confused.

****

I know I haven’t been writing in ages. I keep telling myself you have to write. You HAVE to write. I keep getting distracted and lazy and then randomly super busy and then exhausted. The joys of being a teacher and having summer off for a few weeks and then working summer school for a few weeks. There’s too much freedom, followed by a weird schedule.

Anyways… I have to just like talk about something super personal right now. I just have to. There’s no other way I’ll be able to get the events of this morning out of my brain.

Anyone who suffers from IBS can probably relate. Every morning there is this URGENT need to go at some point between when you wake up and when you leave the house. Sometimes I’ll sit in my car and then have to go back inside my house because I fear that I won’t make it the 20-25 minute drive to work. It’s absolutely terrifying and annoying all at the same time.

Sometimes I go to the bathroom TWO TIMES before I leave the house and then I still have to go once or twice more once I get to work. It really depends on what I ate the day before, what I eat for breakfast, and how stressed out I am. Only worrying about the fact that this might be the one time you actually shit your pants makes you worry even more, causing you to feel the need to go immediately even more than before.

IBS is an insufferable bitch and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

I’ve been doing ok lately. I go once or twice before I leave in the morning and then I go again once or twice at work before the kids arrive. It sucks. I don’t want to have to go at work, but I honestly can’t hold it and I’m afraid of what will happen if I ever were to try.

This morning I was NOT doing ok. I could not go at all before I left the house and boy, did I try. You know when I started to feel like I have to go RIGHT NOW? When I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway that was more traffic than usual. That was when I started to panic.

I noticed the exit right before me has a gas station so I snuck into the right lane and barely managed to get off of the highway in time to make the exit. And then I have a praise the lord moment because there is a gas station right there right away!

I go inside. There is a sign that says “restrooms” which anyone with IBS knows is super helpful because then you don’t have to have the embarrassing moment where you ask someone where the bathroom is. I get to the door, there is a red sign that says “in use.” I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait. I don’t hear anything coming out of the bathroom. The guy at the counter notices me waiting and attempts to buzz me in. I say “it says it’s in use but thank you though.” I continue to wait.

Another customer sees me waiting and suggests I try the men’s room. Now we are approaching a high level of desperation at this point so I ask him to buzz me into the men’s room. There is urine EVERYWHERE. I mean it is all over the floor, in the toilet itself, all over the seat. I have been dying for approximately 10 minutes total at this point, nearly pooping my pants, that I consider cleaning up and doing some kind of wide legged squat just so I don’t totally embarrass myself even further. Then I realize there’s no toilet paper.

I scream in frustration and leave the men’s room only to find that the person in the women’s room STILL has not left. So then I frantically knock at the door to let them know I am here and I am here and urgently waiting. I get a huge amount of attitude and yet nothing else happens.

More time goes by and I finally hear a flush. Thank Baby Jesus. Then nothing. Then like almost a minute goes by and I hear the sink. Then the person slowly comes out. Then she gives me a dirty look and slams the door in my face. I then have to ask the worker to buzz me in AGAIN because she has made the door lock me out of the bathroom. The other customers see the whole thing and are PISSED. She was wearing a gray polo, so she might have very well been an employee. At this point, I don’t even care.

I go in and quickly do my thing. The bathroom is SPOTLESS. No bad smells, no sign of WHY ON EARTH it was taking her so long just to use the bathroom. In the 30 or so seconds that I am in there trying to quietly unload, I hear the other customers FURIOUSLY complaining about how rude that lady was to me.

I come out exceptionally mortified and then the other customers proceed to tell me they are all on my side and that I should file a complaint. At this point I know I’ll be late to work, just for needing to stop to relieve my IBS symptoms, and I am just like it’s okay but thank you for being on my side.

I leave and just have my jaw dropped the entire ride to work and now it’s like 5 hours later and I am still in total shock that another human being could be so rude to someone who was clearly in some kind of distress.

