Well, she made it.
As of today, my wife J- has 80 days of shore leave before she ships out back into the war zone that is a self-contained special education classroom at a junior high in a, shall we say, less fortunate area. If only she had the time, she could sure write a heckuva blog about her day-to-day experiences.
Instead, she spent the past 9 months waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning to make it to school by 7 during rush hour, and another hour or more in the car on the way home each day, frequently after a couple hours of afterschool meetings. Needless to say, there isn't much time left over, hence she doesn't figure into many of the wacky stories of my antics with the kids during the week.
I can assure you that the stories would be crazier and funnier if she did, because at times she manages to somehow be even more hilarious and more sarcastic than me, and as we all can tell from this self-glorifying blog of mine, I obviously think I'm just the funniest thing since my daughter attempted to murder me slowly via a plastic-snake-induced eye infection.
I must say I feel partially responsible for J-'s lack of involvement, because she often stayed up way too late to spend time with me, so she was even more dead on her feet each morning and in need of a nap once she somehow made it home without falling asleep at the wheel. "Shhh, Momma's sleeping" became a common refrain at our house in afternoons, on Saturday mornings, and on precious sick/personal days.
Sometimes she'd stay up too late not watching movies or playing Nintendo with me, but instead writing up Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), her required daily lesson plans (covering each kid in her class separately, since they're all at such different levels that they're each essentially a class unto themselves), and other various documents needed from time to time for her to be ready again bright and early (or dark and dreary, during fall/winter) the next morning.
So if, like I used to, you're ever tempted to wish you could be a teacher and just work from 8 to 3 and have the whole summer off, you have to realize that teachers instead pack a whole year's work, plus overtime, into 9 months of the year, and then they get a couple frantic months to try to unwind and recharge in time to do it all over again. How someone could take doing this for 45 years is just beyond me, though I can only hope it does get easier as the years go by.
One thing that most, if not all, teachers will tell you is one big thing that would make the prospect of a lifetime of teaching (at least in the U.S.) much easier is the complete repeal or tear-down-and-rebuild of the so-called "No Child Left Behind" act, but that's a whole separate story. With any luck, our new president will hire some competent, qualified people for the key policy-making positions and we can get some realistic laws in education and other areas.
But at least for the next 2 and a half months, we don't need to worry about that. And so, after being way more excited about the end of school than any of the kids, little J- sleeps as we drift on a cloud of humidity towards noon. I'm thinking of tiptoeing over to the bed and ringing a bell sharply while shouting expletives and running around the room with the kids.
You know, to help ease her transition.
06 June 2008
Well, she made it.