December 15, 2006

Your Crisis Isn't My Problem

I've had a group of students all week that's I've been trying to squeeze work out of all week, particulary a big project that was turned in on Monday. One student is often behind, and I've talked to his mother on the phone, too, several weeks back. He's a nice kid, and as a person I like him. He knows that, and that's why I can' get away with saying things like, "You tell me every day that you're going to turn in some missing work, yet you don't. I'll believe it when I see it. You're like the boy who cried wolf." You know you say that to some kids and they are devasted--or their parents are.

So today he came to class claiming that he was finally going to turn his work in, and he handed me a note from his mom. It was actually a print-out from the online grades we post. She wanted verification returned that he had turned in his missing work, and if he didn't finish it, he was to stay after school to do it. His trip out of town was depending on him not having any missing assignments. AS IF! Hey lady! Your kid has been in trouble most of the year and you know it. What makes you think I want to stay even 2 minutes past the bell when IT'S BREAK TIME! You're the one who made the ultimatum to him about missing his trip. Don't try to put off any of it on me!

Furthermore, she wanted me to call her TODAY to discuss this matter, and to set up an appointment for a conference. Perhaps a little redundant to call and then have her come in discuss the same things, plus I don't make the appointments for conferences--the counseling office does. There was no way I could call her. By the time I made it to the phone and had our little conversation, it would have taken a half hour. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have talked to her any other day this week. Just not in the LAST HOUR OF TODAY.

I have the student the second to last period of the day, and the last period of the day is my prep. It just so happens that I was going to be running my patooty off to do everything I needed to do to be able to leave on time. And when I say "on time," I was hoping to leave early to go to my stepson's kindergarten Christmas party (I ended up getting there for the last 10 minutes), but if not I still had to leave at the normal time so I could pick them up from school, and I was already feeling a little stressed out that that might not happen.

And it had to happen because besides leaving them stranded, we had to hussle had to drive across town (an hour trip back and forth) to pick up my husband's paycheck (can you believe his techie company doesn't offer direct deposit)--on a Friday afternoon in Las Vegas for cripe's sake. Then I had to make it back home and feed the kids and pack them up for their week's stay at their grandparents in California. Their stepsister was hitching a ride with them, so I definitely had to be back by the time she was meeting us at our house. And then when I finally got them out the door, I had to run to the bookstore for a few last minute gifts, do my own laundry, and pick up the house (which looks like a cyclone hit it) before I leave in the morning on my trip to Utah to see my parents for a few days.

So, can you see how this little crisis, dropped on my desk near the end of the day, really got under my skin? I was already preoccupied with my own issues, and at that time of day, I didn't see problem with it! Lucky for that kid, he had finally decided to follow through on his promises to do his work. I printed off a new report, checked off what he turned in, wrote a note including the counselor's phone number saying how I'd love to meet with her and wished her a happy holiday. What more could I be expected to do in the 11th hour before a two week break?

Okay...enough decompressing. Back to getting my ducks in a row for my trip!

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