Today is the first day of the slice of life challenge. All day in the back of my mind I have been thinking about the bright orange logo and what I could blog about.
The three words rattle in my brain like fresh coffee beans in a steel tin. One by one the coffee beans are removed until the only thing rattling in my brain is the word “slice”.. I know the challenge is to show a small segment of someone’s day, but I can’t help it. I am a foodie.
(Not to mention a foodie in mourning, because I did not get my yearly Pączki or King’s cake this last week.)
I hear the word “slice” and all I can think about is pie.
My mind drifts further and I am in an old diner where the air is thick with the greasy smell of bacon. It is then that I order the combination of black coffee and a slice of pie. Diner coffee is cheap, deeply bitter, and embodies the grease of the diner. I am an avid coffee drinker, but I still wish that coffee tasted as good as coffee smells.
This being said, it is a great combination because the bitter of the coffee is balanced by the sweetness of the pie. Somedays, I just want the sweet of the pie. Today I feel like I got more of the bitter.
In my short experience of teaching high schoolers, I have come familiar with the “come to Jesus” moment. This, in other words, is an epiphany where my slackers realizes the truth of a matter. It is the moment where they realize they need to change up their act if they want to graduate and/or be successful.
Last semester, I had about 10 seniors that started to turn my hair gray. It was a constant battle. My weapons were phone calls home, calling them into the office, and my signature “real talks”. Somewhere in all of that, all of my seniors had their come to Jesus moment. They realized that I was not going to give up on them, and I was there to help them.With all of my poking and prodding, I did not have a single senior fail last semester. Hallelujah!
All of my 10 tough cases this semester have been doing wonderful. The ceased to be a problem. I thought that my battle had been won! I thought wrong!
Today I had to pull two students from open campus. Which meant that until I gave them permission instead of leaving school and hanging out with friends during the day, they had to sit at the high school and complete their work.
The first student that I talked to was very civil. I pulled the student aside and instructed him exactly what to do to get off the list. He said, “I understand”, and got back to work.
The second student that I talked to had a melt down yelled at me, stormed off, and slammed a door in my face. I calmly sat down with the student and explained to her why she was on it and what she could do to get off the list. I informed the guidance counselor, the nurse, and the principal. Then I called her parents to inform them on the situation.
I think I handled it the best I could, but the teeth of the issue really sunk deep into my skin.It is easy for students to forget that teachers are people. Words and actions linger like the grease of bacon. Reflection is easy for me. Reflecting and moving on is not.No matter what I do I replay the situation over and over in my head. What could I have done to prevent it? What else is happening? It makes it hard to me to enjoy the sweet things, and my day had a lot of sweet moments.
- I had two of my tough seniors tell me I was the most hardcore high school teacher (and in a good way too!!).
- My Poetry Out Loud winner practiced her poems in front of me today and had a twinkle in her eye.
- My hardest case senior rushed to give me her senior photo today. She also told me I was the first person she gave one to.
- A group of juniors started a word of the day and a fake word of the day (in honor of Shakespeare) on my white board. It is hilarious and delightful.
- I have 10 new suggested books on GoodReads from my students.
You know what? I just named 5 sweet things that happened today. Forget the 1 bitter thing and disregard what I said earlier. Today has been mostly sweet. I am surprised on how much better I feel just writing all of that down. I now feel at peace and ready to share my next slice of life tomorrow.
Kristina Moore is an English Teacher Librarian at Clarion-Goldfield-Dows High School. Teacher by day, writer by night. She runs on yoga and YA novels.