I sit behind my desk, defeated. Today...they won. I am worn out, beat down, out of steam.
I have staples holding up the hem of my maternity pants. Yes, you read correctly, maternity pants. No, I am not pregnant, in fact my youngest child is just this side of 2.5 years old, but nevertheless, here I am.
I have chosen these pants because save for the slight size differential (emphasis on slight) my maternity clothes are much nicer than my "regular" clothes. I am relegated to wearing these particular pants because our new Professional Dress Code Policy does not allow for "capri pants" which essentially eliminated 93% of my wardrobe. This addendum to the dress code left me with one - yes one - appropriately fitting pair of pants - and as I am not currently wearing a size of pants that I will even commit to writing, I refuse to buy new pants and so...here I am.
I have a pounding headache that starts on the inside rim of my eye socket and drills straight up through my brain. The only known cure is leaving this place, but I still have 35 minutes.
Mercifully, the bell has rung and students scatter from the room, for it is "Club Day." A nice opportunity for students to socialize, interact and complete assorted assignments missed during the rare and even infrequent missed day of school. This is how it reads on paper.
In reality, this period is an opportunity for students to further appall and disgust me with their foul language and gross gestures in the hallways. A chance for them b!tch and whine, moan and complain about how this school sucks because of our stupid rules.
Rules like, if you are currently failing a class (or three) you must see instructor of failing class during club time for additional help. Rules like, if you have missed four of the last five school days you are not eligible to play basketball during clubs. Preposterous.
What these students don't recognize, can't fathom is that this is the last time that anyone, outside of family, will really give a care about them and their success.
We, the teachers, are here because of them. Because we want them to become productive members of society that understand why, regardless of how nice your report on the survey results of professional development looks, it is unacceptable to bite your classmates. Why you are not allowed to french kiss your boyfriend in front of the classroom door. Why, when there are chairs available in a business meeting, one should not choose to sit on the floor and "spread out."
These are concepts that my six year-old grasps very well, but not my 17 year-old students.
And this is why - today - I. Hate. My. Job.
And why, buried under stacks of paperwork, grading, and test results that mean more to me than they do to the students, I know that I have to come back tomorrow and do it again. And again. And again.
I won't make a difference in all of them but if I can just reach one...then isn't it all worth it?