The only way to summarize my teaching life lately is to tell you about last Thursday.
It began at approximately 4:13 AM. I woke up abruptly from a terrifying dream. Worms were coming out of my belly button. This will make sense later. When I arrived at school at 7:15, I quickly jumped into the routine of setting up for homeroom, clearing the tables for first core, and setting up the paper worm lab.
Oh, did I mention I teach science two days a week now?
In a previous post I mentioned a hybrid schedule that I’m trying with the science teacher – Mondays/Tuesdays are social studies, Wednesdays/Thursdays are science, and Fridays are hybrid/choice days. Last Thursday I assisted with a paper worm lab – students learned about independent/dependent variables and units of measurement (mm) by creating paper worm from a straw wrapper, making it grow with drops of water, and measuring it’s growth. Just when I thought I had done everything in education…
Thursday was also conference night. This was new for me, as I typically scheduled conferences on my own through the guidance department at my former school. Here, we have a designated night where parents can schedule a time to come meet with teachers, and teachers can request to see parents if a student is struggling.
I quickly learned that conferences were done on a “team” basis, and I was to check the schedule of incoming parents to see when I was needed to make an appearance. I was intrigued that the parent of one student, “Ed”, was coming at 5:30, so I decided to sit in on the meeting. Ed is classified as special ed and is in one of my collaborative classes. He is labeled as “ED”, or “emotionally disabled”, rarely speaks, and only seemed to be capable of raptor-like noises to voice his approval or disapproval. I learned a few weeks into the school year that he lost 40 pounds over the summer, and that any phone conversation with his mother resulted in the phone being taken over by his father. You put the pieces together.
At the conference, his mother seemed a little overwhelmed – she spent most of the time looking us up and down, and trying to convince us that “Ed” did in fact speak normally at home. Two of his teachers revealed that they had never heard his voice before. When asked about his weight loss, his mother became flustered. The Special Ed coordinator stepped in and explained that he had “been sick”. After they left, we learned that “Ed” had been binge eating and makig himself throw up over the summer. It was also revealed that the family are practicing Christian Scientists. I have so many thoughts on that, I’m pretty sure I could start another blog. This conference was sandwiched in between kid-who-gets-beat-up-at-home, and girl-who-does-things-with-boys-for-attention. All in the 8th grade.
Needless to say, half-day Friday was incredibly welcome and long overdue. One student asked, “Mrs. Russ, why do we have a half-day today?” To which I replied, “don’t ask silly questions.”