This morning was yet another "It can't possibly be time to get up already" morning. It was all I could do to get out of bed and into the shower, despite the fact that I was in bed and asleep by 10:20 last night. In the shower I got sick to my stomach, but didn't spew. I don't spew. Well, I have been known to spew, but if I do spew, it's a pretty safe bet that there was something in my tummy that needed to be expelled. Like 12 Coronas and a whole tray of jello shots (ah, those were the days) or way too much bourbon, or a touch of some nasty, nasty, non-alcohol-related bug. But it's unheard of for me to spew just from general nausea. My tummy's quite resilient when I'm not on Glucophage. When I am on it, I'm more of a spewer.
Anyway, it literally felt like there were lead weights strapped to my arms and legs, and my stomach was queasy. I briefly entertained the idea of calling in to work, but I don't have any days left to take. Besides, by the time the nausea really kicked in, it was 7:00. You're supposed to call by 6:30. So I trudged forward like a trooper. A reluctant, grumpy, sleepy trooper with a bellyache.
When I got to my classroom, there were three girls waiting outside the door. They had morning detention. They gave me attitude. Attitude at 8:00. Some things ought to warrant a good ass whoopin', but I understand that would land me in jail so I just...well, took it. (Hear that? It's the sound of my dignity dropping down another four notches.)
While the ingrates were composing paragraphs about how they shouldn't have to respect me because I don't try hard enough to help them, and because I put their names on the board and give them detentions for nothing, I was going back over my lesson plan and trying to remember what brilliant thing I was going to do in class today. I'm way off my lesson plan for the week, what with the fact that the tests never go as planned, and it's kinda hard to start something brand new on a Thursday. So I was improvising a bit.
I decided to show them a long powerpoint and make them write every bit of it down. So while the students were trickling in, I was setting up the laptop and projector, which is always a much bigger pain in the ass than it ought to be.
In walks a student from USM who was there to observe. Fabulous. I'm off my game, I'm about to do some bullshit to get through the day, and now someone's there to take notes and learn from it? God help me.
I moved the old fashioned projector-- the one with the light bulb and the fan that blows hot air-- over to the shelf, and rolled the cart with the laptop and the digital projector up toward the front. A boy who was sitting at the front table is one of the many who is never satisfied with anything. His name is JR. If you told JR to walk across the room and pick up a million dollars, he'd bitch that you didn't just bring it to him. He frequently asks to be moved to different seats in the room. I have stopped trying to make him happy. He's 15 years old, he's supposed to be in 10th grade, and he's a giant pain in the ass 90% of the time.
Well, another kid, DL, sat down next to JR. My assistant and I both have to move people around in that room so often that I honestly can't tell you who sits where, so when JR asked me if DL was supposed to be sitting there, I didn't really know the answer. I just said it would be fine. I think what happened is that I moved a girl to DL's seat and DL had to scoot over one chair. I told JR it'd be okay, and I continued hooking up the computer/projector. JR mumbled something at me, and I looked up at him. Then he said, "Well can I move over there then?" I said, "No, JR, you can sit right there and do your bellwork and stop complaining!"
They will run me to death with stupid little complaints if I let them.
Right then the student in the back asked me something, and I went back there to talk to her. Then I heard something behind me, and turned around. JR and DL were fighting. And I don't mean your typical middle school pushing match-- I mean they were fighting-- they were throwing real punches like they fucking meant it. Fight to kill. My first instinct was to jump in and pull them apart, but I got close enough to get punched in the shoulder by a hand or an elbow or something and then remembered that I'm carrying precious cargo, and I backed off. My buzzer doesn't work, so I couldn't buzz the office. Another teacher came in to help, but there was nothing we could do. Both boys are as big as grown men, and they were tearing the room apart. They went over a table, knocked over large pieces of furniture-- everything.
Of course when something like this happens, all the kids who were tarrying around outside the doorways suddenly decide it's time to haul ass to class-- whether they're in your class or not. All hell basically broke loose, and I said fuck it. I took my id badge off, handed it to another teacher, and said I was done. I grabbed my purse and hit the door. The two kids were still fighting when I walked out. Fuck 'em. Bunch of animals.
I shudder to think what became of the laptop and projector. I didn't notice, but I can't imagine it came out okay.
By the time I got to the front office I was in total meltdown mode and crying like a little bitch. I tried to call the Asst. Principal but everyone was in my classroom dealing with the crisis. I called the room, told my assistant I was leaving, then got in my car and started to leave. As I was pulling out, one of the Academic Coaches came out and waved at me. I pulled over and rolled my window down and told her I can't take it-- I can't work in a place like that and I can't handle the stress. Especially while I'm pregnant. It's not worth it. I can't do it. She told me she understood and told me to come back in and talk to the Asst. Principal and let her know that I was leaving. That's what I did, and she was very understanding. She told me to go home and rest, and to take tomorrow off if I need it. So that's what I'm doing today.
That, and finishing up that other job application.
I'm done with working in the hood. I used to believe that there's hope for them, but that belief is fast giving way to major doubts. I'm not sure it's worth it anymore to place myself in danger for the sake of some fairy tale belief that I can make a difference for people who don't care to help themselves. When I started, I was single and had nothing to lose. Today I have more at stake.