Was she in there doing drugs or having a similar experience or just taking a break? I will never know. I get that him doing the buzzer may have freaked her out or been annoying or that she might have been having a bad day. I get it. But there’s no need to be rude to other people in a situation like that.

I’m sitting here just in total shock that someone could treat someone that way.

I am also thinking it’s a miracle that I didn’t poop my pants because of such a trashy excuse for a human being.

I hope she NEVER has to deal with the terrifying urgency that comes from being a sufferer of IBS.

I watch what I eat. I hardly eat junk food. I have cut out soy, garlic, onions, gluten, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and I constantly weigh the risks of the food that I eat when I am out in restaurants. I have done countless research on eating a diet with low FODMAPS. I exercise and go to yoga and try not to stress.

Living with this disease is an ENDLESS source of immense discomfort and stress. What I really want this lady to know is that I hope she never has to feel like she will have to poop her pants in front a whole store full of customers because someone decides it’s appropriate to take TEN MINUTES in the bathroom when they know FULL WELL someone else is waiting.

I hope she never has any kind of medical emergency or extreme mortification that other people get to witness.

Karma is a total asshole and it comes for people who act trashy, but I still wouldn’t wish IBS on anyone.

I really wouldn’t.

****

Letter.

****

Dear Random,

You are doing okay. You are, in fact, doing better than you think. 

You can’t control the COVID pandemic. You can’t control how many children are in your classroom no more than you can control how many people are allowed in a restaurant. Both situations provide you with different levels of anxiety, and that is okay. 

What is not okay is totally shutting down because of this pandemic. Your family needs you. Your students need you. You NEED you. I know it is so hard. This pandemic has encroached on so many things that give you anxiety; feeling alone, a lack of stability, changes in routine that are outside your control, dying or being sick, and it has even triggered your phobia of needles. 

You did it. You made your vaccine appointment. I know it was hard for you. I know that just clicking on the link caused your to shake. However, you have a plan set in place. Are you going to feel more anxious than usual that day? Of course! Can you do it? Of course! You need to take everything that you’ve ever learned from yoga, everything you’ve ever learned from books, everything that you’ve ever learned about self care and utilize it to be a bad*** COVID vaccine fighter. You’re doing it for your students and your parents. You’re doing it so that you get to live longer and you CAN eat in crowded restaurants or go to weddings without feeling panicked the whole time. That’s why you’re doing it. 

You need to continue to make time for yourself. You have to put your safety mask on before helping others. You will continue going to yoga three times a week. You will go for more walks, now that Daylight Savings Time has graced you with more daylight hours. You will have time for this because you will leave work earlier. It’s okay to stay for a little bit, but you need to set some boundaries. Also remember, those Problem Sets you have to grade can wait until tomorrow, especially when the weather is nice. 

You are going to do this, Random. You need to be a role model for yourself and you are going to be a role model for your students. You have experienced ACEs just like many of your students have. You have gotten through it. You will get through this.

Just remember to love yourself. Go easier on yourself. Give yourself a little bit of a break every once in a while. 

Love,

Me 

****

Check me out on instagram! @randomramblings45

phobia.

****

I apologize in advance. This post is going to be pretty negative. Well, because I feel, well, really negative right now.

I kind of feel like I’m spiraling into a dark place and don’t really know who to talk to or what to do about it. I really am tired of complaining to the people around me and I’m sure they sometimes get sick of hearing about it.

Oh well, here goes.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case I haven’t: I have an extremely severe phobia of needles. COVID 19 vaccination time is literally a needle-phobic’s worst nightmare. Everyone talking about vaccinations ALL OF THE TIME. Everyone asking when you are going to get your vaccine and why haven’t you signed up yet. Work sending multiple daily emails updating you on when teachers can get vaccines or how people will help cover your class if you need to get your appointment during the work day or people even wiling to pass it on and sign people up or blahdee blah dee blah. Basically people trying to be helpful but it is NOT HELPFUL.

