Limping Through the Finish

Okay. I just begged my oldest son to not talk to me. The debacle of my school year is complete.

I can’t even BEGIN to tell you all how awful the last two days have been.

My third period yesterday… was horrible. They tittered all the way through the final, they whispered, the tried valiantly to see what they could get away with, and then, when they were done, they disregarded the people working next to them and shouted to the people one seat over because they are rude, disrespectful, horrible people.

And then they all came, one at a time, backs bowed, tails between their legs, whimpering for a better grade.

“What can I do? What can I do? What can I do?”

Well, for starters, you can invent a time machine take it backwards to when you talked through my lecture, laughed at me for getting angry, and said mean shit behind my back, and REINVENT YOUR DNA TO BECOME HUMAN BEINGS.

One young woman was told that her final wouldn’t get graded. She said, “Well, I’m gonna go! Bye, fat bitch!” and then took three steps out the door.

Her final was confetti before she took four. The class all gasped at the drama of it, and she came back for the last ten minutes to hurl insults at me and tell me she was going to bring her mother’s wrath upon my head.

I only wish.

You may ask why I did nothing.

Our entire counseling staff was axed because our state legislature was smoking pot and masturbating during the insightful part of their education that explained why an educated populace is required to run a democracy. Hardly any of our old staff members are returning–a lot of them NOT by choice. And graduation was yesterday. Suffice it to say, our administration building was full of miserable people doing the best job they could in light of the fact that everything they worked for this year is about to go bye bye because you canNOT have a productive and improving school system if you have no institutional memory, and thanks governor fuckmeinator, our institutional memory has just been lobotomized for the umpteenth fucking time.

These people had no room in their lives for a girl who would lie about the sky being blue and who at this moment is probably forging ahead in her chosen career in either the housekeeping or adult film industries.

Besides, did I mention she was one of twenty people hellbent on illustrating that you need a consensus of decent people before fuckwads are shamed into not being fuckwads?

No. They were being complete fuckers, and when a student from another class came up to me in tears saying, “They’re so awful. You are such a better teacher than to deserve this and I’m so ashamed that this is my peergroup,” (this is verbatim) all I could say was, “I don’t know what to tell you, sweetheart. She’s a douchebitch–she’ll get hers.”

That made the girl laugh (because a student who loved me that much would have to have a sense of humor like that) and we both survived the next ten minutes with a little darker vision of humanity, it is true.

And then there was graduation.

Now, I’m always running on the thin edge of on time– don’t get me wrong. I do understand about being ‘a little late for comfort’. However, if your child is graduating, and this is important to you, don’t you think it would be a good idea to arrive a little early? How about on time? How about not AN HOUR LATE.

And I’m not talking one or two random families.

I’m talking some fucktard decided it would be a great idea to counterfeit about a thousand extra graduation tickets, and it was standing room only with an inner city population. So, forty-five minutes into the ceremony, about ten minutes before they started to read names, there are a gazunga people coming into the gate, NO ROOM in either side of the stands, and the security police tell someone (not sure who) we should probably close the gates. Well, I was dishing out programs, and I was between the gazunga people and the fucking gates, and at this point, the cops who made that wonderful statement and instigated that decision just fucking bail.

I’ll not forget the woman shrieking in my face about how that was her baby gonna graduate on that stage and I couldn’t keep her from seeing her baby, goddammit!

And what I really wanted to ask her is, if her baby was so goddamned important to her, why in the fuck couldn’t she get there on time? Fucking seriously! But in the meantime, I had to face down a whole lot of older generation gang members (ain’t makin’ this shit up) and obviously chemically altered barely functional adults (we sweartagod let one guy out of the gates to go get a hit of crack. He said it was to get a sweater for his kid– the man was twitching when he left and hyper-controlled when he got back–we’re pretty goddamned sure it was crack.)

They eventually opened the gates (and, I guess, hoped this didn’t turn into a soccer game in the UK. I’m grateful it didn’t, and I’m REALLY glad we managed to corral all but one air horn.) That was awesome. I got the fuck out of everybody’s way.

Now don’t get me wrong-it wasn’t all bad. I saw some old students whom I love (*waves to Eric* Still wants to have hearts to hearts about organizing my writing agenda… can’t seem to keep it all straight! Of course, the DSP people are probably counting on that!) and got in lots of hugs.

Also had a lot of people demand more programs than they needed, in spite of the fact that we told them there might not be enough.

