A Minute to Myself (154)
A Minute to Myself (155)

More ENOUGH Beads

Yesterday at seven in the morning my boss came into my classroom to tell me that students have been complaining about me to their counselors. A number of students have said that I am mean and they think I hate them. She then asked, “Do you hate them?” Wow. Glad to see that she knows me. Then she said that they think I’m brusque. To which she added as a statement of fact, "well, you are brusque." Thanks for that support, lady. Some more words of how horrible I am and onto the next topic. Oh, but she did say, in a I-can’t-believe-this tone, that she knows some students like me because they give me cards, but really, what are you going to do to make them think you love them?

Honestly, I have no idea. Some days I feel like a snapping turtle; there I am, calm in my mud and then all of a sudden someone says something, or does or doesn’t do something and SNAP. I know that it is not professional to bring my outside life into the classroom, and I don’t, I don’t talk about my life, but sometimes my nerves don’t realize where they are and SNAP. The SNAP could be a tone that is not the most loving or a comment that is not the most supportive. I’m sorry kids (you boys especially) but honestly can’t you just sit down, stop talking, stop chewing gum like cows, start doing your homework, start doing your classwork, stop talking, stop interrupting me when I’m talking to ask irrelevant questions, stop talking (oh, I said that, but did you hear me say that?), start caring about more than getting out of class to talk to your friends, stop thinking that you know more about everything than me, start paying attention. (That could be an example of a SNAP.)

The next topic was about my colleagues and how she says they feel that I don’t shoulder my weight or I’m not committed enough to the cause. This stems from the fact that I had to cancel helping out at a workshop one afternoon because I had a parent-teacher conference (not for my own child mind you, but at school for a student), and instead of going from person to person to see if someone would cover for me, I just sent out an email. Now I know that that is a big no no. Thanks everyone. One slip-up and you’re on the bad colleague list. Oh, and I came late to the last department meeting, or should I rephrase that as saying I was late to one meeting and poof, I am not a full member of the team.

And with that she left.

At that moment a student walked in (can’t you hang out with your friends and not come to my classroom 20 minutes before class starts?), so I had to pretend that I wasn’t as weak as a 14-year old inside. Then a student, whose sister I had last year and who often comes to visit me, came by herself to visit me. But I was about to cry, especially after I told her that I’m having a bad day and she asked me if I wanted a hug. (I saw her today, and she asked me if I was feeling better. Sweet, sweet girl.)

Then I read an email that notified the staff at school that the mother of two students had died. (I had her daughter two years ago. Another sweet, sweet girl.) I thought, oh no, not another woman dead from breast cancer. But no, I was to find out during my break, this mother of three committed suicide. That information just made me sit, sit with new tears brimming thinking of this woman and how horribly horrible the pit she was living in must have been. Then I just sat some more, unfolded. And there I was, at the wall of ENOUGH, unable to do anything but sit in stillness.

In the afternoon I went to see two short-term rental apartments. One was nice, in that it wasn’t expensive and there was no need to sign a long-term lease. But it really was for a single person, and not one with two teenagers. I imagined the reaction of my daughters if I would take them there: it would be that mom doesn’t want us. It was so obviously a place for one. And it was far, so far from the house, and more importantly from my younger daughter’s school that I wouldn’t be able to drive her in the mornings to school and get to my job on time which would be essential since the house was not in her school district. And the second apartment was actually a wing in a lovely woman’s home. I wish I could have taken it because it seemed that we would get along so well and her daughters are the same ages as mine. But it was too expensive to seriously consider.

And today I am back to wondering how I can save myself and leave them? Yes, I know this situation is unhealthy, but the price that my daughters would have to pay unless I find a place that is really suitable for them would be too high. How good would I feel sitting alone in a basement without exman around if I feel that I abandoned them to him? Would I really be able to start healing? And, would I really be able to start losing weight (thanks for the reminder that I have gotten heavy, mom) and exercise and get my life in order if I thought about them, alone in the house or with his toxic presence.

So this weekend I will be doing the realtor’s “to do” list, and she will help organize some repairs that she thinks will help sell the house. I’m still looking for a short-term rental, but it has to fit us all, hopefully I will find it before my birthday or we will have a contract by then.