You know what would be helpful? If someone could invent a COVID vaccination or pretty much just any vaccination that DOESN’T INVOLVE NEEDLES. We have almost gotten to the point where we have fucking self-driving cars. People are probably going to be in Mars soon. Why can’t we have needle-less medicine?

You know what would be helpful? If people would just STFU about needles when I am trying to eat my goddamn lunch.

I haven’t slept properly in months, probably years, but the level of anxiety I have right now is THROUGH THE ROOF. And it’s all because of stupid COVID vaccines- something that I should be celebrating because it means things are going to get better, but instead I’m a terrified, anxious, sleep-deprived mess.

On the other hand, my social anxiety at work is also THROUGH THE ROOF. Yes good times. I wonder if I’ll snap, although I’m certainly trying not to.

Here’s my two cents. If you are part of a clique at work, please stop. Grow up. Just do. It’s extremely immature. Go back to middle school with that behavior. You’re a grown ass adult. It’s not that hard to be nice to people. It’s really not.

I have co-workers that I explained how I hate cliques and I thought we were friends but then I find out they are group texting without me, not inviting me to Friday lunches and eating else where all of a sudden and not letting me know, barely talking to me at lunch, getting coffee for the others but totally excluding me, walking out at the end of the day all together (which I don’t mind even though it hurts) and then NOT saying bye to me even though they walk right by my room. Basically I’ve felt like in the past month or so I don’t exist to these people, who I thought were my friends.

I’m totally hurt. I’m also terrified of confrontation, so the more I feel left out, the more anxious I get.

Tonight I couldn’t even make it through my yoga class without bursting into tears. Yet another person questioned why I haven’t signed up for the vaccine yet. I said I needed to talk to my doctor and probably needed therapy. That became the equivalent of “Oh, you’re not getting the vaccine?”

Did I say no? Did I?

Of course I WANT to get the vaccine, but it’s not that easy. And several doctors and nurses I have come across in my time on this earth have actually made the phobia worse.

Yes. A medical professional, a surgeon, mind you, was angry at me because I locked myself in the bathroom because I was TERRIFIED about him stitching up the dog bite on my face. Was the actual bite traumatic? Nope! Was the hospital traumatic? Yes!

Then the nurse, instead of supporting me, and acknowledging that I have a legitimate phobia, tells me that if I don’t let the doctor stitch me up that I am going to have a hole in my face for the rest of my life. A hole. In my face. I can’t even make this shit up. At the time I was in total panic mode, now as I reflect on it, I am PISSED. You know what the surgeon begrudgingly did after all of that? He says that he can use the glue but he doesn’t think it’s going to work…

Guess what? It healed FINE. I don’t have friggen needle marks all over my face. I barely have a scar. It’s teeny tiny.

What is my point? That nobody seems to understand how difficult it is to deal with such a severe phobia. I faint. I hyperventilate. I cry. And yes, I hide.

Because I am an extremely logical person. I am educated and understand the how and whys of vaccines. I get it. They are super important. But I am already probably a 8/10 anxiety wise and I haven’t EVEN SIGNED UP FOR AN APPOINTMENT.

So everyone, just stop. I need a beat. I need a breathing room. I need to get the courage to call up my PCP and come up some sort of plan.

I need people at work who are supposedly my friends to actually act like my friends, or whatever. I’m sick of the mind fucking games.

I’m sorry that you read this entire post, if you are still here.

I just needed to get it all out before my head explodes.

****

Critical.

****

**Trigger Warning: Suicide**

I admit it. I am greatly jealous of Rachel Hollis. Her success is something that I would kill to have. A successful company, inspiring others, multiple published books, a cute family… What’s not to love. I enjoyed her first book Girl Wash Your Face and her second book Girl, Stop Apologizing, was okay. If anything, she was inspiring with all the hardships she got through and how much pizzazz she had to inspire other women.

