A good friend of mine spent over a year in Afghanistan. When she came back, she observed that she became an angrier person in that time.
Being deployed to Afghanistan and teaching fifth grade are totes not the same. At all. But spending 7 hours a day with 27 ten- and eleven-year-olds has had a similar effect on me.
Frequently, when reading blogs, I wonder what people do for their day jobs. And so many bloggers never mention it. I’ve always kind of taken that approach myself since I try to maintain some semblance of professionalism and the word “totes” is not necessarily a habit I would want my students to emulate.
So here it is: I’m a teacher. In fact, I’ve been a teacher for 12 weeks now. Yikes! I’m not a mean person, really, but things are frustrating, and I’ve heard that’s normal for the first year.
What’s not necessarily normal is the anger I’m feeling. Or maybe it is. I don’t really know. I get angry at my students sometimes. Like when one of them pukes on my classroom floor. On purpose. That kind of upsets me a little. Just a little, though. Getting called a b**** upsets me even more. And getting called a “bich” on a note passed from one student to another: it just makes me boil over. A) I’m really not mean to my students. B) If you want to express your opinions in that way, by all means do. Just do it with correct spelling, will you?
But I get angry. And I can’t tell my students that I’m angry. I can’t tell them that I’m totally completely pissed off that they decided they needed to urinate all over the bathroom floor. (See, kids, that’s called a pun.) I can’t tell them that when they pick on each other for no good reason (and to be clear: a “your mom” comment is NOT a good reason), I want to cry a little. I can’t tell them that I’m upset.
And I whine a lot. To my boyfriend. To my mom. To the other teachers. To my friends. To anyone who will listen. Because there’s so much about these children that frustrates me.
To be clear, there are a lot of things about my students that are objectively frustrating. And my children have no control over them. At all. Some of my students are hungry. Some of my students have very difficult home lives. These are things I can handle. It’s harder to handle the things that my students do as a result of these things, though. It’s really hard. And while I get that the second statement necessarily negates the first, I still can’t help but feel like I really do want to work with a difficult population so long as the population isn’t difficult for me.
So here I am. Frustrated. And all day long, I hold it in. And there’s traffic, and I don’t want to go through the light because I know I’ll block the intersection, and some jerk decides that I’m doing this wrong and honks at me. And I just…
Or the cashier at target decides (after I’m already in line, mind you) that her line is closed. I guess she wants to make sure she doesn’t stay a minute after her shift is over. Really?! REALLY?! … because it’s not like I worked 12 freaking hours today, and I really just wanted to buy my orange juice and wrapping paper and use the express check-out lane without having to wait 15+ minutes behind some woman doing her ENTIRE Christmas shopping this evening. It’s not like that at all.
Wait a second. You don’t find this even remotely interesting? WHAT?!
I didn’t think so. And that’s ok. Because I’m falling asleep at 6pm most weeknights anyway, and if I’m staying up any later it’s because report cards or progress reports are due the next day. I’ve been quieter lately. And I’ll probably be quiet a little while longer. I’m on pinterest, where I can get food ideas while doing my makeup in the morning. But please don’t expect too much from me.
I’ll be around, I’m sure. Especially during 5-day weekends and glorious winter breaks that are pretty much all about food. But I’m angry right now. And I’m getting less angry, I think. But in the meantime, trust me when I say you don’t really want to hear about angry.
Soon enough, I’m sure I’ll be able to laugh at the fact that one of my students thought the word “condition” was “condom” or that every one of my students has seen The Karate Kid but not one of them has any idea who Mr. Miyagi is. Soon enough. But until then…