remember the new rules.  They may not have taught us how to handle broken toilets in grad school, but it’s good to know the pedagogical strategies I learned work across topics!


May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Just realized I left my cupcake at school…the cupcake the birthday boy from another class had to bang on my shoulder to give me because I had my fingers in my ears to remind my class that calling my name incessantly is not a good way to get my attention.


April 23, 2011 Leave a comment

This week I took my first trapeze classes.  My first, on Tuesday morning, was one of the most fun, invigorating, exciting, awesome things I’ve ever done.  My second, this morning, mostly felt frustrating.  I’ve spent a lot of the day trying to figure out the difference.

Some of it was the composition of the class.  Tuesday’s class had a mixture of beginning and intermediate flyers, almost all with very outgoing personalities.  I knew everyone’s name before class even began and we took a group picture afterwards.  It felt warm, inclusive, and incredibly supportive.  Today’s class was perfectly fine, but everyone but me came with someone else, and most of them stuck primarily with their friends, so it was far less social.  I’m not sure whether we actually got fewer turns today than on Tuesday, but it definitely felt like we did.  I certainly felt like I spent a lot more time sitting today than I did in the first class.  I think that’s in part because I was less likely to be chatting with other people, and in part because having mostly newish flyers (and two teachers-in-training) meant the entire class moved a little more slowly.  And it was cold today, so I was freezing in between turns.

Also, because they were training two new teachers, the instructors were constantly rotating around.  It felt like someone new was calling commands every time I flew, and while they are all pretty similar, their slight stylistic differences threw off my timing as I processed what they were saying.

Furthermore, I came in vibrating with tension and adrenaline, although I’m not sure why.  I think, in fact, that I was more nervous before my first flight today than in my first class.  And it showed.  My first flight today was worse than anything I did in my first class, and although I knew it was because I was tense, it threw off my confidence for the rest of class.  I didn’t really calm down until one of the more perceptive instructors was up on the board with me.  Instead of having me get ready to take off, she looked me and said, “okay, breathe.  Again.  Again.  Better?”  It was better, and I really appreciated that she could see what I needed.

Finally, I think I’m feeling frustrated overall with the class because the last flight – in which I tried my new trick and was caught (i.e., I swung out to an instructor on the second trapeze and he caught me mid-air) – felt great and looked great, but the instructors all said I went too soon and didn’t wait for their cue.  They were really nice about it, but also adamant that I wait for their call next time, since that’s the only way to stay safe as you progress to harder tricks.  The thing is, I thought I did wait for their call, and when I watch the video, it looks to me like I did, but since I trust they know this stuff better than I do, I must not have.  I feel frustrated that I can’t even identify how to do better next time.  I suppose if trapeze is something I’m going to do a lot I’ll need to get better at shaking off some frustrating flights and just focus on figuring it out next time.  I think I’ll bring the video to my next class and ask an instructor to show me what I’m missing.  And until then, I’ll focus on how good some of the flights felt and on how much I did right, instead of the few things I got wrong.

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