Let’s be honest, most of those women were white, Christian women, but that’s besides the point. My main criticism of her first book was how INAPPROPRIATE her future husband behaved. It was downright appalling. I remember listening to the first book and being absolutely HORRIFIED that she ended up marrying him. He was a total misogynistic scumbag. He did not deserve a second chance, yet she gave him one anyways.

No, my main criticism/rant today is about her most recent book, Didn’t See That Coming. To be fair, when I put the audiobook on hold a few months before, I did not realize it was a book about grief. I had heard about her recent divorce from Dave Hollis, but I didn’t realize the timing of the book would allow her to talk about it in her new book. Spoiler alert: she only talks about the divorce a little bit. I think she was in the editing phase when they “decided” to break up. In both the book, news outlets, her podcast, etc., she doesn’t even give her fans a reason for the divorce. She just explains that it’s better for her children to have parents who are happy, which is fair. What isn’t fair is that her and her husband ripped thousands of people off with their marriage conferences and displaying their “happy” marriage, only to end it months later. I feel bad for the people who got duped. I also feel badly that she doesn’t have the courage to be honest with her fans. I feel that honesty is one of the most, if not the most, important part of the self-help industry. If you’re going to be helping others, you need to be prepared to lay it all out, no holds barred. All your dirty laundry needs to be visible if you’re going to use your own experiences to help others.

This new book is incredibly painful to read. It is not enjoyable. I almost stopped listening after her painful introduction/ first chapter where I pretty much felt she was yelling at me and being super critical. Way beyond tough-love. No empathy for others experiencing the painful loss that comes with a pandemic. She basically just tells you to suck it up and work 3 jobs if you have to. No offense, I am an educator and I wear a mask ALL DAY LONG. Do you know how exhausting that is? Yes I am in more debt than I would like, but I also am a HUMAN BEING. Working three jobs is not physically possible for me right now. I am in a much better state than many people in the country right now, and I’m struggling. I don’t understand how someone DARE criticize the pain that others are going through CURRENTLY.

My main problem of the book is this: her “expertise” with grief. She does not provide the reader with any sort of trigger warning. If you have experienced a suicide in your lifetime, this book is absolutely not for you. She talks about the 5 stages of grief, which are pretty famous. I remember learning about them as an undergraduate in Psychology from a licensed Professor with a pHD. She learned about them FROM THE INTERNET. She also doesn’t understand that people can experience these stages in a different order and can get stuck on a stage for years. How do I know this? Well, she has never forgiven her parents for how they responded to her brother’s suicide. She says that her parents stopped parenting her after his death. It sounds like, to me, that her parents never got the professional help they needed nor had a safe way to grieve their son’s death. Their marriage ended and they were never able to move on. However, Rachel takes it extremely personally and clearly has not forgiven them after 30 years.

My other problem with her book is how she decides it’s okay to lie to her own kids and hide her emotions from them. There is one chapter where she says it’s absolutely not okay to rely on your kids to help you get better, which is understandable. Then, she goes on to say how she will hide in her bedroom and cry instead of being honest with her kids if she is having a bad day. I am an educator. I have a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I am not an expert by any means, but NOTHING ABOUT THAT STATEMENT IS OKAY. Children need role models. They need to be able to see you handle your grief in a safe way, not hide your grief and lie. They need you to say when you’ve made a mistake or when you’ve had a bad day.

You know how I handle the bad stuff in front of my kids? HUMOR. It’s an extremely helpful tool. When I make a mistake, I apologize about it and don’t try to back out of it. When my grandmother died and I was student teaching, my second graders KNEW about it and they made me a card. It was important for them to see that I could experience a loss, just like them. Rachel Hollis is doing a disservice to her own kids already, but then to explain to others, by making them feel shame, that it is justified? NOT OKAY.

