24 hours in the life of me…Oh, and BlogHer 08

I’m off to Blogher o8 – The Reach Out Tour in Boston. I’ll be leaving after work – luckily it is a PED day today so I won’t be too exhausted for the 5+ hr drive once the day is done.

I’m a bit relieved to not have a Friday this week, after last Friday’s….activities :)

This is what 24hrs can look like sometimes:

Underwater dust storm. Thats what the day felt like. Image by Karen Glaser (click image for source)

Underwater 'dust storm'. That's what the day felt like. Image by Karen Glaser (click image for source)

2-4:30 – Thursday
Conversations with a student we suspect of being high. Denials. Silence. Caring. Silence. He runs out. Returns. Tells the truth – he gets high every single day. More conversation. He agrees to talk to Dad. He goes home. We decide that, even though he has made a breakthrough – we can not let him back into the program. He’s broken one of the absolute rules – no drugs or alcohol on you or in your system.

HPT – Human Performance Technology. I had a test. An hour and a half of application of knowledge to different situations and a bit of definition of terms. Test was conducted on a mac, which I (yeah, I know…) have never used before. I couldn’t right-click, I couldn’t format…frustrating. Test was followed by regular class time.

7:00 Friday morning
Back at school. Happy to know that it is a) Friday and b) Day 6, which means the students have Phys Ed first thing, so I can ease into the day. Kids come in at 7:45, they get changed and head off to gym. I walk around with my list of To-Dos….

We notice a girl sitting in the hallway looking morose. Collin asks why she isn’t at gym, she starts to cry. They go into the den to talk.

8:30 – 9:00
I hear loud crying. Go into the hallway, a 2nd girl is sitting cross-legged on the floor, weeping. The den is being used, so we go into the lunchroom, where we have a couch. Other girls were ganging up on her in dodge ball (man, I hate dodge ball). She then goes on to tell me her story – of girl drama, cliques, allegiances, friendships that come and go, how she doesn’t care that she is a loner sometimes (you sure about that?). We talk some more, she goes back to the gym.

The gym class comes back 15 mins early. Got one item on the long To-Do list done…

Morning break. The drama and tears between girls continues, accelerates. There are many discussions in the den that continue throughout the day. Some try to deal with things by themselves in the bathroom. Meanly. So I cough a lot outside of the bathroom door and send girls on their way.

History study hall. I set the kids to work on old history tests and try to get my presentation finished – the one I wanted to do during my morning prep period. I’m cranky because the kids are edgy after the morning’s activities and I need a silent room. Takes longer than usual to get them settled. I type up to the end of the period, but the other class still isn’t released. 5 minutes later I go to check.

10:45 – 11:30

A girl (different one) has passed out in Science class – that is why they were late. She is out for a good 10 minutes. She stood up and fell down, hitting her head. The nurse is called. She finally comes to and we find out she has taken too many Robaxicet for her back pain. We bring her to the hospital, Collin waits until her parents meet them there. I’m with both grade 11 classes in the lunchroom. (Good thing I finished that presentation, eh?) Students are a combination of worried for their classmate and worried that they will lose some of their lunch break. It’s like herding cats keeping them in there until Collin, the girl, and her boyfriend leave for the hospital. I run to the cafeteria to get some food, come back up and sit for a few moments.

I hear keening. Seriously. Loud peels of uncontrollable wailing. It’s yet another girl. One who gets very anxious. She is shaking, has a hard time catching her breath. Shaking, crying. I go to the den with her, ask the girls who are there discussing morning events to use my classroom. She keeps repeating ‘It’s so hard’. Shaking. Another girl comes in with me, they are cousins. I ask girl 1 to hold my hands, to squeeze them hard. Girl 2 is stroking her hair. She shakes even more. She asks for her mother. Wailing. 15 minutes of keening. I am close to tears myself. Girl 2 is holding her close. Has her arms wrapped around girl 1. Tears streaking mascara down her face. I am struck by her kindness, by her non-judgmental offer of solace. The room’s air is thick, full of tears. I leave to ask Walter to call her mother. He looks concerned about me. I grab a stress ball, go back in. Her mother refuses to come, says she needs to calm herself down. Meanwhile, yet another girl (girl 3, let’s call her) works her way through her own bout of panic. She manages to calm herself down with the help of Sharon, our technician for the day (Marie was out…). I leave girl 2 with girl 1. They are holding each other and rocking, getting calm. I go out and try to get some more food in. Girl 1 comes out, Walter offers her a hug. The wailing starts again. This time I send girl 3 in to the den with her. She knows about panic attacks. She brings a paper bag to help with the breathing.

We start afternoon classes a few minutes late. I have a math test planned and decide to give it. I figure the students have not had anything they expected yet that day and they needed something they expected. Girl 1 comes in to class 10 minutes later. Girl 3 has calmed her down. She writes the test. The room is quiet. Students are working diligently. I’m glad I decided to give the test.

2:15 – 3:30
The day is done. We find out that girl 1’s doctor was supposed to call us to let us know what to do in event of panic attack. Oh well. We also learn of a teacher, a friend of ours, who is upset, torn, because she is getting married at Christmas time and the school board has taken back their offer of an extra 3 days leave before the holidays. We plan our next week. We talk, de-brief. We go for a beer.

So, yeah. 24 hrs can seem much longer at times….

It’ll be good to re-charge at a conference. Meeting with people who share my interests and goals, being reminded of the power of community, always manages to energize me. Plus, 2 nights at a hotel can’t hurt. I think I’ll treat myself to some room service when I arrive this evening.