teacher

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I Wasn’t Invited

Published March 23, 2014 by mssprinkle

I think I was a little hard on the smart-alecky fifth grader who showed up at my classroom door with three blue envelopes in his hand.  He was popping gum (never allowed) and waving the envelopes over his head.

“Three lucky people invited to my party!”  He shouted when he opened the door without warning.

“Not on my time!”  I exclaimed, without taking time to think.  “Unless you have one for everybody, you may not distribute them during school time.”  I did not actually shove him out the door, but I am a large lady and when I advance menacingly, most people retreat hastily.

“Aw!  I bet one of those was for me!”  whined one of my less-sharp little tacks.

“I bet it wasn’t!”  Responded my meanest girl.

“MATH!”  I practically roared, and class resumed.

Last night I missed the wedding of a young woman of whom I am very fond.  She is the same age as my daughter, and they grew up together in church and school.  They were not best friends, but because their parents were friendly and their paths crossed constantly, they knew each other well.  I was not invited to the wedding.

I know the mother felt awkward about this.  She and I really have been friends. We never actually spoke about the decision, but as the wedding approached she avoided me more and more.  When it was impossible to do so she frantically directed any conversation toward other topics as we stood around before church choir or met up in the grocery store.  I ached to pat her on the arm and say, “It’s okay,” except that it wasn’t.  I WANTED TO BE INCLUDED.

I understand why I was not.

I’ve had to cut those wedding guests lists down before, and it’s painful.  And I know that my ex-husband and his new wife may be closer socially to their family than I am now.  Most of all, I understand that the estrangement between me and my daughter complicates something like this very nastily.

I got a nicely detailed report from friends who did attend.  It’s not the same as going, but it’s good.  My daughter was there, she was beautiful, and she has a new boyfriend who met with greater approval than the previous beau.  The bride was lovely, the service was sweet, and the party was fun.

Hopefully now the mother-of-the-bride and I can settle down and say “Hi,” without the nervous twitching.

Hopefully soon the achey little place in my heart with catch up with my sensible thoughts.

I already had another friend who grabbed both my hands tightly and said, “Listen to me.  This will not happen for our wedding this summer.  My son loves you both and you’re both invited.  Don’t you worry.”

I am sorry my friends are stressing about this.  I am stressing about this.  Nobody tells you when you finally say ENOUGH and rearrange your life that the weddings of your children’s friends will involve such troubles.

I think I shall go and grade some math papers.

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You’re Not Mean?!?

Published January 18, 2014 by mssprinkle

“You’re not mean!?!”  This is said with incredulity. Mine is the classroom where children are sent when they are driving their own teachers bananas.  I am a way-station on the route to the office for many, but sometimes a kid just needs to breathe some different air for a little while.  Few kids are really willing to act up a lot in front of bigger kids, and my fifth graders are pretty well trained.  They know the drill – this kid is here so we can scare him (or her – today it was a girl).

So the extra chair at the table is sometimes occupied by a grouchy child who is almost in big trouble back on the home planet.  After a little while, I usually offer a freshly sharpened pencil or a clean eraser, whatever it looks like might be helpful.  I’ll pick a book that’s been popular and set it within reach.

“So what happened?”  I’ll eventually ask.  I keep on with my usual routine, directing traffic with my eyebrows, but I try to start the conversation with the foreigner.  No matter what, I just say, “Yeah, that sounds rough…” and move away.

After a while, the kid will start to relax.  Finish the work that came from the home classroom.  Get involved in something we’re doing.

Usually it’s a surprise when the door opens on a student saying “Come back!”

“Can I stay here?  Can I come back?”

“Sure, if it’s okay with your teacher.”

And more often than not, on the way out the door, “You’re not mean?!?”

“I am too!”  I insist.  My students giggle, and I scowl at them fiercely.  “Don’t you go telling anybody I’m not!”