Finding My Own Way

I wish I worked at a job that allowed me to take sick days when I had the flu. 
I wish I worked at a job that ended when the eight hour day was up, or at least paid me over time for my ten hour days. 
I wish I worked at a job that required me to only perform my assigned duties and not take on extra roles, for free.

By Wednesday this week, my third day of running a fever, I was exhausted and fed up. I cried on the way home from work. I wrote this horrible ranty blog post in my head four different ways. But the reality was I took a NyQuil, mixed it with a small boozy drink and tucked myself in bed at the ripe hour of nine. For me sometimes putting my sadness and frustrations into written words helps me find my way around or through the fog of my anxieties. And sometimes my anxieties are too high and my words just become a jumbled mess. Or it was the mixture of booze and NyQuil.

I am happy that I delayed writing that post because my students were able to remind me in five amazing ways why I love my job so much and with their help I found my way down and into a very fulfilled place.

A student handed me this poem on the way out the door today. I sometimes forget how perceptive students can be towards our moods. And while this poem pretty much makes me think I need a major attitude adjustment, it also reminded me how amazing my students are.

Last Saturday my dad came into town and built our Robotics competition table, because he is awesome. This week I needed to get the table set up so we could start practicing for the competition. But that required time and time is something I am always short on.

So the table sat like this for two days:

Here are a few questions kids asked me:

"Are we going to race guinea pigs?"
"Are we going to fill it up with water?"
"Is this to play dice?"
"Are we going to race turtle?"
"This is so cool, how did you build this?"

Honestly, their creativity of what the table could be for was mind blowing and it made me laugh so much on days I really needed to laugh.

Once our competition supplies arrived I knew I was in trouble, the average build time for all of the supplies was 5+ hours, not sure when I have an additional five hours in my life...thanks Lego.

But my students came through in a big way. My eighth period web design kids offered to help when they finished early. They offered to quit playing their video games and help me set something up that wasn't even for them. The next day my SEL(homeroom) students offered to help build, when they didn't have to. My Robotics kids also jumped at the chance to help build.

Our table is nearly complete and looks pretty amazing. Proud teacher moments, is a complete understatement.

In nearly every class at least 10 students asked if I was sick. I would have a dainty horrible coughing fit and more students would ask if I was okay. Even my most talkative student in the dreaded 7th period told me she was going to be quiet today so I could rest my voice. So many times kids get a bad rap for not being considerate or caring, but I can tell you without a doubt my kids cared more this week then I ever would have even guessed. I even feel guilty for not giving them enough credit.

This story requires some back story but I want to remember it for years to come so its worth telling. 

Last year I had a student who was horrible, lets call him John. We did not get along at all. His AP would have to sit in the classroom with him to even get him to stay the whole period without cursing me out or walking out. And sometimes it still happened. This went on all semester until he threatened to rape a female student in the room and finally I had enough reason to have him removed from my class. 

So this year when John showed up on my SEL (homeroom) roster I was worried, I have been following my SEL class since they were 6th graders and we are a very close knit group. We didn't start out that way but I am very attached to them, and I was very worried John would ruin the dynamic.

And to my surprise it has been exactly the opposite. John has joined our class seamlessly and him and I have really connected. Who would of guessed.

Thursday we had a No Tardy Party for the eighth graders, basically if they had no tardies for the month of October they get to have a recess but if they had tardies they stay inside for an attendance lesson. One of those extra things I take on to plan, because I can't say no. I always schedule myself to stay inside with my group, so another teacher had to drop off students to my room that were staying inside. My SEL kids were not happy that other students would be there, they also are very attached to our dynamic. Not exactly sure I should be encouraging this, but sorry I'm not sorry.

This kid showed up who I have had history with before and he takes one look at me and refuses to even walk in my door. Apparently on top of being sad I am scary. John takes it upon himself to go talk to the student and get him into the room. Then when said student takes to mocking me, John stands up for me and puts the kid in his place.

Less than a year ago John was calling me every curse word under the sun and now he was standing up for me, an action that could easily hurt his reputation. I was speechless and nearly teared up. I blamed the cold medicine but really it was a powerful moment.

The truth is that my students won't always be able to guide me through my moments of panic and frustration and most of the time I will need to find my own way to remind myself that I am on the right path or making a difference. But the reality is that moments like these further cement what I already know and help me when I feel that fog taking over.

What allows you to find your own way back from the sadness or frustrations of life?

Since it is Friday and all its time to #backthatazzup and share my favorite song of the week.

I just listened to this song for the umpteenth time and realized perhaps why my kids might think I am depressed but I just can't get enough of it!

Linking up with WhitneyLaurenJenniferApril, and Doodle Bugs.

- The Babbling Box!


  1. First of all...I hope you are feeling better and I'm glad your kids were sympathetic. Second...LOVE the poem, the table and the fact that John is standing up for you! I cried this week when things weren't going my way. I don't think I've cried in over a year. I think I was just extremely overwhelmed. Have a fabulous weekend my sweet & funny friend! XOXO

  2. That letter was so sweet. Isn't it amazing how when you are down and out something like that comes out of the blue? I hope you are having better days and that table is awesome! Have a happy Thanksgiving! Heather

  3. Wow, you have a little Emily Dickinson in your class! :) How could you not perk up? I hope you feel better soon!