Memories…Light the Corners of My Mind…
…And Also Make Some Nice Blog Fodder On This Freezing Saturday Afternoon.
Yesterday, I wrote the many ways in which this blog has supported me through tough times. Judging by the scant number of comments, I’m thinking that perhaps I laid the shmaltz on a little thick. (Or maybe, just maybe, that you had better plans than my sick, pregnant self on a Friday night.) (I hope it’s what’s behind door number two, but you never know.)
Regardless, all the reminiscing got me thinking about the whole Big Boy situation. (Boyfriend demanded more of my patience than any other Naughty Boy in Naughty Boy history.) I realized that while I had pumped you full of my rants, I neglected to tell you about my relatively happy ending. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe I wanted to avoided sounding like one of those cliche teacher stories who always ties things up in a neat little bow and somehow manages to save every child. Because as much as I would like that to be true, it’s not. Maybe I was too wrapped up in the drama that was leaving behind a place that I had loved and hated for so many years. Or maybe I just forgot because summer started and I was tanning. (I hate to admit it, but three may be the lucky winner. I mean throw in a fruity cocktail and can you really blame me?)
Honestly though, I still don’t know if I would say my year with Big Boy had a “happy ending.” With children who have so much damage done to them, are so challenging in the classroom and push you to your very limits, it’s sometimes hard to tell how much you got through and if you did get through, how long that impression will last. I guess you just need to keep your fingers crossed. I do know that the end of the year was a million times better than the beginning and that I hope third grade is treating him well and he is continuing to grow.
GET TO THE STORY WOMAN! (Man, can I drag out a story or what? No wonder Mr. Mimi needs to gently remind me to stay focused while gritting his teeth and forcing a smile. I’m not sure he always thinks my round about yet hilarious way of getting to the point is as charming as he used to. I figure he already bought the cow…)
SO! Here is one of my BEST moments with Big Boy.
Picture it. Field Day 2009. It is literally raining cats and dogs. The gym is filled with disappointed children and teachers, exhausted from planning the most amazing outdoor field day ever for the last week only to come to work in the rain and run around like crazy people trying to “make it work” indoors because if one child complains, just one child after all this work, they just might run outside into the rain screaming like a banshee.
I paint quite a picture, don’t I?
I am partnered with another teacher’s class and we are in the middle of a very fabulous relay race. Seriously, tons of indoor fun despite the near deafening decibel levels of my students’ screams of joy. In between rounds, my Super Colleague, in a moment of desperation, excuses herself to run to the ladies. Knowing my obsession with pee as well as my sympathy for my younger colleagues with less developed “holding it” muscles, she knew it was fine by me.
However, the second she is out of sight, her class quite literally loses their shit. I’m talking children who were three seconds ago yelling in support of their classmates and displaying beautiful sportsmanship have now deteriorated to name calling, cheating and some we-don’t-think-she’s-looking shoving. But, oh my little friends, Mrs. Mimi is always looking.
I dispense a firm warning.
We continue. More cheating. More shoving. More name calling. Wait a minute, are they calling my friends names? Oh no you di-in’t
I hand out a firmer warning and throw in a teacher look for good measure. Well honed over many years, my students know to tone it down when they see “the look.”
We continue. Cheating. Lying. Pushing. Cursing.
Okay. That’s enough. I did not bust my behind to pull off the most last minute yet fantastically fun indoor field ever to have you curse and be an all around spoil sport during the five minutes that your teacher is in the bathroom. Period.
I ask the offenders to please sit out for this round. I tell them why they need to sit out and that they may rejoin the game during our next round as long as their negative behavior stops.
We continue. I weather the angry glares and dirty looks of disgruntled students. (Believe me, I’ve handled worse from some of my co-workers.) My Super Colleague returns.
Later that day, while my friends are at lunch and I’m laying on the floor of my classroom on a pile of clean trash bags (Dude, there is mouse pee EVERYWHERE…I was desperate, but not insane. Don’t judge if you’ve never worked a field day before. I have two words for you – fun but BRUTAL.) willing myself to get up and continue with the Tons of Indoor Fun when my phone rang. It was the office. Big Boy was in trouble. He hit some kid in my Super Colleague’s class and can I please come down and deal with it.
My day was just getting better and better.
I go down to the office, ready to deal with Big Boy. Secretly I’m super disappointed because he had had a great morning. Usually days like field day, and by that I mean days in which you must have a great deal of self-control if you have a penchant for being out of control, are tough for Big Boy. But he has been nothing but supportive of his classmates, positive and a great example of sportsmanship. As I walk down the hall, I’m sad that he has apparently blown it.
Long story short….the kids from my Super Colleague’s class had some choice words about me. They were not pleased that I had asked them to sit out. They decided to shout their feelings at the top of their lungs on the playground. Big Boy heard them and asked them to stop. When they did not stop, Big Boy went to a recess aide. When they continued with their Rants Against Mrs. Mimi, Big Boy took the matter in his own hands, and beat the snot out of them.
Is it wrong that I was smiling a little on the inside? I mean he did ask them nicely and tried to get an adult involved before he decided to defend my honor.
I asked him, “Big Boy, what were you thinking? You know it’s not okay to hit other people. You could have really hurt them.”
To which he replied, “I know Mrs. Mimi. But they were saying mean things about you and it made me mad. I love you. You listen to me. I didn’t want to listen to them.”
COME ON! What am I supposed to say to that?
So, despite our year long battle of wills, Big Boy and I had a moment. Was the rest of the year all flowers and sausages? Um, no. But when I think back on my time with him, wondering if I did things right, if he made enough progress, if he really ended up having a good year, this is what stands out in my mind the most.
How’s that for a surprise shmaltzy ending?