Official diagnosis— crazy (mouse saga part 2)

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

I entered my classroom at 7am ready with elbow length rubber gloves, bleach-infused cleaner, and a roll of paper towels.

It was time to disinfect and re-claim my desk drawers. I felt like a Bad Ass Martha Stewart.

I removed the drawers, hoisted them onto a front desk, pulled the trash can close by and prepared to remove all rodent feces and urine.

After the first few paper towels, I heard it.

*scritch, scritch*

*scritch*

Behind my mini fridge, a brown blur disappeared.

Are you fucking kidding me? Not today, sir, NOT TODAY!

Then it ran behind an empty cardboard box.

Without thinking, I pushed the box against the wall to trap the bastard.

Its little head stuck out from behind the box, its beady eyes watching me.

I was on prep, alone, and shouted for help. And shouted again. And again.

No one came.

I grabbed a hold of my phone with one hand and called the office and my work wife.

“I need you! I have the mouse trapped!”

But when people came, and set up traps on both side of the box, I pulled the box away from the wall, and Dasher fell over sideways. Dead.

And then I cried.

My principal wrapped him in a plastic bag and there were only 8 minutes until my prep was over and classes would begin.

It was the only time I have been grateful for standardized testing because I could get the kids started and just zone out.

I was numb the rest of the day, grossed out, sad, disgusted, panicked, depressed.

I slept horribly that night, but returned the next morning to finish cleaning.

Halfway into it, my arms started burning and a rash appeared.

In exasperation, I trotted to the office to evoke sympathy for my NEW calamity, when our Health Occupations teacher, an RN, took one look and said, “That looks like a strep rash. I’d go get tested.”

I needed no further prodding. I grabbed my stuff, arranged for a sub and left.

Then my brain took its twisted journey into crazy-ville.

What if I have something from inhaling the spores from the shit and piss? Hantavirus– potentially fatal. Leptospirosis. Lasso Fever. Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis!!

Maybe I should go to the ER! Maybe I need to call Bill! Am I dying because of mouse shit?

I decided that the normal thing to do was go to urgent care first and then they would probably admit me or send me to the ER to treat me. Wow–thank goodness I was informed about this ahead of time! I could save the doctors all kinds of time by explaining my exposure and symptoms and history and could avoid death!

But this is how the convo went.

Doctor (kind of? I still think he might have been an imposter): Well, you’re not 9 years old, so I don’t think it’s a strep rash and if you’re worried about mouse droppings then you might as well never eat at a restaurant or drink a canned soda or eat canned food because they’ve all been contaminated by mouse droppings, and the only thing you can catch from rodents is the plague, and we wiped that out hundreds of years ago.

Me: (internally shouting) What about hantavirus, huh? What about leptospirosis? (actually verbalized): You’re not helping me by saying that.

“Doctor”: Well, we’ll swab you just to put your mind at ease, but I really think you’re fine.

I got swabbed, but the “test”was complete in less than a minute.

“Doctor”: All normal! Go home and rest.

Me: (embarrassed and ashamed): ok…

I went home exhausted and developed a migraine that put me out for another day.

The only bright spot was that Bill came home with a bag full of presents.

Mouse traps.

The twelve days of Christmas— teacher style

It’s hell for just about all classroom teachers right now. The kids are insane, the classroom heaters are either blowing 97 or 7 degrees, administrators are trying to squeeze in evaluations, and the school board took away the secret Valium lick in the teacher’s lounge.

So for all of my fellow teachers, here is a little song to help you make it to the break. Because vodka doesn’t translate in this format. And because no one has time for the full thing, here’s the countdown from twelve. Enjoy!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my students gave to me: twelve new gray hairs

Eleven whiny whiners

Ten tardy passes

Nine late assignments

Eight stomach ulcers

Seven hours of grading

Six stupid questions

Nasty stomach flu!

Four copied papers

Three parent emails

Two eyes a twitching

And a headache that needs some Aleve!

Hang in there, everyone!

My Christmas list is too fucking long

I am brain fried. Mentally spent, physically exhausted.

All because of this list:

This is everything that will need to be done in the next two weeks.

I just finished 120 essays tests for English 11, and I’m numb. Many kids did well, but for some kids it’s like they weren’t even in class for the last two weeks. So the emotional roller coaster of “They got it!” to “What the FUCK??” has been running all weekend.

And now I’m nauseous. With heart burn.

My fellow teachers can relate. We’re all desperately trying to wrap things up before the two week break because once we come back, exams start seven days later.

