Kitten’s Got Claws

A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.
A selfie that I took this morning right after only 7 of 17 students in one of my classes turned in the major project that was due today.

Well, we’ve reached the portion of the school year where I run out of fucks to give.

Coming up on Thanksgiving, as usual: I’m behind on grading; students are starting to realize that their terrible grades are going to be permanent if they don’t get it together; lots of classes are demanding work from students; behavior is slipping; suspensions are rising; fights are breaking out; and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a SuperMoon? (I’m not 100% sure what a SuperMoon is, exactly, but I do know that teenagers–like werewolves–react badly to full moons. I am not making this up. Ask any teacher.)

So I spent most of today irritated and full of rage. Which I try to contain. But I know for a fact that I get a little bit snappy. 

Yeah, that’s not a uniform sweater, which I tell you daily, so go ahead and take that back to your locker. Without whining about it. Thanks.

Yeah, school’s over in ten minutes, but give me your phone. No, you can’t go to the bathroom. No, you can’t go to your locker. Sit down. I’ll hang onto the phone.

Hey, kids talking while I’m talking, is there a problem? (Hint: There’s about to be, if y’all don’t shut up.)

And then the kid who LITERALLY ran away from me when he realized I was about to ask him (for literally the sixth time in two days) where his nametag was.

It’s sort of like PMS, in that it happens regularly but I always forget it’s coming until I realize it’s happening: November means rage and a complete lack of patience. I watch myself being a jerk as if through someone else’s eyes. I go vent to my classroom neighbor in between classes and he just nods sadly. (He tends to say he’s drowning; I tend to threaten to set fire to things. We’re like yin and yang that way, I guess.)

Maybe I just need to eat more chocolate?

Most years I try to come up with a mantra or focus to get past it. Often that means watching cat videos on YouTube until the urge to kill subsides. Pretty sure I only got through my third year of teaching thanks to Parry Gripp.

One year I literally printed out this image of Will Smith as The Fresh Prince and taped it to my clipboard:

Because I was trying desperately to achieve Will’s insouciant air and Zen-like state of IDGAF (not the denim hat, though; he’s on his own with that).

The worst thing is–I know a good deal of my frustration is my own fault: if I didn’t feel like I was running out of time to help these kids learn, it wouldn’t be a problem. And if I didn’t feel like helping them was literally critical to their lives, then I could just let it go.

But, being the tightly-wound maniac that I am…

I just need to keep reminding myself of one of my own most important mantras:

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

And you can grab the horse’s head, and shove it underwater, and hold it there until it drowns…

…but you can’t make it drink.

On the plus side, I have developed better resources for self-care over the years.  It’s all that healthy stuff: exercise, talking to friends, reading, healthy home-cooked meals…

Or getting more sleep. Speaking of which… goodnight, everybody!

Tomorrow’s a new day.

I’ll try to keep my cool while I lead these little ponies to the fire hose of wisdom I’ll be pointing at them.

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