Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaching is not for Sisiyphussies

I am so. unbelievably. tired.  If my daughter ever asks me (and I doubt she will) what the essence of being a teacher means, I will tell her it is exhaustion.  I am exhausted in every conceivable definition of the word:  physically, mentally, spiritually, and psychologically.  When people ask me what I do on my breaks, the answer is always the same.  I sleep. 

My students, for some inexplicable reason, like to ask me if I went "to da club this weekend." My answer usually goes something like this, "No, I did not.  My weekends usually involve my husband hoping that I can make it through a movie we rented without falling asleep--which is typically around 9:30."  I feel like  Sisyphus.  Every morning I have to get up in the dark, work all day doing the impossible, come home and attempt to pay attention to my children and husband's needs, and then fall into bed exhausted, only to do it all again the next day.

Last week was ridiculous--I had to make a CPS call (the details of which I obviously can't go in to, but obviously, that is never a happy thing), "Annie," the muse for my play "How You Gonna Fail Me?" threatened me with bodily harm, and then there were all kinds of fun personal dramas plaguing me.  I happily took Friday off, went to a Barry Manilow concert with my gay bff, had a few drinks and then settled in for a luxurious night's sleep with no requirement to get up at any particular time.

Then I woke up at 5:57.


Why is it that Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. comes and I am pulled out of a dead sleep by my alarm, but if I don't have to get up, I wake up?  I didn't just wake up; I was wide awake.  Luckily, I was able to fall back asleep...and then...my cell phone rang.

"Miz Nilknarf!  Where are you?"  It was Devon.  I have no idea how he got my phone number.  I don't really keep it a secret--I have no problem with my students calling me.  I just don't recall giving it to him specifically. 

"I am out today, remember?"  I responded with all kinds of dramatic yawning.

"Well, when are you going to be back?"  he demanded.

This brings to mind a phenomenon, that I like to call "You are a teacher, therefore you must not have a life or even exist for that matter, outside of school grounds."  My first department head said that students think we are robots that are powered down for the night after school is over each day.  Don't believe me?  How else can one explain the complete and utter shock students have when they see me out in public?  Say I run into a student at the mall.  They will run to me with eyes wide and say, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"  with the same amount of astonished horror that I would ask that question of say, running into my mother in a crack house.  It's just not fathomable.  Bottom line, they are allowed to skip class, stay home from school, sleep in class, etc.  However, I am expected to be there with a smile on my face no matter what!  Consider this note I found on the top of a test students took when I was absent earlier this year. 

It's kind of sweet actually (if you are inclined to ignore the poor grammar).   It is nice to know I am loved (except  by Annie, who continues to assert that I am failing her for no reason).  Anyway, Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up May 6-10.  If you have kids in school, if you are in school, or if you have a way to contact a teacher that made a difference in your life, take the time to write them a note.  Gifts are awesome, but not necessary.  Tell them you value what they do.  I promise you it will mean so much to that person. 

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