Kids need you to be honest with them. Obviously if you’re experiencing a terrible loss like a divorce or a family member’s death or a suicide of someone close to you, then you shouldn’t be relying on your kids to help you get through it. What you SHOULD do is exactly the opposite of what she shames her readers into doing. You should tell them you’re sad. You should tell them you are confused and don’t have all the answers, because let’s face it, nobody does. You SHOULD be up front with your kids when you’re having a really bad day because they need to have a role model who is willing to learn how to handle it. What happens when someone close to her kids dies and they have no idea what to do with their grief?

She talks about the importance of therapy. Sure, therapy is super important for some people. It can help with all sorts of challenges you will face. However, therapy is not financially attainable for everyone. You know what is? Showing yourself some love. Showing yourself that it is perfectly okay if you make mistakes or you have a bad day or you don’t know what to do. You know what is attainable for everyone? Experiencing the grief as it is. You will get through it. You will! It never fully goes away, but by lying to your kids, you’re making it worse for yourself and for your children.

Remember to be honest and to love yourself, even if you don’t feel lovable in your current moment.

And please, don’t read her new book, unless you really want to. But be warned that she does go into detail about her brother’s suicide without warning you.

****

goats.

***Trigger warning- animal miscarriage***

****

Well, in really awesome news, yesterday was the two-year anniversary of me closing on my condo. I highly recommend homeownership. To be honest, sometimes it feels like I am totally drowning in bills and will never get out of this financial mess I am in.

Other times, I realize how damn grateful I am that I was able to pull this off. I mean, really! I saved up a few thousand dollars, which, at the time, would have been totally wasted on paying my first months rent, last months, security, deposit, and broker fee. (BOSTON- WTF is up with a broker fee! I found the damn apartment myself on Craigslist. Why do I have to pay someone a SMALL FORTUNE for BASICALLY DOING NOTHING?! TRIGGERED!) That money ended up being the down payment on this place, with a little to spare! That extra money went towards buying a new fridge, but hey! We made it work.

I can’t even begin to explain how special it is that I have this place. Nearly 10 years ago I was at a friends condo dreaming and wishing that I could have one too. They always say to listen to what you envy and turn that into something productive and achievable. It definitely feels nice to be able to check this off of my goals list. If you are ever interested in joining the world of homeownership, please reach out. I will share my small tidbits of information that I acquired in this process. My knowledge is small, but it is MUCH bigger than it was before I ever considered buying this place.

That being said, today I got some bad news. It was about a goat. Or probably, goats, rather.

One of my adorable students has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of several baby goats for MONTHS. Her goat has been pregnant for ages. I didn’t know how long goats are pregnant for, but it sure feels like it is almost as long as humans…

Anyways, the last time her goat gave birth her little sister got to name all of the babies, so this time she was excited. It was HER turn to name the babies.

Well, today, I made the mistake of asking when the babies are due….

Unfortunately…. the babies are no more. I don’t think my student really understood what happened, but she said that the mama goat had her babies, but nobody realized she had given birth, and by that point it was too late.

Yes, I failed today. I accidentally helped my kids realize that goats can lose their babies.

Note to self: Don’t bring up the goats unless the KIDS bring up the goats first. You don’t need to know everything, self.

RIP to those tiny little goat babies, gone too soon from this world.

And major PROPS to my student to handling the loss so well.

4th Graders are AWESOME!

****

recap.

****

I realized I didn’t explain to people what I did for the latter half of the epically strange year that was 2020.

I have to say, I can only think of one year, in my lifetime, that was worse for me, and that was 2017. That was the year my heart was broken, my grandmother died, I almost didn’t graduate from my master’s program, and I had to redo my student-teaching placement. My mother ALSO had a stroke that year. I definitely didn’t say any of this in the right order. 1. my student teaching placement sucked and I eventually had to redo it or I wasn’t going to graduate. 2. my grandmother died when I was just about to finish the new placement. 3. my mom had her stroke. Then, 4. my heart was broken. Ok there we go. Recap of 2017.

