Monday, March 31, 2008

You could almost smell the desperation coming from them

This past Saturday I was invited, by the Director of Human Resources for our district, to attend a job fair that is held in our town. It is actually a job fair for the entire county that I work in, held in the very middle school my husband teaches in.

The last time I was at this job fair was when I myself attended, and landed an interview with the principal that would eventually end up hiring me. My memories of that event are hazy at best, colored by my nervousness and the desperate need to procure a job.

Well, attending it now, as a veteran teacher pursuing her administrative degree, was a whole different experience. First of all, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people (mostly women) that were there. For the five and a half hours that I was there, the middle school gym was, quite literally, packed. Secondly, they all looked the same. Black suits, pantyhose, heels, hair combed, make up on, resume or briefcase in hand. I did see one woman in jeans and one man in a track suit. They were turned away rather quickly from almost every table they went to. If you can't take the time to look a little nice, then why should a district take the time to interview you? Finally, they all seemed so....well, desperate. Trying so hard to make themselves stand out, to say just the right thing that would get them past the first hurdle (a screening interview) and upstairs to the second (an interview with a principal, or headmaster, or director of curriculum). Which, of course, would lead them to another, larger, hurdle: an interview with a specific principal of a building for a specific teaching spot. It was an uphill battle for many of the people seeking jobs, and hence, their desperation.

The district I work in has no trouble attracting candidates. Especially for elementary education. In fact, we were clearly instructed to turn away any candidate at the elementary level who did not possess teaching experience (most of them didn't, other than their student teaching of course), unless they stood out as "stellar". Rather than permitting them an interview, we took their resumes, shook their hands and threw their papers in a box. A rather large box. I couldn't help but wonder how in the world I managed to get a job. I also decided that it was such a large responsibility to control the fate of these people. To know that their chances of making it upstairs were practically nonexistent. And then making it past the interview upstairs was also virtually impossible. I wanted to tell all of those people standing in line to choose another district because they weren't going to go past those gym doors in ours. But how do you crush the hope of someone so desperate?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baby belly

Here it is: 30 weeks today.....ten more to go!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On the cusp

You know that moment in your life when you are anticipating the panic to come, but haven't quite gotten there yet? You can see all that you have to do towering before you, but your brain hasn't quite processed it all yet so you haven't actually started to freak out?
That's right where I am now.

I kinda like it here actually. Not stressed. Not overwhelmed. Just going day to day, ignoring the to do list that gets longer, the parent-teacher conferences that are approaching. the mountain of papers I haven't corrected because I'm too darn tired at night but that need to be corrected before conferences, the huge project that I have to do for my class that is due (of course) right smack in the middle of conferences, the publishing projects that the parents seem to think is a GREAT idea to throw at teachers right before conferences that entails our regular curriculum to come to a screeching halt so every child can choose their absolute-best-better-than-the-kid-next-to-them-writing-piece and make it even more amazing so that all the other parents can read this anthology and exclaim over how amazing their children are, the weekends that are so busy you start every Monday feeling like you need another weekend, and there is no end in sight to the get the gist.

Do you also know those moments in life when you look back and wonder how the heck you survived? Kinda like my second year of teaching when I had just switched grade levels, was working on my BEST portfolio (whose outcome could potentially impact the rest of my career) and was waitressing part time? Plus, of course, being involved in a couple of this day I have no idea how I 1) survived the year and 2) managed to pass my portfolio.
I'm right there too. I can already tell that I'm going to look back on this period of my life and wonder how in the heck I did it all.

But for now, I'll stay here, poised on a precipice, blogging instead of working, enjoying the view from the bottom of my to-do mountain.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Last weekend (awhile ago now, I know) Russ and I went to our birthing class. We opted for the 9-5 one shot deal, rather than the 6 or so weeks of one hour a night on a Wednesday. Everyone around me seemed to think the class would be more helpful for Russ than for me....I can't say that they were wrong exactly, but I did find it informative.

