Thursday, March 22, 2007

Even Though You Know It's a Matter of Time ...

... it never fails to knock the wind out of you when it happens.

Two years ago I did a grade 2 LTO at the school I'm at now. I was working with a teacher who had just come back from mat leave. In December of that year she found out she had cancer. Right before her 30th birthday. She took a leave and went for treatment and was back at work within a few months. Things seemed to be looking up and we were all optimistic that the treatment was successful.

I was hired permanently at the same school the following year and she was back as well. She started to feel in pain and our worst fears were realized. The cancer had spread. She took a leave again for more treatment and this time the leave was indefinite.

I found out this morning that she had passed away. I knew it was coming ... she was at her last stretch. At first I didn't really react ... just gave a kind of knowing nod. But then when I was told that she died with a smile on her face, with her entire family .... husband, 3 year old daughter ... father ... sister ... surrounding her ... I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. I cried and I couldn't stop.

Right before prayer, the principal announced it over the PA system ... I tried to keep it together because my kids were in the class but I couldn't. I cried .... right in front of them. As they just looked at me with awe I suppose. And I was going through the morning ... all the while crying. And my kids were understanding. They gave me space. They let me cry. They didn't question it or whisper about it with their peers. And I thought that was so great of them.

One of my students asked me why I was sad. When I told him it was because of the teacher ... he just nodded his head as if to say "I'm so sorry."

I didn't know her very well ... yes we worked together but not for a long period of time. Even so she's always been in my heart and in my thoughts. I always think about her. I remember the first time she went for treatment I gave her a bag full of books so that she wouldn't be too bored at home. I know she appreciated that. There are teachers in the school who she's worked with for a longer period of time and had shared a friendship beyond the school. I cannot believe how strong they were. I knew the sadness and the heavy heart they were carrying inside ... but wow did they ever show their strength. That can't have been easy for them.

I don't know what else to say. It's not fair.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Still Two Days Left Of March Break

Yes it's true. Count the weekend and you'll see. And why would you want to deny yourself the two extra days anyway?

SO .... it's officially Saturday. March Break is (almost) over. I have done stuff. Not all the stuff I wanted to do (up until now ... I still have two days left after all). But I did do ... stuff.

Let's go through the list that I wrote out on Monday to see what I can check off.

--> Clean my car .... no check.
--> Clean my study room ... check (it's not sparkling, but I see a floor and I see a desk).
--> Finish marking ... check.
--> Work on report cards .... checkidy check check check!!! I'm VERY happy with myself in this category. I still have some reading assessments to do but everything else is DONE DIGGITY DONE!
--> dentist ... cancelled (TWICE), not yet re-scheduled (he was sick)
--> time for friends ... check (does the phone count?)
--> study/read/make notes for my exam ... that's why my March Break is extended into the weekend.

So looking back on my list, it seems that I have done what I've wanted to do. I hope that I can focus enough energy into "preparing" for my exam as I am feeling under the weather.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Update Numero Tre

I'd like to apologize in advance for these posts being boring as ass. I'm not in school therefore have no student related stories to tell. I could make them up ... but I'm feeling uninspired these days when it comes to writing.

Well then. Where was I.

I've pretty much done all I can do with my reports at this point. Learning skills (which is one of the biggest aspects of reports) are pretty much done which I'm very pleased about. My usual scene with report cards is on the day they are due (at 3:30pm) the principal is standing at the office door with his coat on and briefcase in hand (close to 4pm) while he is being drawn into a conversation by a good friend of mine (read: he's being stalled purposely) about something that could remotely interest him (read: anything that gets him talking about his hometown in Italy) and keep him there for an extra five minutes while I'm in the photocopy room willing the printer to print my report cards faster than it is and cursing it to no end. I hand them in on time but not before I pee myself a little thinking that they will be late and he will hate me and fire me for disregarding deadlines.

Anyhow, I don't think that this will be the case for these report cards (woot!).

Now all I have left to think about is that DAMN exam I need to write. I've been trying the approach of pretending that it doesn't exist because when you pretend something doesn't exist it will eventually go away, yes? Unfortunately for me, not only is it NOT going away but it is looming ever so closely and breathing its putrid breath down my neck. It's tapping me on the shoulder saying, "remember me? I'm still here ... waiting for you ..."

I guess I should actually start to "prepare" for it, whatever that means. This is a comprehensive exam so it's basically an exam on Higher Education "in general".

I'm so fucked.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Feel The Need To Post

Well today I had lots of stuff I wanted to do. Mainly I wanted to start studying for my exam. But of course that didn't happen because I'm a procrastination whore. It's like a drug for me. It makes me all antsy and jittery because I know I shouldn't be procrastinating and should really get on my list of things to do but I CAN'T STOP!

I did get work done for my reports though so all wasn't lost. I've been plugging in grades and will soon start to plug in comments so it doesn't look so bare.

I have also been wasting lots 'o time on facebook. Whoever invented that was brilliant and destructive at the same time. Brilliant because I have now reconnected with people who I have not spoken to in years from elementary and highschool. Destructive because it is slowly feeding off of the time I have during the day! Seeing as how daylight savings decided to rear it's ugly head a month early ... I don't have a lot of time!

Must. Take. Control. Of. Time.

