It was one of those days at work where I don’t know how I will ever get the strength to come back. I felt it the minute I walked in the door. Typically, as I unlock my classroom and turn on my paper star lamps and sit in the dark, preparing lessons or writing IEPs, I feel at peace and rather glad to start another day with my kids. Today, I wanted to turn around and run away. It thought it was because I had a rather emotionally rough weekend (just when I think I’m really done shedding tears, more appear), but it seems I somehow knew it was gonna be a day.
I’ve rather prided myself in how hard hearted with kids I have become, while still being able to love them. If you don’t, you won’t be able to help them very long. You have to find the ability to distance yourself from their situations and even find the humor in their truly fucked up lives. Hell, when I saw Precious, I didn’t shed a tear. Everyone around me was sobbing, and, to me, it was just a shrug of, ‘yep, that’s life.’
Maybe due to the weekend, I just didn’t have that strength in me today, and ended up interrupting a 5th-6th grade planning session with my principal, tears beginning to build in my eyes. My class has grown to fourteen, which is huge for type of kids, and I have three girls, now (which is also rare). While SIED girls are rarely diagnosed, one of them is typically the amount of work of five SIED boys. Really. My newest girl that I got a couple weeks ago, is a cutter. If you’ve ever work with cutters, you know that it tends to be contagious. This case has been no different. One of my other fifth grade girls (that came to me the Monday after Chad left) has taken me a year to begin to make progress. She is this tiny, rather gorgeous Hispanic girl. Today, I discovered, due to this other new girl’s example, this girl has now started cutting on herself as well. The tops of her arms were sliced up (most superficial cuts) from the metal of a pencil (where it hold the eraser) that she had in her bedroom last night. I sat there, with this girl who I have thought I would strangle so many times before, tears in both our eyes, and let myself wrap my arms around her and give her a hug (a very dangerous/stupid/yet needed thing to do with SIED girls). And this was only one of the experiences today. With all the new kids and new drama (with the exception of CSAP), I have not got to actually teach anything in over a week and a half. It is all caught up in constant insanity.
Days like these take a lot out of me. Actually, most of the time, they don’t—they’ve become old hat and I am pretty good at what I do—it’s just another day. Except for when I am already weak, then it feels like one swift punch, stab, kick in the gut after another. Then to leave, and not be able to call and plan what he wants me to have ready for dinner and know we won’t fall asleep together on the couch. . .
Seriously, no wonder I only watch Disney movies and read vampire novels. Why would I want stay in reality any longer than need be?