Now let’s fast-forward to 2020. I was already planning on leaving my job and was waiting for February 2020 to start applying to jobs…. Needless today, come February, there weren’t even that many jobs, even though we didn’t know much about COVID yet. I think there were like 2 jobs listed I could apply to. I started to panic a little bit because I definitely didn’t want to get stuck there for another year, after working my ass off for 2 years. It was my plan all along to leave, and I was determined to make it so.

Fast forward a month, we really don’t realize how serious COVID is… but then we find out that the school where we work is going to be closed down for 2 weeks. We find out minutes before the kids leave, on a Friday, and we are instructed to not really say anything to the kids, so we don’t really get to say goodbye. I felt like something was wrong and that I should be saying more, but I had to follow orders. I am not usually a rule-breaker. Not usually, anyways. Soon we find out it will be another week, then a month, then we realize we will be teaching from home INDEFINITELY. That email, those words. I was freaked out.

I spent my 31st birthday pretty much alone, but did have a fabulous birthday via zoom, at the cupcakes my friends sent me via DoorDash, and cuddled with my boyfriend and my cats. I taught online via Microsoft teams until the end of the school year, never returning in person to see my students or to get to say a proper goodbye. (Side note- Teams absolutely sucks but I will have to save that story for another time since this is supposed to only be a recap- and it’s already getting kind of long. Oops.)

I taught summer school online as well. We barely socialized. Zoom got super boring and people were over it. Weddings and other events were cancelled, or were highly stressful to comprehend attending. Many arguments were had if things were safe or not.

I did learn some new things over the quarantine and the months after it. I did re-learn how to ride a bike. It had been 15 + years. It was hysterical. I was absolutely terrified, but I bought one, and had to figure out how in the hell I was going to get better at something I totally sucked at. I went from being able to ride a mile or 2, to 3+ miles, to 14 miles! I’m still really slow, but I am so proud that I did it. I also did a lot of yoga online and outside, at my studio, which was an interesting experience. Nothing like having bugs crawl all over you while you are in shavasna. Yay.

The other positive thing that came out of 2020 was that I did get a new job. It took MONTHS. It was A LOT OF HARD WORK. I thought I was going to NEVER get a new job. I thought I was stuck at a job I hated indefinitely. Remember how I started applying regularly for jobs in FEBRUARY? Well it wasn’t until AUGUST that I finally was offered a job I could take. And it’s only a year-long position, so now I will probably have to complete the vicious cycle all over again, starting this February. I want to scream in frustration, but I am actually super happy at my new job and I am hoping I will be able to stay. However, I have no control over this, so it’s just adding to my stress. Don’t get me wrong, I am super happy to be out of a job that I couldn’t handle anymore, but I am not the type of person who likes uncertainty. I am also 31 and craving more stability and a job that I am actually happy at and deserve.

I did a lot of avoiding, a lot of reading on my patio. Then the weather got colder and my mood swings started to become a bit more dramatic. I’m not sure if I’m alone on this, but sometimes I feel like I am, even when I know I’m totally not. My stress seems super high. I’ve been teaching in person since September. There’s nothing like wearing a mask all day while corralling 4th graders and reminding them to stay 6 feet apart all day. It can be downright depressing, but I made it. I survived 2020. And now I’m hoping I will survive 2021.

I am hoping that I might even flourish in 2021.

I am even hoping that I can start cracking down on what motivates me to actually get out of bed early in the morning. Well, to actually want to get out of bed I guess. Right now, and since I can remember, I’ve always waited until the last possible second before I get out of bed. Right now I just lack the motivation. Sometimes I just feel lazy.

This is my next challenge for myself. It’s been years of a bad habit. I have no excuses, except that I need to figure out myself a little bit more, I think.

If anyone out there has any suggestions about how to overcome this dumbfounding habit, please reach out.

In the meantime, I need to tell you more stories about my new job and I guess I should probably tell you about Microsoft teams. Until next time, friends.