Monday, March 12, 2007

March Break Madness

Well it is here ... what I've been waiting for since Christmas Break ... March Break has finally arrived. This can only mean one thing ... school is over in 3 months. I realize that we are still in mid-March but once I hit March Break, as far as I'm concerned, the remaining days of this month are non-existent. It's just a blurry mass. So yeah ... 3 months left! Wasn't it September just yesterday?

I usually start off my March break ready to just really sink my teeth into the things that need to get done. But then I do other stuff ... and I think, "Oh but there's still 6 days left of March break" (I know I shouldn't but I count Saturday and Sunday). And then another day will pass and I'll think, "But it's still the beginning of the week ... plenty of time left." And then another day will pass and I'll think, "Ok but it's only Wednesday." And then another day will pass and I'll think, "Is tomorrow Friday?!?!? Where the hell did this week go???"

But not this time! You see, I really have no time to bum around. I have an exam to write at the end of March and if I don't use this week to really study for it ... then I might as well kiss my degree goodbye (not to mention all the money and time that I've invested in it so far).

So my to do list for this week consists of:

  • clean my car.
  • clean my study room (read: figure out where I can put all of my teaching resources in an orderly fashion so that I can actually make out that I really do have a desk ... and a floor).
  • finish marking what I've brought home for report cards (and I'm happy to say that I've been steadily going through this pile before March break began so I wouldn't need to spend a lot of time on it ... not much left to do with this one!).
  • work on report cards (I would in the least like to get my learning skills in there ... now that reports are done via the internet, it's been so much easier ... and blasting the comments through for each student is a piece of chocolate cake).
  • go to the dentist for my gum lift.
  • make time for friends.

So this is my plan. I will be coming back to update on my progress. Hopefully I won't be writing a lot of this:

I didn't do anything today.
I didn't do anything today.
I didn't do anything today.
Shit it's the end of the week already!!!

To do for today: Plug in comments in shared folder of the report cards so the other grade 1 teachers have access to them. Complete top half of learning skills.

UPDATE: Comments are in and top half of learning skills is done!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Man today was a shitty day if I do say so myself. Nevermind the fact that I'm dealing with some personal shit at the moment, but then I have to have a parent go and complain about me to the vice-principal. This has never happened before and even though I still stood by my actions, I have to say that I was extremely nervous to talk to the VP and parent about it.

First things first ... the fact that this parent decided to go directly to the VP instead of talking to me first is FUCKED UP!

Background on the scenario:

I gave a test and announced to the class that it's time to hand them all in. The kids desks are separated and everyone is quiet so I know that everyone heard me especially since I've come into the habit of repeating myself at least 3 times in a row so that I am CERTAIN that everyone has "heard" me. There were only a few kids left with the test and I figured that they all had handed them in. So then I had them put their desks back together ... this was followed by a chaotic 15 minute indoor recess because apparently we now live in the North Pole ... followed by snack. AFTER all of this chaos ... a student comes up to me and hands me her test. We'll call her Testy from now on.

"Here's my test."

"You still had your test all this time???? Why didn't you hand it in when I asked everyone who still had their test to hand it in?"

"I didn't hear you."

"But it was quiet! There was no noise! How could you not hear me???"

She shrugs. God I love when a kid shrugs and mimes "I don't know".

"Well I can't accept this. How do I know that you weren't talking to your friends about this? Or that you didn't look back on your homework to help you with it?"


And then I did something that I completely regret and wish I could take back if I had the power to turn back time ... I ripped up her test (I swear I'm cringeing right now just writing that down).

I know! I know! I'm a bitch! I lost it and I shouldn't have done that.

The end of the day was almost here so I had to get these kids all ready for home. So that was what happened yesterday.

Fast-forward to today.

The secretary comes to me with one of those pink-slips used for taking messages and says that there's a frantic message from Testy's mom about teste. Here I'm thinking the worst. I see that Testy is not in the classroom so immediately I start to think that maybe something awful has happened.

Then I think .... what could the mom possibly have to be frantic about? Then I remembered. Ah. Facing music will commence now.

So mom drops off Testy (who I see making a ripping motion with her hands as she's trying to tell a friend that her mom is here to get me in shit - this made me livid as well ... all I'm thinking is that this little 6 year old is trying to get me into trouble??). Mom goes to talk to the VP who then comes into my room and asks what happened. I explain to her the story and she replies ok well call the mom and talk to her about it (thank the Lord I have admin who actually support their teachers and don't make them look like a fool/idiot in front of the parents even if they did something wrong).

Recess comes and I call the mom. She begins to yell/talk loudly/not let me get a word in edgewise.

Her argument:

They are practically in kindergarten. She didn't give you the test because she didn't hear you (nevermind the fact that the room was not only quiet, but that I repeated myself three times). You should've given her a warning.

My argument:

I needed to prove a point. These rules have not only been set in place since September, but they have been reviewed (and continue to be) on a daily basis. They are not in kindergarten. There are certain rules that they need to follow. This isn't the first test that they've had this year so they know the rules and procedures (especially since we review them before every test I give them). I am preparing them for the older grades in terms of appropriate behaviour during tests, when the teacher is talking etc.


In the end mom was ok with what I had to say. Did this help me for the rest of the day? Hell no ... I was on edge all day long.

Thanks Testy's mom!