Friday, January 25, 2008

Birth Control

Today, while I'm teaching America's youth and being reminded every minute or so why I take birth control pills, my dog (aka the beast) was at home eating them. Seriously.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What Do You Do All Day? Color?

I spent my MLK Holiday doing the things that I just don't have time to do during a normal week:
*sleep in till 9:00
*take beast of a dog for a "long" walk (except it was too cold and the Ipod was dead so it wasn't that long of a walk)
*go to the mall with my mom and sister
*eat lunch with my mom and sister
*get my eyebrows waxed
*go to the dentist (ick)
And then, then something happened that really bothered me on my seemingly great day off of work (minus the dentist)... I got my haircut.

I have to say that I LOVE the cut and I'm excited because the last few cuts I have felt like no matter how many times I bring in that picture of Julia Stiles from 2006, when her hair is layered just right and adorable, the hair stylist cuts, cuts, cuts, blow drys, and I leave looking exactly how I came in. This new stylist, though $10 more than the others, got it just right. I knew it would be a good cut when it looked just like the Julia Stiles photo BEFORE she even blew dry my hair. Not to mention that when I got out of the shower this morning I was able to style it myself!! But see... this is the problem. I love the cut but the stylist said something that would normally make me quit talking to someone, even my closest of friends (although they know better)...

Here's how it went:
Stylist: "Oh, so you teach!"
Me: "Yes! I have been teaching for five years and I truly love it."
Stylist: "That's so nice. You must have a lot of patience."
Me: "Yeah, it can be trying sometimes, but I appreciate that everyday is different."
Stylist: "What grade do you teach?"
Me: "First grade."
Stylist: "Awww! That must easy. Much easier than high school or anything else."
Me: "hmmm, (awkward laugh)."

ARRRGHHHH! Why do people assume that teaching first grade, or any elementary grade for that matter, must be easy??? Seriously, I think those who aren't in the "know" honestly think I color all day long. They have no idea that I'm not just a teacher. I am mommy, daddy, doctor, psychologist, personal trainer (seriously, everyday at recess we do cardio), social worker, secretary, public relation-ist (is that a job? should be), dentist, potty trainer, this list could go on but I'll spare you. See the thing is, teaching is hard. DAMN HARD!! It doesn't matter what grade level you teach. Each grade level is challenging for different reasons, but please please please don't be so stupid to think that a room full of 18 six year olds "must be easy."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Body Art

As all bloggers do, who have Sitemeter on their page, I find myself checking on my recent visitors by their referrals. Recently someone stumbled upon my blog by searching, "teaching children to place band aid on cut." How they were linked to me I'll have no idea and just how many pages of Google's recommendations did they have to riffle through to find This Teaching Life? However, this made me begin thinking of how this accidental visitor must have been feeling to turn to Google for guidance on this subject. Funny thing is, I sympathize with this visitor because I am familiar with the frustration I imagine him/her to have been feeling.

Teaching first graders has made me become a skeptic of injuries. My little students will almost do anything for a band aid with a popular cartoon character such as Sponge Bob or Dora on it. The slightest scrape, hang nail, or bruise constitutes immediate first aid attention in their eyes, leaving me frustrated that I have to stop, mid sentence mind you, in the throws of my great teaching moments to attend to their medical emergencies. I will examine the cut, or lack there of, searching for the smallest trace of blood, while pondering the need of the band aid over in my head. Having no medical education to fall back on, nine times out of ten my response is, "Band aids stop bleeding and you're not bleeding, so a band aid will not make (insert non laceration "boo boo" of your choice here) better." Maybe my students' desire for Sponge Bob or Dora band aids is the beginning of an appreciation for body art? I wonder if some will tattoo themselves with Dora and Diego on their 18th birthday?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm Kinda a Basket Case

I am irrationally feeling guilty about how upset I am about my little guy and his seizures. I'm struggling with being so consumed by it when all I am is his teacher. I'm not a family member or anything so why am I so affected by all of this? That's not a real question...I mean I understand why I'm feeling the way I am. I know that I love all my students and would be willing to take a bullet for any of them. I understand the teacher/student relationship but I don't know that his family understands or the people around me understand why all I've been talking about recently is "some kid in my class." No one has really thought to think of how M's teacher might be feeling about all of this. No one would ever say, "Just imagine how his teacher must feel." I think I'm feeling my feelings are discredited or misplaced when in actuality I know its good and normal to react the way I am. And now rereading this, it makes me come across as, "what about me!?!?" and that's not what I'm trying to accomplish. Really, I just need to say (via blog) that many teachers are 100% invested in their students' lives. When they hurt we hurt. The student/teacher relationship is endearing and I think it often goes unnoticed.

Quick M. Update:
His seizures have lessoned in intensity but are happening at a higher frequency. They are worried that he will not respond to drug therapy. He is having seizures almost every 20 minutes. He is in no state to come back to school at this time and so I will be going to him twice a week to work with him.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Still Laugh

"Ms. H. may I excuse myself?"

"Z. we just got back from our bathroom and water break."

"I need to excuse myself."

"Is it an emergency? We're right in the middle of writer's workshop. This is your special time during the day where you can just write. I'd hate for you to miss a single minute."

"Ms. H," she says in a whisper and leaning in close to me, "I need to pass gas."

Z. returns quickly and literally not even two minutes later....

"Ms. H, may I excuse myself again?"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Little Guy

I'm home sick today although I'm actually not sick. I just happened to wake up in the middle of the night with a splitting headache so I took my temperature and sure enough I had a fever of 101. The weird thing is that is the only problem... just a fever. I have spent my day on the couch resting so this fever won't progress to something that will knock me down for quite some time. I am guilty for enjoying the day off, but I haven't taken a sick day in years. The only problem with me not being there today is that one of my students, M., was returning to school today for an hour or so after being in and out of the hospital.

I am in love with M. He is about the best little guy to ever enter my life. M. was adopted from Korea. His adoptive parents have divorced and both have since remarried. M's older brother has Aspergers Syndrome and was in my class 3 years ago. I'm saying all of this because despite his background story, M. has it all together. There is something about him that is wise beyond his years. He has an understanding of things that most children don't even pick up on. M. is a special kid. He is so creative. You could give him a paper clip, some wax paper, a toilet paper roll, and some bubble gum and he would design a spaceship out of it all. He just has that vision. He is also a writer and takes great pride in his stories. He loves to share his stories, especially the ones he writes about the great white shark! M. makes up songs all day long and sings them quietly as he works. I've suggested getting him involved in some type of music class so he could have an outlet for all his creativity.

Sadly, my classroom has been lacking with songs and stories of the great white shark recently. Before winter break, M. was playing basketball and told his mom or dad that he felt like he had been shocked. They didn't really think much of it until later when M. was talking to his mom and seemed to day dream in the middle of his sentence. This continued happening frequently throughout the rest of the weekend. His family decided to keep him home for the last three days before break and took him to the doctor. They diagnosed him with having seizures, but they were uncertain why. M.'s seizures continued and the intensity and frequency of them were rising. He went from having absence seizures to full blown tonic clonic seizures. The doctors have put M. on medicine but he is still seizing at least 7 times a day. He has missed almost 2 weeks of school. His parents are taking him to the best of the best doctors this week to have a higher resolution MRI done and attempt to learn more about the cause of his sudden onset of epilepsy.

I've never had something happen like this to one of my students. Its really upset me. I am constantly thinking of M. and his family. So, if you're reading this, please keep my little guy in your thoughts. I'll update as I learn more.