There are bad days, and then there are BAD days. Of my top ten worst teaching days the Great Poop Storm of '07 is the absolute worst. So bad I didn't even blog about it- and when I called Mr. Lipstick on the way home to moan about it he asked me to stop talking because I was making him sick. I took two showers that evening.
The second worst day was probably when one of my first graders put germ x in my diet coke. And I drank it.
Then there was the day I walked into the room to see a bruised and wounded kindergarten class- the recess queen had literally beaten everyone up at the end of recess- there were ice packs all around.
The kindergarten field trip from hell definitely has a place in the top ten- puke AND run away children.
Speaking of puke, there was the jump rope field trip that ended with a lot of puke in a hot, small car.
Oh, and the day a child broke a raw egg in the classroom hoping to see the baby chicken. During math.
There was my little one with no internal monologue, when he'd curse me out in his head, only it wasn't in his head, I could hear all of it.
I'd go on, but I'm actually getting depressed remembering them all (why do I do this job again?)
But as splatypus, my fabulous co-teacher pointed out- as bad as today was, it did not involve poop on walls, there was no puke, and nobody tried to poison me.
So, it could have been worse.
Still. I was told to "SHUT UP STUPID LADY" more than once today. Once from someone hiding inside a closet. The other children gasped in horror and one whispered, "Mrs. Lipstick, that is not a nice word!" as though I didn't know.
One moment of clarity snuck in this morning when PJ and I were taking a break in a nearby office. The Story-Teller and one of my friends from last year walked by, saw me and stopped in to say hello.
"Mrs. Lipstick!" the Story-Teller declared, "I've been missing you!" (I so, SO needed that today).
"What's wrong with him?" my other friend asked, pointing at poor PJ who had just finished telling me how he didn't want to be a bear, or a beaver, or a bird, or a moose. (read PJ Funny Bunny).
"Well, you can ask him" I answered, but when PJ didn't respond to her request I said, "Do you remember when you were in kindergarten and sometimes you and I had to take breaks together?"
She nodded, slowly, remembering. She and I took a lot of breaks. There was screaming, crying and kicking back then. It wasn't fun. She had such little language and she'd just hit a frustration point and burst.
She was quiet for a moment, remembering this. Then she smiled, "I took walks," she explained to PJ. "I took walks and got water to feel better."
PJ eyed her suspiciously from his chair as though I'd planted her there to teach him about good coping skills.
She grinned, hugged me and went back to second grade with the Story-Teller.
It was amazing to watch her now and think back to how she was two years ago. Since then she's grown and matured, increased her stamina, and gotten more language. She's learned how to communicate with us.
PJ will too. PJ will get there. It may be a long, painful process in the beginning- but slowly we'll learn language, increase our stamina, and mature. We'll learn to follow directions. We'll start staying with the class.
In the mean time I need to remind myself not to use food, alcohol or shopping as a coping mechanism. There's got to some healthy stress relief out there, right?