Lastly, please drive carefully. In the past two days I have passed three accidents. 



Teaching is HARD ENOUGH without your principal or whoever coming into your classroom and telling you that crap!

I so get the "I've had enough. I'm at my capacity" thing and being on the verge of tears when the kiddos enter the room and having to pull it together to get through the class period, to get through the damn day! I've had a lot of those in the last month!

And the sweet kid who tunes into you and wants to comfort you -- I get that too! Her name is Michelle. She's always telling me to be careful. To drive safely. To eat! Some kids are so damn precious.

I sending good thoughts about you finding a place for you and your girls. What makes me the angriest is that a teacher SHOULD MAKE A GOOD ENOUGH LIVING TO BUY A HOME, and we don't!

Love. Love. More love.

I'm sending you a great big hug too!

And for that desperate mother who decided it wasn't worth it and for her children, I pray to God for redemption and grace and mercy.


I'm sorry, Laura that life is feeling overwhelming. Perhaps it IS time to take your problems to work with you. I'm not suggesting dumping all your personal details on the table, but simply letting one or two key people (colleagues) know that you are going through a difficult divorce/moving on time.
Let them know when you've had a particularly bad weekend, just keep them in the loop, sort of. People tend to be more sympathetic if they feel they've been taken into confidence.
The kids - ahhh, bless their hard little hearts and hard little heads! Not exactly what you NEED when going through a difficult time, but teaching them pays the bills...
Maybe it would help to focus not on their awful, slovenly habits but rather to look into their futures and realize that YOU can have an impact and make a difference in how they turn out.
Take the most disruptive kid and put him in charge of something. Each day do something totally unexpected - that really throws them off! DON'T comment on the gum chewing cow but tell the slutty looking girl that you like her jacket or pocketbook or anything you can bear to focus on.
Unfair thought it may be, it will be on you to find ways to function during this time. And if it is any comfort, you have my sympathy, my warm thoughts, my prayers and my support.

Liz A.

I remember having certain noisy classes and never understanding why kids would act that way and how it was never in my honors classes. I did have a teacher (10th grade) who would have class outside every so often if we didn't act like hooligans. Is that considered too old for a behavior incentive? I also had a teacher whose policy was "act our age instead of our shoe size" and assign really asinine (diagraming hundred of sentences, etc.) busy work with no talking and talking meant Saturday school, which was a pretty good reason to shut the eff up. Naturally, no one liked her but I guess that didn't matter back then. Strange, only 10 years ago. I also had a teacher for every person that fell asleep, the thermostat went down 5 degrees and he slammed a yardstick underneath your desk. One teacher took Polaroids of you asleep, guess you can't do that anymore. Talking equalled teaching the class yourself for five minutes for one teacher. Those are the consequences that come to mind from high school.

I like the Rockync's point about totally throwing them off guard. You could be honest and say you've heard their complaints about you and feel it's very unfortunate they feel that way. Then go on to explain how their behavior is inappropriate, especially for college and if they improved as a whole, then there would be some kind of incentive, a free day perhaps. Or just embarrass the crap out of them.

I really hate snotty or disrespectful kids. Their parents should be ashamed of themselves.


I could never be a teacher, especially high school or middle school. Shudder.

I hope you get your own space soon. Sending positive thoughts your way.


I had parent teacher conferences last night. I'm brusque too, by the way. And it never goes without fail that some parent comes in and tells me that their kid thinks I hate them. They never like my answer, but I always tend to say, "Do you really want me to be your child's friend?" I am doing my job, I am doing it well, but if your child is disrutping my class, I'm not going to gloss over it. Sorry.

Ugh. I'm not a major hit sometimes. But I think there is a refreshing quality in just being honest. Never in my life did my parents EVER complain to my teachers that I hated them. That just didn't matter. Real life is about dealing with all kinds of people, isn't it? Some you like, some you hate, but you learn how to deal.

Luckily my self esteem doesn't rest on my students opinion of me!


My heart goes out to you and I wish the people at your work were embracing you and holding you up instead of tearing you down.

