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Entry date: 11-22-2023 – Stupid Universe, What are You Doing? – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a rough day. It ended well, which was nice, but during the day, holy shit. Days like yesterday are bitter sweet in the teaching world. It’s nice to know you have a five-day break coming. Everyone needs it at this point, but because you have a five-day break coming, everyone (including the teachers…i.e., me) is pretty checked out.

Competing for the attention of someone who has no attention to give is deflating. It’s tiresome and you start to get greedy for that little spark that ignites a good classroom discussion or allows learning to commence for the day. My best students had it, sort of, and after about half an hour, I knew that the day was basically lost.

I believe this is where my own fatigue really set in. Sometime around when I sent my kids to their special of the day which was art. I got some stuff done, though, on my prep and perked up a bit. The kids were making things out of clay when I got back to pick them up and they were so cute and clever.

One of my little dudes made a truly wonderful little pig. It was full of detail and even had a perfectly curled little tail and tiny lines in the snout. It was amazing. He also doesn’t know all his letters yet and has no idea how do anything remotely like fourth grade work.

He’s a sculptor, though. How do I use sculpting to help him learn to remember the two or three letters he keeps forgetting? There has to be a way. Art will be the key.

We then finished Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume in reading. The kids were somewhat shocked by the ending. It’s fun to see their reaction to something so unexpected in a children’s book. I won’t spoil it if you haven’t read it or don’t remember, but it’s a sad and fun ending.

There was no fun at the ending of my day, though.

One of my students has been really disconnected for a couple of weeks. He’s been ignoring directions, barely doing any work, and not himself at all. Not that he was the best student prior to November starting, but he is smart and capable. It finally got to the point where I needed to call his mom at lunch after he failed to come back to the classroom for lunch detention.

I let her know what was going on with him and she said she would talk to him and then she sort of broke down. She told met that my student’s father had died the previous day. They were estranged, I think, because he was in prison, and she had told me during our conferences last month that the dad was a terrible influence on her son.

She shared with me that she didn’t have the heart to tell him the night before and didn’t know how she was going to tell him. I tried to support her the best I could and told her I would do everything I could for her son at school. My heart was ready to break.

During recess, I sat with him for a bit, and we talked, and he shared with me that he’s been really sad and frustrated because he hasn’t heard from his dad in a long time. This was enough for my heart to just fall into a jillion pieces. I wanted to cry. He was crying. I was trying not to cry. I just told him that I was there for him, and he could talk to me about things if he needed to.

I tried to give him something, anything, to help him know he was safe at school, and it could be a place where he could be in control of his decisions and be his best self. He seemed to like that, I think, and we finished the day strong, but every time I looked at him, I felt some of the pain that I know he is probably feeling right now.

As we gear up for Thanksgiving, this type of thing gives you a lot of perspective on what being thankful….being grateful….being humble….being human really means.

See you tomorrow.

This says a lot without saying a thing.

Bird wings are moving

away from the pain

run, sun, there is beauty but no fun.

I dreamt last night of shapes shifting like clouds

over mountains, over mind,

doesn't matter.

Go faster.

Please go faster.

Avoid the disaster.

Peace will win in the end.

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