Wednesday, November 9

"you seem more stressed than we are."

for the past three months, i have been working with a group of 20+ seniors on their senior capstones: a combination of a portfolio (with cover letter, resume, college essay, transcripts, etc), a research paper on their possible future career, and finally a presentation to a group of volunteer judges to present the information from the first two parts.

we spent the first two months of the semester working on their research papers.  then, for the past two weeks, we have been working on powerpoints and practicing for the actual presentations.

today my (november-graduating) seniors had their presentations.  probably one of the most stressful days of my life.  22 students, coordinated among 4 rooms at 20-min intervals.  not to mention, all of the preparation and set-up on my part to help these seniors be successful.

as i was sweating bullets, running around this morning making sure everything was ready for the presentations to begin, one of my students made the comment: "you seem more stressed than we are, ms. romney."  i just kind of looked at her and rushed away to take care of yet another detail of the morning's presentations.

only later did a fellow teacher provide me with a clever retort: of course i'm more stressed than you are.  i probably care more than you do!

after 4 hours on my feet, herding cats (ie: my students), checking schedules, providing encouragement and advice, the presentations ended.  all of the students went back to class, the judges left and i was the last one in the presentation area.  i collected all of the portfolios and folders from the rooms, gathered up cables and power cords, turned off lights and locked doors.

before i made the long walk back to my classroom at other end of the building, i stood facing the wall, closed my eyes and took a couple of deep breaths in and out.  i wasn't sure if i needed to cry or scream.  in that moment i felt very much alone.  i felt like i needed a hug from someone, anyone.  i needed someone to understand how hard this whole experience has been.  i needed someone to know how stressful the past few months have been.  i needed my students to understand that the reason i have such big bags under my eyes is because i haven't been sleeping much in the past few weeks, because i've been up all night grading assignments and working on stuff for them.  i needed someone to acknowledge that i do a lot for my students, even if they don't seem to appreciate it.  i needed someone to tell me that i'm doing okay.

with the help of a student, i hauled all of the presentation materials back to my classroom.  the next 3 hours were spent fielding questions, concerns and last-minute requests from students completing and turning in assignments (most of which should have been done weeks ago).  my hysteria level reached an all-time high when my work laptop decided to completely fritz-out on me, leaving me absolutely dead-in-the-water with exams and grades.  i was about 2 seconds away from throwing the monitor against the wall and storming out of my classroom in a fit of rage when the last bell of the day finally rang.

once again, i was alone in my classroom.

but then, an announcement came over the loud speaker for me to come down to the front office.  a lovely little bouquet of flowers and a sweet note from my wonderful principal awaited me.  i almost cried.

1 comment:

  1. the simplest gestures sometimes make the biggest difference.