And some of the kids are driving me insane.

“Umm, I’m going to be gone that week before break because that’s when we’re going to Jamaica, so can I have my work?”

Umm, no because I don’t have my shit together enough to even know what we’re doing tomorrow. And let’s be honest. You’re not going to do it anyway.

“I was absent. Can I get my work?”

Absent?!? I think you mean truant. You’ve been out 38 days. And now your 16% has finally caught your attention and you want to make up all the work? Good luck.

*explosive sigh* “Why don’t we ever do anything fun? Can’t we have a free day?”

No. My job is to make you as miserable as possible and never allow even a smile to escape your lips. And for the record, I never charge. Every day is free, fuck you very much.

Maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit. Maybe I need the break more than I thought. Maybe my inner Scrooge is just a little too visible. Maybe I just need a drink and a big nap.

The only thing I want for Christmas is an empty list. No tasks, no jobs, no to-dos.

That would make a very merry Christmas.

Top 10 things I can do now that school’s out

There are all kinds of lists out there for teachers, and some of mine have a lot in common with them. Teaching is a bizarre profession with a lot of misconceptions, so it can be difficult for people to understand the ramifications of making thousands of decisions quickly on a daily basis. 

Summer “off” isn’t really just a two and a half month alcohol binge, although there is plenty of that. We NEED the time off to decompress, recharge and rejuvenate so we can do it all again with enthusiasm next September.

And as I finally emerge from the numbness associated with the end of the school year, this is what I’m looking forward to:

1. Being able to use the restroom whenever I need to.

No joke. This one makes a lot of lists for good reason. Four years of college and a Master’s and I still have to ask permission to go to the restroom during a class period. And before you ask why not go between classes, well, duh. However, kids tend to stick around and ask questions after class, or kids walk in as the bell rings to ask questions before class, or you have that class from hell that you can’t walk away from for a single second. At one point during testing, there was no one to relieve me so I could relieve myself and I was desperately texting for someone to help me out. I’m looking into Depends for next year.

2. No more lunch packing.

I HATE packing lunches. My kids’ as well as my own. The building temperature varies day to day, so I might pack comfort food, but then the heat is blasting and there’s no way last night’s meatloaf is even close to appealing. Or pack a cold sandwich when the wind seeps through the cracks around the windows and all I want is soup. 

3. Eating lunch (and every other meal) whenever I damn well feel like it.

Breakfast? Maybe. Scarfed at 7:15 before first hour. At work my lunch is at 10:15. As in one hour and 45 minutes before noon. Do I really want lunch food at this time? Not really. When school gets out at 2:40 I’m starving. It’s just longtime AARP members and teachers who are clamoring for dinner at 4:30. 

4. Drinking because I want to, not because I… um… have to.

Ok, that makes me sound like I have a problem, and I do. Sometimes these kids and parents and administration drive me up the fucking WALL! So yes, I will plan to have a drink after school. I will look forward to it like a nomad in the desert looks forward to an oasis. Sometimes it’s a “You made it through the week!” celebratory drink, and others times it a “I need to forget this fucking day even happened” drink. 

5. Not having to see THAT class anymore.

There’s always one class, one kid, one parent, whatever, that constantly gives you hives and nightmares. In my case, this year, it was THAT class. Not everyone was bad in that class, but the group of a-holes was big enough the affect what we were doing every single day. I had multiple seating charts, multiple activities, and multiple migraines. And of course, this is the one class that had 36 students and every one of them showed up every fucking day. Some because they were court appointed to do so. It will take me every part of the summer to forget those bastards and regain hope again.

6. No more endless, pointless, meetings.

I realize this is true in most professions. The word “meeting” is synonymous with “time you won’t get back.” In education, they seem to always take the last Professional Development day to go through an insane amount of training about a process you won’t see or think about again for the next several months. This year it was how to use data from ability tests that were given in the FALL. Excellent. I’ll make sure to apply that when next year’s students test, but by then we’ll give a completely different test.

7. Putting on the “face” every morning.

This is hard because I don’t mind putting on the “face” usually, but over the course of the school year it gets absofuckinglutely exhausting. The “face” is one of patience, understanding, empathy, compassion, humor and focus. I know I have to project that on a daily basis in order to do my job well, but there are only so many stories I can take about why your homework isn’t done (again), how cute your kitten is after seeing the 500th picture, what you saw on YouTube last night about 9/11 being a hoax, or listening to you explain your dreams for going to UM when it’s your second time in 10th grade English. By May, IDGAF and I won’t be able to fake that I do. I will pretend again in September.