My friend got a court order to get the man out of the house. I wish that your lawyer could do this for you.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

She,thanks for your thoughts and love coming this way. This boss was the department head, she said she usually waits to talk until the end of the day but she had been busy and she wanted to make sure I started acting on this news that very day. I really appreciate her consideration (sarcasm alert). And this from a woman who "jokingly" has said the nastiest things to her students, but apparently they all get her.

rockync, I have told a few people at work, and one of those women caught me crying in the workroom the other day after making some calls about renting an apartment and finding out how expensive it is. It turns out that another teacher in the department has my same divorce lawyer, and she swears by him; she got the most amazing custody agreement. It certainly helps to know that there are people who I can talk to and care, but my life hasn't really intermingled with anyone at work, so it's caring but within the boundaries.

Thanks for the suggestions. I acted on the give the annoying kid a chance to lead tip a couple of weeks ago and it really worked well. I'll have to try the other tidbits too, and go back to that one. I'm not as stubborn as I seem, I gave up on getting the gum out, instead I have instituted a "don't know, don't spit out" policy, but they keep pushing the bubble.

Liz A., I think I'm pretty good at the subtle and not so subtle humilition part, which is part of my problem. Interestingly, my favorite students are the really annoying boys (especially the first generation ones) who won't do any work; I love to get into them until they start doing the work and finding pride in it--and pride in showing me.

When I was told I would be teaching some co-taught classes which combine "regular" kids with special ed kids I asked to get at least two honors classes, for the balance. But no, I have five classes composed of kids who hate reading, hate writing, hate English, and hate homework and my job is to motivate them all--and myself.

JC, my own space continues to be my car. But it feels good to have started the process.

D'Arcy, self-esteem, is that thing we have that doesn't get swayed by what other people say about us. No, I never had enough. I am always buffeted by the waves, sometimes more sometimes less. But that, alas, is part of me.

I am looking forward to the conference next week wherein I will explain that the boy is incredibly disrespectful and he will try to explain that the work I assign is stupid. Let's see what mom thinks of that. Unbelievable. The nerve of these kids and their parents to raise them to think they are so damn smart that they can question everyone and everything. If you're all so smart, home school them, please!

Pseudo, Virginia is big on property rights and never putting a person out of his or her home. Even when I called the police on him--twice--they told me to stay away from the home because he's dangerous. Yeah, thanks for the support.


Must be the week for teachers and administrative crap. Quality review at my school must have had my principal...(we can just call him "the prick" today...) all crazy. To make a long story short.."the prick" got all angry at me...because I proceeded to ask another principal...who is.."the greatest," her take on what she would do with a student who stole a major item from another's backpack." The fact that I asked another principal this question had him enraged....so he came down the hall, called me out of my room , proceeded to put his finger in my face, and say.."you fucking pissed me off today...how dare you.....after we decided....yada yada yada.."(at this point , I was still stuck on the "fucking pissed), and walks away and slams his door..leaving his lacky asst principal to pick up the pieces. That evening, I apologized in a letter for something I do not even think is wrong....and he responds with a letter NOT accepting my apology and ending with some BS about how in the next 4 months he will have to see if he can trust me. Let me add that I am definitely, by far, one of his top people, and have been with this "prick" for 15 years. I have an impeccable reputation with parents, principals and other programs..( I run an inclusion program in middle school) He would probably say it as well, but never to me. What is it about men with power over women? My boyfriend says he probably would have not done that to a male teacher. I say he is right. Another colleague says he probably needs to be that authoritative,beacause he must be compensating for a really small......."you know what"....I hope you are laughing...because it just may make some sense.
Laura,..I hope you are laughing...please please just try to let it go. You have way too much on your shoulders to let that get you more down. I loved Rocknyc's advice..she does sound like an old pro..and those things really do work....just tune the negative out...from me to you...sending love, some laughs and hugs.


As you know, I'm in a similar position to you and I know darn well how hard it is to keep your personal life or at least the effects of it, to yourself. I want more than anything to leave L.A. but I can't and I won't b/c I love my daughter too much to ever do that to her. You'll find something. You will. Don't give up


Laura, my heart goes out to you because you really have so much on your plate. You have been given much good insight here already so I'll say amen to their great advice and support. I send you love and hugs today. I hope that this weekend has been good for you.

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