We began by talking about the stages of labor. Actually, I lied, we began by doing one of those cheesy interview the people next to you to discover what you can about them and then introduce them to the rest of the class. Amazing how quickly you are introduced as boy or girl/ due date/is the nursery decorated/do you have a name picked out. Rather than age, job, where you live etc. Then we started learning about the stages of labor. This was the part I found most interesting--learning about the contractions, how far along they have to be before you call the doctor, what the early stages and signs are, when you should panic etc. Russ, god bless him, took copious notes. While I sat there enjoying the fact that the woman teaching the course mentioned, more than once, that the mama to be will get increasingly crabby and, in extreme cases, downright nasty. I don't want to be that crabby delivery lady and I hope I'm not, but I do like that I was given permission to be. Not that you need permission when you are pushing something the size of a watermelon out a hole the size of a grapefruit. If that's not permission to do whatever you darn well want I don't know what is.

We also got to practice breathing, which felt rather silly even while I was doing it. I figured out right away (and told Russ even sooner) that I didn't like it when he tapped on my hands or shoulders while breathing even when I wasn't having contractions and I bet it would annoy me even more when I was. He made note of that too. Then our instructor got some "contraction machines" for the men, so they could experience what it would be like. I think all the women in the room got a little thrill out of that, and I'm sure they were just as disappointed as I was when they discovered that the contraction machines were nothing more than ice cubes. Yes. Ice cubes. She made the men squeeze them for the length of a contraction while in one of the many birthing positions we learned about, and while they practiced their breathing too. She had them do this twice, and the second time, we women got to rub ice cubes other places (like the back of their neck, or their lower back) because, as the instructor said, you feel the discomfort from the contractions in other places. The men all stood up afterwards, shaking their hands and exchanging macho grins with comments of "that sucked". Aside from the fact that contractions last for HOURS not mere seconds, as the men experienced, I can say that I haven't had a single contraction and I am already POSITIVE they are nothing at all like squeezing ice cubes in your hands. Puh-lease. It all felt rather ridiculous to me. But it just proved something that I have long suspected- there is no way men could possibly handle pregnancy, or childbirth.

We got to take a tour of the hospital where I hope to deliver. Where, I discovered, they only allow the husband and one other person in the birthing room during delivery. So even if I wanted to have my mom, mother in law, sister and sister in law in the room (which I don't) I couldn't. I also discovered that this hospital believes that after the birth the mom, dad and baby need to be alone for an hour and they absolutely will not let anyone in during that hour no matter what. After the hour is up, then the baby is weighed and measured, momma and daddy and baby are brought upstairs to their own room and then, and only then, can they have visitors. I, of course, immediately asked who would be the one that would tell the family about that rule because giving birth or not I wasn't so sure anyone would be able to keep my family out of the room once Baby Girl arrives. And I sure as heck wasn't going to be the one to tell them they had to wait a full hour to see their newest granddaughter! Luckily, the nurses get to convey that happy news, and I will be too busy to deal with the reactions!

The best part of the class was most definitely when they wheeled in a little baby girl who had been born a mere seven hours before. She was the tiniest little peanut and looked just like heaven on earth. And suddenly, it was all so real.

Actually, the best part of the class might have been watching Russ' face when we got to watch the two birthing videos- one of a C-section, and one of a natural birth. Having seen a natural birth before (thanks to my sister and second niece) I knew what it looked like. Russ, however, had no idea, and the look on his face was, well, priceless. Even better when he turned to me and asked "Why is the baby covered with all that gunk?" I guess he thought the baby comes out all shiny new and clean.....eleven weeks to go and then he can see it all up close and personal. Hopefully he'll remember not to tap on my shoulders....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


N: Mrs. S. I have a note to go to brownies but O just told me there isn't brownies today.

Me: Well, you better go down to the office to call your Mom and tell her that you are getting on the bus. N, hurry up though because we are leaving now and we can't hold the buses forever.