8. Reading what I want to read, not what I have to read.

Some are classics. I will never tire of Macbeth and all the current references that play offers. Or discussing “Dog Lab” with my AP students. But Romanticism? Blech. Pastoral poetry? Yawn. “I would make you a belt of straw”? No thanks. Have dinner ready when I get home and maybe we’ll talk. And just because I’m an English teacher, it doesn’t mean I have read every single piece of literature out there including every recent book published. Summer is to give my brain a break and read mindless drivel until I regain some sanity. What am I reading right now? The Harry Potter series. For about the tenth time.

9. The alarm. At 5am. 

There is nothing worse than being up late at night, waking in the middle of the night, or just going to bed at a decent time knowing that your alarm will go off in just a few hours. It’s awful. I envy the people who are able to work out before heading to work, and I hate that I NEVER get to see my own kids until after work. Of course, alarms will be set for certain things, but if I’m up too early I can always…

10. NAP!

I love naps. I will choose sleep over food. The freedom of being able to say, “I’m going upstairs to lie down for a while” seriously makes life worth living. Ginger and the cats oblige me and it’s just the three of us falling asleep to Flea Market Flip. Best part? NO ALARM! I might wake in one hour or three. And it will always be glorious!

Sometimes I hate my job, but I absolutely love what I do. The summer is time for me to erase some of the worry lines, re-discover my genuine laughter, let loose and recharge. I cherish every summer with my own kids to slow things down a little. 

And now it’s time for a cocktail. Cheers!

It’s never a weekend off

I just couldn’t stop thinking last night.

And that happens a lot, and to a lot of people. Worries, obligations, to-do lists, revisiting the day– all of these keep us awake from time to time, or even many nights a week.

Last night was different though, because I couldn’t stop thinking about him.

He’s a student in my class, an overachiever, a pleasant kid with a quiet disposition. Many would have good things to say about him– hard working, cooperative, responsible.

But he’s hurting.

A couple of weeks ago he missed a few days. No big deal, but I noticed. And when he returned, my kidding around was met with a harsh edge of abrupt responses.

But things improved and I didn’t think any more about it. Until he missed a couple more days about a week ago.

Yesterday I had a rare opportunity. The seniors were gone so I had two hours at the end of the day to work and get caught up. 

He came to see me about a missing assignment, and since I didn’t have a class, I asked if he wanted to just work on it there so I could answer any questions. 

We both worked, he asked an occasional question, and the mood was calm and serene. During this time, another student came in to turn in a project and she commented on the lone student. 

“Aww, poor you! You’re all by yourself in here!” she said.

“It’s ok. I don’t mind being alone. Some people don’t like it, but I do. Sometimes it’s good to be alone.” 

After working most of the hour, making small talk, he finally said, “Did I tell you why I was gone?” And the way the question was asked, it was clear that he knew he hadn’t. It was clear that this was a question posed as a means to share something important. It was clear that he had been struggling with how to approach this.

“No, what’s up?”

He shared that a good friend had recently passed away. An older friend who had just finished his first year of college. It was sudden. There was no time to say good-bye, no time to say how much the friendship meant, no time to prepare. 

He shared that he always went through a mini-depression this time of year, and he had already been dealing with that, and then this happened.

He shared that he went into a tailspin, and had taken a couple of days off to recuperate. He was looking forward to the end of the year to rest and decompress after a stressful year of hard classes, standardized tests and the general pressures of being a teen. 

I never take it lightly when a student confides in me. Never.

I offered condolences and empathy. I asked how he was doing now. I emphasized self-care and said I’d check in with him after the weekend.

And now I’ve been up all night. Piecing the absences and demeanor together. Developing a timeline of events. Questioning what I said. Wondering what I should have said. Replaying the conversation over and over. Planning conversations for next week. Hoping I didn’t say anything damaging.

It’s a holiday weekend. Three days to relax and hang out and rejuvenate.

And I’ll allow myself to do that.

But he’ll be on my mind.
*Some details have been changed to protect the identity of this individual.

It’s time for triage

May. The end of the school year. The sun is finally shining, the flowers are blooming, and daydreams are plentiful.

In other words, for your average high school teacher, hell has been unleashed. 

I like to make war analogies whenever appropriate, and this is no exception. Students are in danger of academic flat-lining, and we’re facing yet another mass casualty situation.