It was hard. I limped home (literally– my shoes blew out yesterday so my whole plantar’s thing was acting up) and cried for an hour. I used to love graduation– truly love it–and the acute disappointment at how painful the whole day was left a big gaping empty place in my chest. (Props to mate, btw, who rubbed my foot as I cried.)

I was better this morning, and my second period actually made me feel better about people in general. Then a cadre of students who wanted to improve their grades came into my room and totally cleaned it up–I mean, I was so impressed. It looked so good when they were done. They were grateful for the extra credit, and generally, we had a good time.

So that was great–and I walked into the staff potluck with a lifted heart.

And realized that I’d had my head in the sand for a couple of months. It’s one thing to hear about layoffs and not want to get caught up in the rumor mill about layoffs and to pray that your friends don’t get laid off.

Its another to realize that none of that works, and your friends are laid off, and the teachers you’d finally gotten accustomed to and started to like and respect and really enjoy working with were not going to be there next year.

I got home exhausted and void. I can’t even imagine how they got home.

And as I sit here and write this, I just can’t help this sort of pathetic anger. What do you want to bet that if our STAR test scores go down, they’re going to blame us and tell us that we’re doing a shitty job? What do you want to bet that if they go up–and they might, because some staff members with a heartier disposition than I have been sacrificing sleep and life force and blood to make it happen–then everybody in the state will say, “Aha! having no personal life and a heart attack at forty-five is the way to go! That’s what EVERY teacher in America should do!”

I mean, I’ve opted out of that route, haven’t I? I’ve opted to go somewhere else to get my strokes–I have no interest in martyrdom, and I figured what I couldn’t take care of in my prep hour was simply not going to get done. But then, the people who have totally given themselves to the job just got screwed, and now I’m angry for THEM. How dare the world treat these people this way?

I plan to write a lot this summer. I plan to research some politics. I want to know who to name my bad guys after.

But tomorrow, I plan to sleep in, and spend a lot of time knitting with Squish on my lap. It’s alls I gots.

0 thoughts on “Limping Through the Finish”

  1. roxie says:

    It is such a good thing that the writing is taking off, because you are sounding burned to the socket in the teaching field. Doncha wish you could have a video camera running while the douchebitch throws her hissy fit, so you could share the film with her mother if douchbitchmama ever actually shows up?

  2. Louiz says:

    Sounds like a nightmare graduation.

    I took a first aid class from one of the St John's Ambulance guys who'd been on duty at Hillsborough Stadium. He didn't tell us stories, he did tell us that he still had nightmares about it.

  3. Donna Lee says:

    I used to love teaching and wished I had gotten my certification (I was teaching with emergency cert) but listening to you (I can hear your voice) makes me glad I stayed in social work. I deal with budget cuts and staff cutbacks but so far have managed to keep my sanity. I'm glad you have the summer to find some new batteries (it sounds like the old ones won't recharge anymore) and write. Hug Squish and giggle some little girl giggles. They'll take away almost any badness.

  4. Laurel says:

    Oh god, Amy!!!! I'm going to have to swear NEVER to gripe about my educational issues to you again over on the 'zon, because after reading this, I feel BLESSED not to be in your situation! I mean, so I did have to break up a rolling around on the floor punching each other fight today over who owed whom money for drugs (not griping, not griping, not griping!!!!–and also not kidding), but hearing from you how the budget issues and idiot people running things in CA have created such a horrible situation and then the crappy kids with their TOTAL disregard for any sort of human behavior becoming the rancid frosting on the rotting cake of the state of education there, that I just can't complain anymore. My total sympathies for you. I hope that the summer of writing, hugging your children, maybe getting some reading done, and generally decompressing will do you a world of good!!!!

  5. Burn out is burn out. You can turn out another hatchling in three months. =^.^=

  6. Mardel says:

    So glad I work in an elementary school setting – and afterschool!

    Sounds like your area or rather your school has more than it's share of assholes.

    Good thing school employees get time off in the summer, or we'd all probably be inflicting serious harm on somebody (parents, kids,…administrators).

    I find that being extremely silly with my granddaughter helps.

  7. Galad says:

    Every year since I first "met" you, you are a little more fried at the end of the year. This year is made even worse by the budget cuts!

    Since I'm catching up on blogs, I already know you've recovered your balance a little after some rest. The summer beckons you to days of writing and days of doing nothing but knitting and watching the kids play. Enjoy it.

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