Saturday, September 14, 2013

Goodbye, Mrs. Krabby

Yesterday was a rough day.  A really rough day.

I have lots of rough days, but for the most part... I can deal with them, and they don't affect my mood. 

Yesterday wasn't one of those days.

A few minutes after finishing up yesterday's blog, Jelly came outside...crying.  She told me her stomach really hurt and she had diarrhea.  Awesome!  Poor baby.  She felt pretty warm, and I figured I had some quick decisions to make to figure out how I was going to get to work, with Jelly having to stay home.

Thankfully, Hubby drove in to the driveway just a few moments later.  Phew.  Even though I haven't seen him all week, that wasn't why I was so happy to see him at that moment.  I was happy because I didn't have to worry about getting to work, and I knew she'd be taken care of without me.

So, I got Jelly nestled comfortably on the couch with her favorite TV show...and left for my day.

And just to make myself perfectly clear...I wasn't just worried about having to miss work.  I would love to stay home with my kiddos when they are sick.  But, the truth is, I absolutely HATE missing work.  It's one of the reasons I'm so happy that Hubby works 3rd shift.  So, I don't have to worry about deciding whether to miss work.  I always hate it when my kids are sick, because I know that they all want Momma around to make them feel better.  But, he's just as good at doing the job as I am.  It takes a load off of my mind knowing that she's with him if I can't be there.

Anywho, I am able to leave and get to work.

I was exhausted.  No doubt about that.  As I was driving to work it hit me that the last time I saw Hubby was last Sunday.  It hit me that I've only been home long enough each day since last Sunday to sleep for a couple of hours, and then it was up and out again. It hit me that I've been so busy with games and running off after work that my classroom had been turned in to a wreck site...and it all just filled up my stress meter.

To make matters worse, my kiddos were super charged with Friday Fever.  They came bustling in to the room, and were super loud.  I got them quiet, and started our math... but the math time really did a number on me.  One thing I really have to work on with my students is their organization.  

On the first day of school, they were all given folders to keep their work in.  A math folder.  A reading folder.  A social studies and science folder.  And a homework folder.  Should be pretty easy to keep stuff organized, right?  What I've learned is that it's much easier for them to shove a paper in to the first folder that's available.  And then, when it's time to pull out a paper, most of them can't find it because they have no idea which folder it's in.  I decided to spend the first few minutes of math trying to get them more organized... but it was a disaster.  It just ended up getting me frustrated and cranky.

I just told myself to let it go, and try and get as much math in as possible in the short amount of time we had left.  But, with Friday Fever comes a lack of being able to follow directions.  What should have been a fun, coloring math activity, ended up being a constant string of students asking for another sheet because they'd messed up the first one, or continuous requests for me to repeat the same instructions over, and over, and over again.

And by 9:30.. my alter ego:  Mrs. Krabby, had awoken.

One thing I did do is remind myself that I was feeling so crabby because I was so tired.  It wasn't the students' fault.  I was overreacting much more than I normally would because of my own stress and exhaustion.  I figured it was best to just move on, and let it go.

But, the same string of "I can't find my work", "what paper do we need?", and "what am I supposed to do, again?" followed in to our reading time.  It just so happened to be the day I was giving a spelling test and a grammar test...tests mean silence while people are working.  But, Friday Fever made that almost impossible.  No matter how many times I told them there was no talking while people were still working on their tests, they still talked.

I will point out that this time last year, I would have probably exploded.  There would be yelling.  There would be dishing out of missed recess time.  There would be tears from those students who were doing what they were supposed to be doing, and felt like they had upset me.

Apparently, I'm not that Mrs. Krabby anymore.  I've learned that yelling doesn't get me anywhere.  Besides, after facing a class full of students that were terrified of me on Day One, I had made myself the promise that I would prove to these kids that I wasn't who they thought I was.

I've learned that to directly impact a student isn't through yelling, it's by putting on my "sad face" and sharing disappointment.

Gets 'em every time!

Although, this time it wasn't an act.  For the first time this school year, I could have burst in to tears.  I was so frustrated and upset...that it took everything inside of me to not let my emotions come flooding out of me.  I gave them a talking to, hiding my true emotions, the best that I could.

By the time it was time to head to lunch, I had received several apologies for their rowdiness and inability to follow directions.  And I was able to spend my lunch time taking several deep breaths, letting go of the desire to break down in to a pool of flowing tears, and telling myself over and over again that in a few short hours the week would be over.

The afternoon was much better.  Even though the kids had been super rowdy in their specials class, I let it go.  I gave them a stern talking to about representing our class when away from me, and that I wouldn't tolerate bad behavior when they were with another teacher... but a few words from our awesome janitor on the way back to class made me take a step back and just let the talking to be enough.

"They can't be perfect all the time."

He's absolutely right.  

They were ready for the day to be over just as much as I was...and they were excited about it.  I get that.  I was excited, too.  So, I decided that for the remainder of the day, we were going to have some fun...and end the day with a bang.

And that's exactly what happened.  We watched a science video, the kids worked on their handouts, they talked but kept their discussions down to a dull roar.  I worked with a group of students, and we laughed and joked around.

I got a big dose of the medicine I needed.  That was the reminder that when times are tough, there's no better medicine than laughter.  And to see 18 adorable faces enjoying their lesson, working hard, and having fun in the process - I know I'm doing something right.  

I'm really starting to see how much I've grown since last year.  I'm still not perfect - never will be - but I've grown.  I know that my kiddos are counting on me to guide them, nurture them, and show them how to do things.  They are counting on me to lift them up when they are struggling, point them in the direction of success, and make them responsible for their own learning.  

We are only in a few weeks...and I can't expect them to have it just yet.  It will come.  I have an amazing group of kiddos.  They are starting to learn a lot about me, and I them.  

At the end of the day, no matter how tired or stressed or grumpy I am...being in my classroom makes everything right in the world.  

And Mrs. Krabby was gone....just like that.  And the day ended on a good note.

I was able to come home, rejoice in the fact that I got to sit on my couch for the first time since Sunday, and then get the sleep I needed.  

Now, I'm up, awake, recharged, and excited to enjoy this weekend.  I'm going in to work, later, to get some stuff done in my classroom... but not before spending the day relaxing.  

And that's all I got for today.


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