(I turn my back to assist the student that takes at least ten minutes to pack up EVERY day, assuming that N has left to make a call since we are about to walk out of the classroom door and board the buses.)

Three minutes later:

N: Mrs. S, should I go call now?


Me: Boys and girls, I just got an email a few minutes ago and they changed the lunch menu today. Instead of Grilled Cheese it's Pizza. Raise your hands for Pizza.

N: Mrs. S, my Mom didn't know it was Pizza.

Me: Well, no one knew, like I said I just got the email a few minutes ago.

N: Oh, well........what should I do?

Me: Do you want pizza or do you want a bagel plate for lunch today?

N: I brought a lunch from home.


Me: I'm going to collect your test booklets, N will collect rulers and you get to keep your pencils.
30 seconds later....
A: Mrs. S, can I collect the pencils?

Me: No, you are keeping them, remember? (Not only did I just say it, but we've talked about it practically the entire week of CMT's.)
1 minute later....
I: Wait, no one took my pencil.

Me: (in a very loud voice) You are KEEPING YOUR PENCILS!
1 minute later....
G: I only have one pencil, not two Mrs. S, I can't find the second one to give back to you. (This is because for the last seven days I've been saying, I give you two pencils, you give me back two pencils because I knew the pencils would mysteriously disappear and by day 3 of testing I wouldn't have any. The kid listened to that, but not to be screaming that they are keeping their pencils.)

Me: You are keeping your pencils.
Another 30 seconds later...
N: Mrs. S, why didn't anyone take my pencils?

Me: (teeth gritted and a horrible smile on my face) You are KEEPING them.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I should have stayed in bed....

You know those mornings where you wake up and you very quickly realize that you should have stayed in bed? And then the morning progresses and it doesn't get any better??? That was my morning today.....

The alarm went off at 5:03 and I woke with a vague headache (no big surprise since it was raining and I always get a headache when it rains) and that feeling in my stomach that meant that I would, once again, be throwing up before the morning was out (also no big surprise since that seems to have started again for me--three days last week and now two this week). I roll out of bed and go about my morning, knowing that I have to leave earlier to trade cars with my Mom so mine can go in the shop because apparently, when a red light starts flashing, you are supposed to stop driving. Who knew?!?

Next I couldn't get dressed. You know what that's like--when first of all it feels like you don't have any clothes, secondly you are tired of all of your clothes that you do have and finally nothing is fitting right. Mornings like that suck when you aren't pregnant, but when you are pregnant....well, let's just say you resign yourself to the fact that chances are high that you just won't feel like you look good all day long. Four outfits and one quick run to the toilet to wait patiently for the throwing up that didn't happen and I'm ready to go.....
As I'm putting on my shoes- literally, one shoe on and one off- I make another dash for the bathroom where (not even kidding) I heave and throw up for six minutes. My headache is now worse and I am running later than I want to be.....

Moving on.....
Now that I'm late, I hit the road praying the red light doesn't go on in my car again before I get to my parent's house (it did- but I make it there safely anyway). I pull in the driveway and discover that there is a tree blocking the whole driveway.
Again, not kidding. At this point I seriously consider turning around, and light flashing or not, drive myself home and crawl back into my cozy bed.
Instead, I wake up my poor Dad, who comes outside to check out the situation (did I mention it's raining? Not hard, just a fine drizzle that lets up but still....). He decides he needs a chainsaw and goes to get one. It takes him a few tries to start it (I was convinced it wouldn't start, or it would run out of gas because that is just how the day is going) but he gets it going an 30 minutes later the tree is out of the way and I am on the way.

Five minutes into my drive on the Parkway the gas light in the car goes on.
There are no gas stations off the Parkway for about thirteen exits.
I decide to try and make it, recalling numerous stories from my mom about driving for three days with the gas light on. Perhaps I am tempting fate, perhaps I subconsciously don't want to make it to school at this point, but I go for it anyway.....and, I actually make it. Shocking, I know!
I get to school with ten minutes to spare, ready to take a nap....