The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Murphy's Law

I should be in bed. Sleep deprivation is going to eat me alive by this weekend. I am averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep a night this week.

But I think I might have to write tonight to maintain my sanity.

Tonight really was the pits, which sucks because I had a really good day. I headed home from work at about 5pm. It had been a busy, albeit rather productive day. In addition, it was a very positive feeling day. My lesson plans during period 1 and 2 were amazing. We fell behind in both classes, but it was due to wonderfully productive student discussions and learning experiences too valuable to cut short.

 I got to congratulate one of my students on getting accepted to an elite, all-expenses-paid international student leadership institute this summer in Washington D.C. I wrote a condolences letter to another student who applied who wanted it just as badly. He thanked me for the letter and told me that the letter made his day. I was feeling really bad for this kid, so knowing that I helped kind of made my day.

I had a great conversation with a friend at work, and it made me feel a lot better about events from the last week overall. We made a lot of book money with our book fair this week, which means more books in the hands of our students, which is always a good thing. Rehearsal afterschool was wonderfully productive and actually kind of fun. I shared theatre anecdotes and analogies. We polished, polished, polished our two big opening numbers, and they are just going to be beautiful.

Then tonight... happened.

The delivery I ordered for dinner never came. An hour later, I got a call that the driver had been in a fender bender, so we ate whatever could be scavenged from my week of non grocery shopping. God must be trying to prevent me from lazying into getting take-out 2 nights in a row.

Vinny stayed up until 10:00 doing homework because he was just being so defiant and I was having none of it. It was RIDICULOUS. He initially flat out refused to do it, opened the sliding glass door, and headed out back to play (letting Tiana out with him). After much yelling at him to get back inside, he did a few easy clock activities, then stared at one question for 2 hours, pretty much defiantly refusing to just try to read and decode it himself. They were words he knows, he just didn't feel like putting effort into it and wanted me to tell him what the directions were. I don't play that game.

 I am a high school teacher. I know the difference between "I don't know how to do this" and "I don't feel like exerting the mental effort to do this." Tonight was definitely the latter. Vinny and I are equally stubborn, so it turned into a 2 hour standoff. He sat, for 2 hours, vacillating between staring at the page while incoherently sounding out non-existent words (This=Tuss, Time=Teemeh) and defiantly staring off into space . The standoff eventually broke with me agreeing to tell him one word at a time, but only accompanied by making him orally chant the spelling of each word for about 5 minutes and then copying each word about 25 times. He was crying for his last 5 or so recitation of "T - H - I - S spells 'this,'" but he learned that pretending not to know words he has know since September ("this" was tested as a sight word in September and has appeared frequently since) is not an option and will result in utterly painful consequences.

Ironically, the sentence he was refusing to read was:
"This is the time I go to bed:"

By the time he eventually decoded the sentence, he was justified in asking what to put as the answer. His bed time is 8:00, but he had, by that point, figured out that tonight's bedtime would be drastically different, so the answer to this question was rather ambiguous at that moment.

This has been a constant struggle lately. Vinny just has too much homework, and by the time he gets home, he is genuinely tired, so I can see, from a developmental standpoint, why he is declaring his desire to play and avoiding work. I can see how his little 5-year-old brain would be tired of processing after so many hours at school, and I can understand the laziness, but the stubborness is just... wow.

To top it all off, by the time Marc got home, we realized we could not find the Roku remote. We don't have any cable or anything, so without the Roku... we get nothing. I know that the last time it was used was in the living room, to turn on a show for Tiana to watch before dinner. I don't remember what happened to it after that point. We both spent about an hour tearing the house apart looking for it, but we didn't find it. I ultimately ordered another one. But what could have happened to the first one?  I am so confused. I feel like we have looked everywhere in this whole house, but then again, Tiana is a little sneaky squirrel. She may have hidden it away somewhere, perhaps even unitentionally.

On the positive side, in an effort to focus on my own stuff and ignore Vinny's awfulness, I got a lot of work done tonight.

I am so ready for the sun to rise.

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