After weeks of coding with my students, we are finally almost ready to showcase our epic build projects in Scratch, a computer programming language that is more kid-friendly. My brain is about to explode. (Can I just say, if I had $1 for the times children have said, Mrs. Guiles! and mom!, I’d be a millionaire twice over. Can I get an Amen from my teacher mamas?)
Anytime teachers have a deadline, like an Open House type event, there are always students in our classes that literally make us want to pull our hair out and go home screamin’ and runnin’ for the hills. I mean, that wouldn’t actually happen, but that’s how we FEEL. There are always at least 5 students sometimes 10-15 at any given moment, who ARE NOT paying attention to directions. Their sense of urgency is practically non-existent and mine is well, on steroids, or to be honest, my sense of urgency is facilitated by a boatload of caffeine. (I know I’m stressed when I start making more frequent visits to Starbucks. Oh, and also, I have this throbbing knot on the right side of my neck, where my shoulder and back meet. It’s a lovely little rock that reminds me that, uh, Joy, you’ve been spending too much time staring at your computer and the computers of your students.) What’s a girl to do?
Anyway, back to that sense of urgency. I know how much time we have to complete our projects. I know when the parents and community members are going to come and view these projects. And yet, though they’ve all been informed of this deadline, a few of my little darlins just decide they’re gonna chillax and pretend it’s a day on the beach. They’ll just relax and take their time. I swear some of them look like they’re loungin’ in their beach chair, cold beverage in hand, staring at the ocean. (Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad idea kid. I’ll go with ya.) Then there are those that would rather do anything but the directions I’ve given, because their projects will be different and SO much better than the instructions I’ve given. Both of these scenarios have crawled up my feisty fast typin’ fingertips and embedded themselves in my neck. (Now I know where the phrase pain-in-the-neck comes from.)
In spite of all of this, the lack of urgency and neck pain, I am grateful that my students are able to learn about coding at a young age. It’s hard to believe that I am teaching them how to code. It’s complex and exhausting teaching it, but when their projects work, and their faces light up, boy, that sure is rewarding. So, this teaching thing, as I’ve learned over the past 18 years, is all about resilience. You gotta keep rising up and facing what seems like daunting obstacles for students, academically and personally. But it’s all worth it. I don’t feel like that every day, especially in those pain-in-the-neck moments, but I can see the forest through trees, today.
The Baby, Vaping Daddy, and Rice and Beans
So, tonight, I’m a-thinkin’ this tired mama ain’t no way, no how, gonna make no dinner. So, what’s a tired mama to do? Buy beans and rice. Yup. Family favorite.
My oldest was waiting in the car as I went in the strip mall Mexican food stop, which I normally never go to, but it was right on the corner when I was driving and this was a spontaneous and desperate idea. Right at dusk as the sky was turning dark and the temperatures started to drop, I returned to my van, rice and beans in hand. As I returned, I noticed a Crown Victoria parked on my driver’s side. All the windows were rolled down and when I looked in the backseat I saw a what looked like 6-month-old baby in the car seat, alone.
I said to my Boy, “Uh, there’s a baby in that car.” Boy: “Yeah, one of the guys seemed kinda mad and he kept looking in the car at me before he went in the Vape shop.” Me: “Uh, he’s not supposed to leave a baby in the car.”
Then as I thought for another 30 seconds, the welfare of that little baby getting to me, I decided to call the San Dimas Sheriff. Just as I found their number, neck tatted Vaping Daddy walked out of the shop.
I rolled down my window, “Dooooddddde, you can’t leave your baby in the car like that.”
Vaping Daddy: “I just went in for a few minutes.”
Me: “Next time, take your baby in with you.”
Vaping Daddy, exasperated: “I can’t do that, it’s a Vaping Shop!”
Me: “Well then, maybe you shouldn’t bring your baby to a f__ing Vape Shop.” (Yup, I said that.)
Vaping Daddy: “It’s none of your f__ing business.”
Me: “When you leave your baby in the car, someone is going to call the police.”
Vaping Daddy: “I’ll be gone by the time they get here.”
Nice, dude, nice. It sounded to me like, he’d had a little practice at conveniently leaving when the police were around. And there it ended. I verbally spanked him. He needed a spankin’. As I left, he stayed outside near the car and his friend handed him the loot at the door. Later, I explained to my Boy, my audience, that it wasn’t okay to leave his baby in the car. Boy didn’t want me to get involved, mostly because Vaping Daddy had seemed so aggressive and angry as he entered the shop. We talked about how it went okay even though the words were aggressive. At least he didn’t pull out a gun or knife or get physically violent. (I was trying to look at the bright side.)
So, what do I do with this story? I’m thinking about how I made a lot of judgments based on his behavior, his demeanor, his looks, and his words. He was a 20-something white male, tatted heavily on his neck, and his vaping habit seemed more important than his baby. I don’t have issues with the tats or the vaping, but I do have issues with leaving a baby in the car while he went in the shop. Then I thought about that baby, how that baby is learning from the adults in his or her life. I’m not sure what to think or do with that. One thing I do know is, that I hope that baby has a lot of resilience. I hope that baby can grow and love and be productive in this crazy world. I hope Vaping Daddy gets his shit together and can become more resilient. Hopefully he’ll just let his friend go in the shop next time and stay in the car with his baby. But sometimes common sense doesn’t occur to people. Can I get another Amen?
Be resilient this week.
Until next Friday. Love you loves.
Gastric bypass update:
I’ve managed to continue walking even though I’m super stressed and exhausted right now. In the past, I might not have bounced back as easily. I think that might be resilience. 🙂