Monday, January 26, 2009


I thought I was rested up and ready to teach today. On the agenda were a couple of fourth grade classes and Art Club. The only fly in the ointment for me was that I also had to clean my room and prepare for an inservice I am leading tomorrow. That meant that I would have no time to sit and rest. I would be up on my feet all day long. I've been somewhat sick for the past nine days and felt as though I was on the upswing.

At my school we teach a half day on Monday and have the afternoon for planning. When I have Art Club, I give up most of that planning time. So I didn't have much down time today.

My fourth grades were a dream. No problems there. Inbetween those classes I was so busy cleaning and organizing my room I didn't have time to eat lunch. By the time Art Club left at 2 my head was really pounding and I felt horrible.

At club dismissal, when one girl's parent hadn't shown up after a couple of minutes, I sent her in to give their parent a call. Of course he pulled up right when she went in the building. Now I have never actually interacted with this parent before, but he has this aura about him of being mean and crazy. Naively, I thought that if I was nice and friendly to this man, he would respond in kind. I walked over to the driver side window, smiled, and explained that his daughter went in to use the phone and would be right out. I even sent another child in to let her know Dad was there.

This man went off on me. He started yelling about the school office people and how they didn't relay some message or other that they said they would, and how his daughter didn't know there was Art Club because the office hadn't told her. He yelled about this several times and turned redder and redder as he went along. He didn't say anything that was related to me, but yelled as if it was. Trying to make sense of what he was saying didn't work. Trying to change the tone or at least listen actively didn't have any effect either.

Finally, when his daughter got in the car, I sidestepped the issues he was yelling about and told his daughter that I would see her at the next Art Club meeting. Then he yelled at me about how would his daughter know when that was, and how would he know. When I told him that I would tell her when club met; would give her a calendar of the dates; and the meetings would be announced to everyone over the intercom, he was not appeased. This time the complaints were about his wife not being able to read English; his daughter not being able to remember to give him the paper; and her not having a Tuesday folder anyway and how would the paper even make it home. He yelled, "How am I supposed to know when? Tell me how? I guess I'll just have to call the office every day to ask. I'll just call the office every day. How about that?" He lay back in his seat, put his hands on his stomach and started twittling his thumbs.

Years ago, before I got a job teaching art, I was a secretary for a psychologist. He once told me that if I thought someone had big mental problems, that was probably true.

All I could think of was "COO COO....COO COO" and that I needed to get the heck out of there. I knew that there was no response to his rantings, so I just backed away and told his daughter goodbye again.

All this on top of exhaustion and a pounding headache sent me back to my classroom, where I just sat and boohooed. He hadn't really scared me. He just stressed me beyond my breaking point.

Then I still had to clean and ready my room for the inservice tomorrow.

I'm hoping like crazy that we will get snow tonight, so that I can spend tomorrow in bed. I'm heading to the doctor's office tomorrow afternoon.

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