This is when the panicked questions begin.

“Is there any extra credit?” 

“What do you mean that project was due?”

“I was on vacation all last week. What did I miss?” 

“I had strep all last week. Did we do anything?”

“If I get an A on the exam, I’ll pass, right?”

“How can I be failing? I got an A on the last assignment!”

My answers:

No, complete the regular credit.

Yes, the project we’ve been working on for three weeks. The one that I emailed home. The one we have been finalizing for the last two days in the lab.

Everything.

Yes.

Do I look like a calculator?

The last assignment was a participation only assignment worth 10 points. It’s like expecting to quench your thirst with a drop of water.

And then there are the seniors.

They’ve been checked out since… oh… Christmas. Some can still manage to do well and show up and care. Others have gone AWOL.

So, it’s triage time.

My classroom has a huge Red Cross on it and now everyone is flooding in to be stitched up in time to finish the year and graduate. Emails flood in from parents and counselors and students asking what they can do to pass. Most of these parents are complete strangers who have never come to open house or conferences or called or emailed the entire year. Most of these students have over 20 absences and haven’t even completed half of the work.

So the divisions starts.

Those who have a solid D and above are off my radar. I call them the walking wounded. They could likely use some help, but they’re going to make it. If I have time, or an an opportunity presents itself, I’ll give them some input and help them out.

Those who are in the high E to low D- range are my target group. I can help most of these kids in the time that I have to help them pass. As long as they don’t pull out the IVs I put in place, they have the best chance of making it. Some will fight me and yank themselves off the ventilator I provide by suddenly not showing up for 5 days, but still, these ones have the best chance.

Then there are the train wrecks. Their grades are so messed up that even if I called for a transfusion, it would take too many resources and too much time. They have wounded themselves over time, refused treatment, checked themselves out against my medical advice, and are now wanting a pill to swallow to make it all better.

It’s an impossible task.

So, when I see those teachers on the news who have duck taped students to chairs, or written “Test Tomorrow” in marker on a student’s forehead, or given an award for Least Likely to Pay Attention, I am horrified and cringe.

Because those stories could easily be mine. I’m just lucky that I haven’t completely lost my sanity. Yet.

The lounge this time of year has a macabre, twisted and dark quality. Things that we never would laugh at in September are daily routines. It’s the only way to survive.

It’s similar to combat humor.

I’m not proud, but this is how intense it is at the end of the year. We have paper chains counting down the days the seniors have and how many for the underclassmen. We half seriously joke about spiking our water bottles. We wonder what happens to the confiscated drugs and wonder if there’s any Valium available. 

And at the end of it all, there will be survivors and casualties. There will be sorrow, regret and triumph. I’ll watch kids cross the stage and know that I helped them get there, and I’ll mourn the ones that I just couldn’t reach. And I’ll spend a lifetime wondering what happens to them after high school.

But right now it’s the height of the battle. There are known and unknown enemies, and some kids still insist on detonating land mines. And we’ll all work and reach out and try to save as many as we can.

But they can’t all be saved. Some insist on sabotaging themselves. Others are in denial. And for some, it’s just too damn late.

And when the war of 2016-2017 is over, we’ll clean up the mess, the blood and chaos, and take that last trip back home trying to make sense of it all.

Until the next tour of duty in September.

Shhhh… Teacher Secrets

The celebration you had in September because your kids were finally going back to school has lost its luster. The honeymoon period is over. Now your kid’s teacher isn’t looked at as a savior for making your kid wake before noon and give the Xbox a rest. We have now moved into Blame the Teacher season. 

It’s kind of ok. I hate all the paperwork that comes home and making lunches and keeping up with due dates too. 

But before you send that nasty email or make that call to the office, there are a few things you should know. 

1. We take your kids’ stories home with us, and carry them heavy in our hearts. Sometimes we are up all night with worry and burden our spouses with them.

2.  We are always wondering how it is in the “real” world. With expense accounts. Flexible schedules. Time to chat with co-workers about last night’s game. There are days when the only adult interaction we have is co-cursing at the copy machine and trading quick greetings in the hallway.

3. We understand that our interaction with your kid may be the most positive thing in their day.

4. We might say we don’t, but we really are judging you and your parenting. Most of you do an awesome job. A few of you suck at it. Like “Here’s a free hysterectomy/ vasectomy card– use it” suck.