****

P.S. Follow my new instagram, please. @randomramblings45

hiatus.

****

I guess I’ve really been on a prolonged hiatus this time.

It wasn’t really on purpose. It wasn’t even something that I wanted to do. It just sort of happened.

I have really stopped feeling like myself. I don’t really know what it is… an imbalance of the chemicals in my brain, loneliness, stress, this horrible virus that’s wreaking havoc on our lives right now.

I do know one thing though, I can’t go on like this. I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed connecting with people on here. I’ve really, really missed feeling like myself.

So my goal during 2021, even though it doesn’t seem any less promising than 2020 was (so far), is to re-commit to myself. I am re-committing to being myself and doing the things I love. I’m re-committing to not shutting up. I am going to start speaking up. I am going to start searching and exploring and making solid attempts at making new friends, instead of hiding myself away from the world.

I’m going to start creating, as much as I possibly can, even if it’s 15 minutes a day, or even as little as 15 minutes a week. I’ve been thinking about how life is too short to throw everything away for some time to scroll through social media and stress out about what I don’t have.

Starting today, I am re-committing to focusing on what I DO have and what I’m dreaming of and what I need to do to get there.

Please, join me in this journey, if you can.

****

PS: I decided to take a risk and create the Instagram to go with this blog that I’ve been contemplating for like… ages. A friend suggested it and it’s about damn time that I take the plunge. It’s a work in progress & learning experience…. so bear with me. You’ll find it at @randomramblings45

panic.

****

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am in a panic right now. Anxiety is very, very ruthless when there is so much uncertainty in the world.

For starters, before all this coronavirus stuff happened, I was beginning a job search for the fall. I am extremely saddened that I could potentially have to wait another year to make such a big change, and obviously none of that is guaranteed. It would’ve been hard to find a new job, regardless of this pandemic. I feel like because of everything that’s going on, the goal I had set and planned out for myself is totally impossible. Now I am applying to whatever jobs I find, but I am really having no luck.

That being said, I am absolutely terrified about returning to work in the fall, at my current school. The state has said that distancing 3 feet between teachers/students/other students will be fine. My classroom is way too small to have all of the students there and still follow this rule. I usually have around 30 kids per class, and I teach two classes. I am terrified to switch back and forth, and I am not even an electives teacher who would need to travel between many more classes. Kids are germ-y. I love them, but they spread germs like wildfire.

When I got the flu February, the doctor told me NOT to go back to school for a week, and that was only because I braved urgent care.

When I got back to school, several kids told me they had fevers and their parents STILL sent them to school. So I was exposed to possibly getting the flu AGAIN, after missing a week of work! It was very frustrating. Now I know that the flu and coronavirus aren’t exactly the same. I didn’t fear for my life with the flu. I am a pretty healthy adult, with no underlying health conditions. So I bounced back quickly from the flu, with rest and taking care of myself. But I am an adult. I made the decision to not strain myself.

You know there are adults out there who work when they feel sick. I am one of them. I have definitely pushed myself too hard in the past. The scary part is, someone who has coronavirus might not even feel sick! And not everyone gets a fever. So there’s no way to tell if someone has the virus without the actual test, and not everyone can afford that, has access to it, and let’s face it, wants to put them through the torture. Not only that, but tests take time, and by the time you get results, others might have been exposed to the virus.

Kids touch everything. There was a camp, in Missouri or Mississippi, I think, that just reported 82 cases!! Now those kids and staff will go home, infecting their families and friends, when it was totally avoidable. First of all, I don’t understand why they were even allowed to open in the first place! Is summer camp fun and an awesome experience? Absolutely! Is it an essential experience for the kids to have in the middle of a pandemic? NO WAY. Second of all, the parents who made the decision to send their kids there must be feeling very uncomfortable with their decision-making, at least I hope so! Third of all, let me restate that this was totally AVOIDABLE.

