Twas the Night Before Finals

‘Twas the night before finals; I was stuck at my table.
not a student was studying, even though they were able.
My printer was buzzing, there’s no ink to spare,
for I’ve waited too long and am pulling my hair.

My exam must be edited, for typos abound,
and my kids have been threatened: If they make a sound…
This Mama is tired, there never is rest,
and the bed will be calling if I just finish this test.

The scantrons are placed on the desk in my room.
I’m daydreaming of students whose minds are in bloom.
The pencils are sharpened, and all is in place,
If now this one teacher could just finish this race.

At the end of each school year, I must admit,
I’m filled with the urge to throw hands up and quit.
Just a few days more patience and dealing with creatures.
I can do this, I won’t scream- For I am the teacher!

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What’s in a Name?

To my beautiful daughters,

By now I’m sure you have realized that your parents bicker. We love each other very much, but all decisions are accompanied with a healthy amount of friendly discord. All decisions save one: your names. You mean more to us than any other thing we could have wished for. You are our pride, our joy, our sleepless nights (Mommy’s especially), and you are as strong and powerful as the women you were named after.

Madison, I dreamed of you years before you were born. I knew what it was to hold you in my arms, and in my slumber I called you by name. Your middle name is shared with your Grammy. She is a unique combination of love, strength, and courage. She would fight a grizzly bear to protect any one of you, and she would win. It is not by coincidence that you, our cowgirl princess, share her name. She loves all three of you so very much.

grammy

Makayla and Abigail, you were named after three amazing women. Though they left us before you arrived, you are their legacy.

Your Aunt Joyce taught me strength and dignity. She was long-suffering and spunky. Joyce shared a middle name with your Granny Bowman, who helped raise me. She was the type that thought babies were meant to be held at all times. She was my refuge. Makayla, it was with purpose that we gave you their middle name.

joyce      granny

Abby, when we learned we were having twin girls, we chose to honor the third of the matriarchs on Daddy’s side of the family. Your Aunt Marilyn was warm and nurturing. Living beside her when our marriage began, she taught me a great deal about how to be a wife and mother.

marilyn

My wish for you is that you all know that you are loved. Your names were crafted uniquely for you. They embody the strength and love possessed by women that have shaped your world. They love you beyond belief and to the moon and back.

Love,
Mommy
 

 

 

Parents NEVER Lie… Much

Warm weather has set in in Virginia, and summer vacation is almost upon us. Keeping with annual tradition, tonight we blew up the inflatable kiddie pool in the back yard and prepared to fill it will chilly (FREEZING) tap water. For the second year in a row, we pulled swim diapers on the twins and tugged suits onto the squirming bodies of our three children.

Realizing I had left my camera inside again, I settled in to watch them giggle and squirm as they laughed and jumped both away and toward the water hose. Laughingly, I learned that the twins liked the water but didn’t want their suits to get wet. Why would anyone want to get water on a perfectly dry bathing suit?

Stranger still was the educational conversation I had with Maddie. It went something like this:

ME: When we go to the big pool, should you go swimming by yourself?

MADDIE: Yes!

ME: No… (Insert explanation of why she needed an adult and who counted as an adult.)

MADDIE: (jump jump jump splash jump jump) Squeal

ME: Remember, we can’t run when we’re at the big pool either. You might fall and break your head.

MADDIE: Like a zombie!

ME: (pause… consider my answer… decide to take the moral high ground and tell her the truth) Yes! Exactly like a zombie!

That’s just how we roll.

Have Phone… Will Talk

The twins like to talk, correction, LOVE to talk… when they want to.  This is often not when I want them to or about what I would like to discuss.  In fact, we have reached the growl, whine, and stomp phase.  They favorite words are “MOOO!” (move), “eenaa” (banana), “abba” (apple), and “peet-zaa” (you can figure that one out).  The also like the phrase “Mine, aaaa mine!”  What they also can say, but often don’t, are things like “please,” “more,” and “I love you.”  (They like to wrestle, smack, and occasionally try to use their teeth as weapons of minor destruction.)

I find it strange, however, that when you put a phone in their hands, they can talk for ever, often in a language I don’t speak, but heaven help you if you try to take the phone from them.

Ahh… they are truly girls… and just think, I have three of them!

 

Please send chocolate.

photo9

(Abby at top and Makayla at bottom)

Big Fish/Small Pond: Student Entitlement

Eleven years in, there are still some things that just floor me. Looking at the general population of students at the small school where I teach, from the bottom of my heart, I know that they are good humans. They will grow and mature, become vital members of our community, and someday raise families of their own. There are some, however small that minority, who are so assured of their status in this world.

They make me cringe.

My filter, which is always worn thin by this point in the school years, has great difficulty not reminding them of who they are and where they are (and sometimes where they come from). I manage to refrain.

When, oh when, did we- a civilized group of human beings- start raising a group of children who are so lost in their own expectations of entitlement that they forget to see the value of work and sacrifice, or even determination?

Why do they assume that they get to roam the halls just because they feel like it? In groups of seven or eight? For thirty minutes at a time?

Why do they get to use the bathroom in another building just because they don’t “like” the one only a few feet away from my classroom door? When did their trips start involving being gone for twenty minutes or more, and what do they think they need to do with a cell phone while they are there? When did the expectation become that teachers are to be ok with this? Teachers, who are lucky to get a two minute bathroom break, are expected to sacrifice the content and context of a lesson so that students can take good care of their colon and their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snap Chat account.

When did it become an assumption that deadlines don’t matter? Work can be turned in at random, partially completed, and we are expected to simply put a check on it, log in a perfect score, and return it without complaint.

Who made the rule that only certain students need to monopolize classroom discussions, as if their peers have nothing else to say? Or that they should determine the topic of said discussions? And the duration, volume, and intensity?

Why is it assumed that I will award extra credit for being a good student, or following the rules, or being a human being?

Most importantly, what will become of these individuals who suffer from big fish/small pond syndrome when we are no longer around to support their delusions?