5. We also hate testing. It kills educational curiosity, classroom community, and intrinsic motivation. 

6. We gobble food like Ethiopian orphans because we are used to lunches in 20 minutes or less.

7. Our bladders have to get re-skinned every year from the strain of holding it for hours. 

8. We consider coffee and alcohol essential food groups. Looking for a gift idea? Last year I gave my son’s teacher a bottle of wine. Much more appreciated (and used) than a teacher mug/ ornament/desk plate/ apron… you get the idea. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll take anything. No one brings stuff for high school teachers.

9. We get that you attack us in order to mask your disappointment in your kid or yourself, but it still hurts. A lot. And deeply. And even when we know we’re right, it makes us question everything.

10. Around mid-year and at the end of the year, we adopt a dark, ER/ combat zone sense of humor. It’s possible that we have discussed which kid we would offer as tribute. It’s also possible that the plot of Thunderdome has entered conversation. 

11. We have all fantasized about taking a kid home with us because we know how much that kid would benefit from experiencing a normal home life.

12. We may not remember every single name or face, but it doesn’t mean we’ve completely forgotten. We’re just old. 

13. When we hear, “At least you get summers off,” we may chuckle, but on the inside we are gouging your eyes out with an oyster fork. 

14. We get that there are some really bad teachers out there. Make no mistake, we hate them too. Most are awesome. Some really suck at it. Like “Your license should be revoked and you should never work with children again” suck.

15. We are advocates for children first, educators second. 

We’re just human, really. We have flaws. Good days and bad. Personal lives that are often as messy as yours or worse. We will sometimes say things we regret, just as you do. We will reflect on a strategy and make changes, just as you do. 

And we care about your child, just as you do.

I Know I am Annoying You, But This is Just Too Important

After the first two weeks of school, things are starting to get into a routine. The kids and I are getting to know each other. We’re starting to figure out who we’re going to be in the class– goofy, studious, open, closed, assertive, passive.

I don’t know everyone’s name (there 178 of them), so I play a game where I spot kids in the hallway or when they turn in a paper or raise their hand and I quiz myself– first name, last name.

Yet, some I have gotten to know really well, although they might not know it.

I know that about 15% of my tenth graders cannot correctly spell “Wednesday.”

I know that there are too many who cannot write in complete sentences.

I know that there are several who are lacking credits to graduate on time.

You might be thinking, What the FUCK? High school? Sheesh.

But before you do, let me explain what I also know.

I know that at least one student is forced to care for his younger sisters every single night and that this leaves him with little time to do homework.

I know that at least one student missed classes this week because his aunt OD’d on heroin.

I know that at least one student is struggling with her cancer treatment.

I know that at least one student is having her name changed because her father has been arrested on multiple charges.

I know that at least one student has been sexually abused by both her step-father and biological father.

I know that at least one student is being raised by someone other than a parent.

I know that at least one student has been or is in foster care.

And these are the kids who still come to school. Every day. So far.

Early on in my career, I had a long term sub position with sixth graders. I was young, naive, and ignorant. I was living with my parents at the time and it seemed like every day I came home I would have stories to tell. And rarely were they positive. It got to the point that one day my dad said, “Don’t you ever have anything positive to talk about?”

And I get it. I really, really do.

No one wants hear about my pay freeze, or enormous class sizes, or paperwork that never ends, or kids who have tethers, or have just transferred into my district after count day, or are reading at a fourth grade level in the tenth grade, or have been removed from homes, or are homeless, neglected and abused.

I get it.

When Sarah McLachlan comes on the TV with her guitar and dogs and the music swells and images of emaciated animals fill the screen, I turn the channel too.

I get it.

But this is important. 

It’s not getting better. And it’s not going away.

I often get accused of being negative. Of not being “happy” or “upbeat” during the school year. When I go out with friends, I know they don’t want to hear sad, angry or WTF stories. I admit it’s true because at times everything seems to suck.

It’s because this shit roils inside me. I worry and plan and work and worry and talk and research and worry about these kids while awake and asleep. The thoughts get all consuming at times and I fall into darkness so upset that I can’t help. That I’m not good enough. That these kids are alone and adrift and without a positive force. 

And it makes me wonder who really gives a fuck about Anglo-Saxon poetry when these kids are dealing with things most adults couldn’t handle?

I feel guilty because I can’t help them as much as I should. I feel guilty because there are other kids who are not on my immediate radar who I should be helping. I feel guilty that I am neglecting my own kids worrying about these kids. I feel guilty that I am so tired and worn out. I feel guilty that I am not taking care of myself.