All the teachers/staff I have talked to, regardless of where they live and work, are absolutely terrified to go back to work. I need my job. I really do. And I love kids, but I don’t love kids enough to watch any of my students get sick or die. I don’t love it enough for a student to spread germs to a teacher who gets sick or dies. We simply have never had the funding for something like this, or the basic things we need, how is now going to be any different?

I strongly believe that there is no reason to open schools in the fall. I don’t feel that it’s worth risking ONE person’s life, a child, a parent, a staff, a teacher, an administrator, a family member. Nobody’s life is worth the risk. We are all precious human beings who deserve to feel safe when we go back.

Someone made the argument that teachers and students are already at risk with school shootings. That person should be ashamed of themselves. We shouldn’t have to be at risk of any of these things, especially things like pandemics and shootings, which can be avoided if the right protections are put in place. Our children should not have to feel that school is an unsafe place.

If one parent pulls their kid out of school, then that shows that there is a risk. I know parents are doing that everywhere.

Now, I obviously have mixed feelings about online learning. I don’t know how it is effective for ALL students’ learning in the long-term. Right now is not a time where things are normal. We know it’s a short-term solution. However, if it keeps my students from dying or getting sick, then I am all for it.

These are just some of the things I am feeling as I panic about going back to work in the fall. Please keep our children safe.

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last.

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It was the last day with my kids. All I can say is, I am lucky to have been lucky enough to feel this much love, even once. They didn’t want to leave.

We played Kahoot for all of my classes. They love Kahoot, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because it’s something different or they get to compete with each other. They just absolutely love it.

One kid was happy when I said I would miss him so much because he is going to a different school next year. I felt my heart break a little bit, but I was glad he left feeling happy.

Some of the kids were probably too emotional to even say anything and left without saying a word. I’m sure they were deeply sad. Especially with how this school year ended up. I realized we haven’t seen them in 3 months! But summer will only be about 2 months. We are more than halfway. They spent more time not seeing us due to online learning, then there will actually be in total over this summer.

I am going to miss these kids though. It was definitely harder than usual to say goodbye. There was no desk cleanings, no end of the year prizes, no selfies, no class pictures, no extra recess.

It was a lot of “DON’T GO”s and trying to convince them it was time to hang up once and for all. It was getting a surprise poem from that one amazing kid that made me cry. These kids are loved and show me love and for that I am so lucky!

I can’t wait to (hopefully) hug most of them in the future, once all of this fear and worry and disease is behind us!

It will probably hit me in a few days when I don’t actually get to “see” them virtually. Then I’ll probably be super sad. Until then, I will try to hold this loved and happy feeling in my heart for as long as I can.

Have a good summer, my chicken nuggets!

❤ your chicken wing

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proud.

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I am so proud of my students today. I guess they are now technically 5th graders… It’s crazy to think about how much they’ve grown from the baby 3rd graders they started as at the beginning of the year.

Today I had an awards ceremony for them. Last year, the administration did one, but not every single kid got one. The awards were for behavior, attendance, and grades. I felt that not every kid excels in those areas, especially when I saw some of my kids sobbing because they did not get an award.

This year I wanted to recognize all of them. ESPECIALLY because of the mess they’ve been dealing with in regards to Coronavirus. I was proud of each and every single one of them for being positive and exceptional role models. I think about how when I was in fourth grade if I would have been able to handle this. I mean, we barely had internet back then, so it would have been really different. Over all, I feel like they’ve handled it so well.

I was so proud of them to begin with, but then, I was even more proud of them during and after the ceremony. They were so positive. They clapped and cheered for each other. They said positive things to each other. And they were patient as 58 students got awards all in a row.

They even played soundbites of people clapping and cheering when their hands and voices got tired. It was adorable.

Seeing these kids be such positive role models gives me a little bit of hope for the future. If these kids can be encouraging to each other, despite numerous differences and amidst major challenges, than so can us adults.

I am so proud of them today and enter into the last day of school tomorrow filled with smiles and hopes.

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