Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mama Goes Back to School Part 3

Here is my report of my first day in high school.

Here are the words that represent my experience: acne, BO, zits, yelling across the room, flirting, hiding, reading, texting, blushing, laughing, kicking (desks) and tapping (pencils). Apparently the tapper thought he was in band class.

Many times I heard, "What are we supposed to do?"

And the most alarming: 39 kids in one class. 39 kids that don't really want to be there. English is one of those classes that you HAVE to take. So there is no choice. ALL of the 39 were there, just not really there. If they were there mentally, they were faking it.

There are not enough desks. Three students were sitting at a table in the corner. One had her flip flops off and was smacking gum loudly. Her "neighbor" was voraciously reading "The Hunger Games." At least she was reading. That's a good sign.

Here are words that I said during both classes of 39 students: stop touching each other, don't kick his desk, don't throw the gum wrapper, and SHHHHHHHH about a hundred times.  I sounded like a deflating tire. Do you need a piece of paper. Maybe if you like her so much you should ask her to Homecoming. (This just resulted in more blushing and laughing.)

I walked around and stood by students who were talking and laughing. I got more exercise than I've had in a week. When I stood by them, they talked and laughed less, but only until I moved away.

One girl came in and just laid her head on her desk. She got out a piece of paper and wrote a bit, then stopped. Then she laid her head down again. You could tell she had "stuff" going on. She was one of the saddest girls I've ever seen.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to figure out these kids' "stuff." And if so, I hope I can help somehow.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mama Goes Back to School--Part 2

Well, I'm glad there is a Part 2 to this ridiculous undertaking. It almost ended in Part 1. But here I am back in the saddle after being bucked off the horse several times this week.


I almost quit my class Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday--really and truly Thursday. It was all just too much. I had sat in class for 20 hours. Twenty hours in the same class. I did homework for this class for probably 16 hours. Instead of asking my kids how much homework they had each afternoon, they asked me. "Mom, do you have a lot of homework?" I just looked at them sort of glassy-eyed. "Yeah, I said, see you in a couple of hours. Or maybe tomorrow morning. Have a nice life."

On Thursday I had hit a low point. My brain hurt, literally hurt. I think it probably hurt as much as a migraine, although I never have had one. But that was what I imagined it might feel like. I could tell it wasn't just a headache, it was a a message from my brain. The message said, "I am overloaded, my message box is full. Stop stretching me." I told it, "I know, I am sorry. Bear with me for one more day and then you can have three days off." It was kind. Thank you, brain.

That was just the physical part.There were also the emotions that gurgled and bubbled over like a Yellowstone Park hot pot multiple times during the week. The thing is, you can talk to your brain and reason with it about hanging in there. You can persuade it to let a little more information in. But you can't talk to your emotions and tell them to STOP IT, THAT THEY ARE RUINING YOUR LIFE! Well you can, but they don't listen. They do what they want.  The are unpredictable and embarrassing. They are fickle. They make you look and feel older than you are, something I definitely didn't want in this class of 20 somethings.

And then there's the sleep issue that I can barely talk about sometimes. I hadn't slept well Wednesday night. My brain hurt, I kept getting teary. I was beyond tired. What was I going to do? Was this how I would feel for the next two years? Shoot me now, I thought.

"You'll get used to homework," my Mom told me. "You'll be able to do to do it faster in a while." "If you quit, I'll kick your butt," my sister told me. "You're going to be just fine," one of the professors told me. She had been a non-traditional student like me. She said I'd be able to find part time work and that I wouldn't have to work 10-hour days like full time teachers. That there were jobs out there. I began to smile a bit. This kept the tears from flowing. My brain stopped cramping so much. Bless you, Professor Rawlings. Bless you Mom and Lisa.

Friday at noon arrived. The sun came out a bit. I would have some time to pull it together.

Friday night I watched "Princess Bride" with Nathan. I totally related to Miracle Max when he said, "He's not dead, he's just mostly dead." Yup. That's how I feel. Then came Saturday with its mundane housecleaning and grocery shopping. We went to the Storytelling Festival and laughed and laughed and that made me feel better. Today was relaxing. Tomorrow is a free day. I am well again.

Tuesday I go to good old Orem High just down the street to spend three weeks with Mr. Johnson in his 10th grade English class. I will try not to let anyone know I am Sammie's Mom so as not to embarrass her. I may have the neighborhood kids down the street in my class. They already think I'm strange, so oh well. I am told I will do anything from teach the class to make copies. I do have to do at least one lesson while I am in his class.

I hope I like him and he likes me. I hope it is a good experience.

Baptism by fire.