Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Have You Ever Lost a Day?

Feel free to check yesterday's blog for proof that *I* certainly have! Yes, yes, I appreciate your kindness- refraining from chucking a stuffed animal at me while yelling "Helloooo, McFly!" Sigh. It was a wonderful Monday, not Tuesday in fact. My brain did a time warp. The fact that I'd had a good day must have subconsciously registered to me that it couldn't have been Monday, because who has a good day on the first day of the week? Perhaps I just didn't have enough coffee.

Today is Tuesday. And I know why I'm "off" this morning. The toddler was up at 12:45 a.m. He was up at 2:15 a.m. Round three was at 3:05 a.m. Fittingly, round four was at 4:00 a.m. Daughter decided to sleep in because she *knew* Mom would come and wake her up. Didn't happen. Daughter woke ME up at 7:25 a.m. with "Mom! I missed the bus!" Who was asleep? Daddy and toddler. Thank goodness the coffee pot didn't die during the night. Cup of coffee number one was chugged on the way to school. It wasn't enough however to numb the effects of hearing the school's daily announcements over the intercom.

Imagine the dullest voice you've ever heard. Now imagine it droning on and on with a series of public-service-type announcements at 7:45 a.m., first class period of the day, at a junior high school. The counselor's statement ended with "Students, if you are being abused or neglected, know that there are people here at school who can help you. You can make an appointment with the school counselor to get help. Remember, you can have a good day, or not, the decision is yours." Followed by the principal with several announcements he thought sounded humorous (they weren't), concluding with "Teachers, please take this time to do a school uniform check in your classrooms. Make sure all students are wearing the school uniform appropriately. Check that undershirts are the required white color." Yadda yadda yadda yadda (in drone-tone). Ten minutes of mind-numbing "essentials" that frankly, made me wish I had some Kahlua in my coffee mug. Okay, a lot of Kahlua.

Who was walking in to the building as the morning announcements were wrapping up? Substitute teachers. Not kidding. Other tardy students walked by the office without signing in, and without stopping when teachers addressed them about their hoods, or shirttails hanging out. Wow, that dress code enforcement is really consistent, I tell you. Did I mention that in this very bi-lingual city, district, neighborhood, that the announcements were only made in English?

What worries me? In my mind, the dress code announcement/request by the principal (along with three other "reminders") could have easily been made via school email, at the last staff meeting, or in a morning bulletin (and so logically was only done over the loudspeakers as some sort of reminder/enforcement addressing students). Yes, the teacher in me wondered how much time was lost sitting through the babble. I also wondered how difficult it would be to get the kids on track and transitioned for classwork after getting their minds on (or off) track regarding their undershirts and possible personal states of abuse or neglect. I mostly wondered why any staff would choose to start each and every day in such a way. It was prison, not school. And the district wonders why students are disinterested, resentful, sneaky walking zombies.
When I was asked why my daughter was late, I replied that we had accidentally overslept (no, it's not a regular occurrence, in fact it threw me that it happened in the first place) to which the secretary replied rather abruptly, "well, it'll be an unexcused absence." The coffee kicked in. I replied with "that's fine, she is here, after all, and obviously instruction hasn't yet begun." Smile smile smile. It is apparently too much to ask that other adults with whom one interacts be polite. Positive. Happy even. While filling out the admit slip for my daughter, the secretary was asked by another staff member the location of a volunteer. The secretary replied "I told you, she's not coming in today until tomorrow."

Huh? Coffee. Need....more.....coffee.

I'm no Pollyanna, really. I'm sarcastic, and can be downright rude. But I know what kind of workplace I want to be a part of. I know what kind of feeling I want my children and students to have about school and their environment. I believe in the self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in the Golden Rule. I believe we reap what we sow. And yes, I believe in standards, and trying to measure up to them. I behave accordingly, and do my best as a parent and a teacher privately and publicly, never perfect, but well-intentioned. My intentions are formed by experience, wants, likes, dislikes...information. Data. The general process tends to work for most people.

Perhaps not in the Bordertown. Instead of seeing this year as one full of "lost days," my family and I will do our best to put a positive spin on things (we've learned how "not" to be, after all), and will look forward to our next military move with anticipation.

Thank you for letting me vent! I'm off to get my 100th Blog Post Giveaway photographed so I can pretend this is Wednesday and get it posted for you to see- after the eye-strain I've put you through, you certainly deserve a treat!

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