I joke about the vodka (I swear I’m not a lush) but these thoughts will drive you to drink. Just to take the edge off the worry and guilt. It affects me deeply and in every core of my being. And that’s a good thing, but it also fucks with me on a daily basis.

But I will try and focus on the positive. I will try and keep the worry and guilt and depression from oozing out. I will try and be as upbeat to all of you as I am in front of my students. I will laugh and engage and enjoy as much as I possibly can.

And if I start going down the spiral and it’s not the time or the place, just give me a sign. A face slap will work. A re-fill might be just as good.

I just ask for patience.

Because soon I will know all their names and many more stories. And these kids need people to hear them.

I am SO Hot (wait for it…)

I got a joke for ya– 

What do you get when you take 37 high school sophomores and pile them into a classroom with one teacher when it’s 93 degrees with a heat index of 103?

A big fucking mess.

You’re right– NOT funny.

This week was the first week back to school. The time to see old friends, meet new ones, and return to an “academic institution of learning.” Instead it was like a fraternity’s hell week.

Every day gave some new obstacle. Always present was the unforgiving, relentless, mother-fucking heat. But just to fuck with us, there was also a downpour that caught kids as they were coming into school soaking their clothes, backpacks and shoes. 

I have to give the kids credit. They showed up in their super cute back-to-school outfits, their carefully chosen footwear and accessories, with hair gelled and straightened and curled, and within an hour they were all sporting a sheen of sweat.

Every school without air conditioning was in this predicament. 

But we rolled with it, being the professionals we are. We came up with all kinds of teachable moments. Science experiments switched from simple machines to how much hot air will this dollar store fan push? Math changed from Pythagorean theory to calculating the heat index. Language arts students wrote placards spelling “Help me” and social studies participated in a Vietnam War simulation. For the record it was “big ol’ fat rain” and only some kids kept their feet dry. Vocab word of the week? Trench foot.

So, how hot was it?

It was SO hot, that my room rose from 80 degrees to 82 in ONE CLASS PERIOD.

It was SO hot, that my knees were sweating. Did you know that your knees sweat? I do now.

It was SO hot that during my prep I unrolled my yoga mat and got a free Bikram class minus the shower after.

Two out of those three are completely true. (HINT: I haven’t done Bikram in months)

At one point I was going through some Logic notes and all of a sudden I honestly thought I burst into flame. Sweat began pouring down my back and uncurling my water bottle arm was like unsticking sweaty legs from a leather seat. 

For a split second I thought I had become a Phoenix. Minus the ability to cure injuries with tears. Although my shower walls think I have a lovely singing voice.

Each day the heat brought new hallucinations. Was that a macaw perched on my bookshelf? Was the wasp circling the ceiling trying to lead us to water? Or was he like, “Fuck stinging you sorry bastards, get me out of here!” After climbing a table (twice) to kill him with my band new planner, my hair was plastered to my face and I felt like I should call it a day.

But it was only second hour.

I wonder what would happen if people with “real” office-type jobs had to work in places where it was so humid that a rain cloud formation in the building would not seem out of place. What kind of productivity would they have?

I went to my son’s open house (in another district) and of course, his school has been plagued by the same conditions. Parents looked completely bewildered as they tried to navigate the hallways. Button down shirts were no longer crisp and had pit stains. Office skirts were bunched and heels wobbled on the tile floor. Salon hair drooped and frizzed. “I wonder if it’s been like this all week?” one parent asked as we both hustled to sign up for conferences.

Seriously?

Don’t get me wrong. I know that there are TONS of jobs that put employees in horrible weather conditions all the time. I feel a pang of empathy every time I pass landscapers and construction workers working in the unbearable heat or cold. 

But fuck, man. 

I’m trying to get kids to pay attention and learn and get excited and write and think and analyze and laugh and feel comfortable in this.

And God love ’em, they were mostly game this week.

I did my best but I’m about five pounds lighter and fifty times more worn out.

The fucking weather people better be right though. 

If next week is like this I may just adopt some “new age” lessons and spend the day doing quiet, non-moving meditation. Eyes closed. Snoring optional.

If next week is like this, I’ll rent a sno-cone machine, sell them for $20 each and retire early.

Hmmm…

But for now I’m going to scrape the salt from my face, take a cold shower, pour myself a drink and enjoy the wonder of air conditioning. 

Stay cool, bitches.