Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I have been moved to a new room and I guess these are some feelings about that. Just fascinating.

They are calling it a "voluntary involuntary transfer" in a nod to their administrative predecessor Josef Stalin. 

I am saying goodbye to my classroom of the last eight years, the classroom where all three of my sons were born at the hospital, where I gained ten pounds each semester, where my ketchup collection is housed, where Granmuttie sat dusty and where Gweenbrick was born one spring day when I had nothing in my pockets but a dream and a Rolo. 

It would be so easy to say fie on you to them all, with their proactive penetrative futures and five year plans of intesseract Power Pointage. If  I could make all those smug administrators say that previous sentence five times really fast, by God I would, and then laugh and laugh and cruelly laugh at the infantile blubbering of their vestibular contortions. Because that is how dark I am at my center: I want important people to say "choo-choo" aloud and I want hateful glee at the comical ooing of their lips to overwhelm me. 

They are moving me to a classroom run by an electrocuted hummingbird who believes all management is best done at the microcosmic level. She hovers, flits, speaks in great whirly sunbursts with her hands. She presses a large pile of papers at me that I am to use for charting the minute to minute breakthroughs of each student as they defy all expectations and have red poo in lieu of brown. 

I should be honest and tell her I am not going to do it, or that if she insists, I will only end up fabricating all of it a moment before the deadline arrives; thereby skewing the curve, the careful spread sheets and pretty graphs she will assemble by years end and pass reverently into the hands of parents, where they will give the novel a wary glance and think how fortuitous since their home has just that morning come up short for toilet paper.

I should be really honest and tell her my prime years in Special Education slipped past me and it would be best for all of us if I was allowed to sit in a corner quietly, sip from a vat of coffee, and doodle buttocks. 

But this new classroom, this freshman prison, does not even have the luxury of a coffee pot.

"Coffee maker? Like in the room?" Their eyes bug and sweat at my question. "No no no, we can't have anything like that in this classroom. There was an incident."

Like when? Like last week? A month? 

"It was like, what, four-five years ago? Before I was here, I know that. Somebody did something and that was the end of all of that."

MY GOD , THE END OF ALL OF WHAT??? ALL OF THAT COFFEE STUFF?!? I want to scream at these fresh new faces, air my laundry: I have no vices anymore, none! I surrendered what addictions I had, I gave them up for the good of society, and the one blip of hope I brought back with me is that caffeinated bean, that godkissed carbuncle of roasted flavor and late morning jitters, and because some autistic roamer perhaps flailed his galumpy arms too spiritedly and upended a scalding pot, you had the sheriff dismantle the entire still? 

I mean, when Bikram, my beloved Bikram, sprinted into the kitchen and, giggling maniacally, shattered a full pot on the back of his head, then laid flat in the glass shards while singing "Aye Aye Aye-ye-aye aye, aye ye aye ye aye what's going on???" in a lunatic falsetto, did we toss our bags of beans, shutter our filters, and drink no more forever?  Not even! I procured a second pot from the supply cupboard and we had freshness all brewed up by the time his father had arrived to take him to the mental hospital. 

The cream I believe was C.F. Burger and the mug declared "Teaching is a Work of Heart" in great capitals along it's side, a bright red heart expertly stenciled there for emphasis, in case one puzzled at its meaning.

 There is not an encouraging or supportive mug to be found in this new classroom, however; not a snack cupboard brimming with cereal, not a jar of loose chocolates. I opened the refrigerator and could only gape at it's white sterility, the sole disruption of its emptiness a pocket sized box of Arm and Hammer.

For why? Why fight odors when there are no delicious piles of food to stink up the place?

It's then I learn that in this wild new room, teaching assistants are not allowed a lunch

No lunch break. Almost the entirety of Gweenbrick was composed on lunch breaks. This jargon huffing harpy of a teacher has pried one claw off her white board long enough to snuff out any hope I have of ever blogging again. Readers, whoever is left of you, this move has killed us.

She approaches my new desk, which is nothing more than a glorified port-a-potty turned on its side and islanded at the periphery of student tables. It's like I am a student too, with my own special spot I can go to when I get too wiggly, the rounded corners and soft hollow plastic of my desk preventing me from doing any real harm.

Her mind is brimming with assignments: I did some shredding, I cut paper into quarters to be used for scrap, I duct taped down a line of cords. I counted seconds. I counted the clicks of her thinking tongue. When no one was looking, I mimed a pistol in my hand and took my own life.

I remembered a moment, long ago, when my boxing coach and occasional mentor, a gruff, jowly Englishman, tried to put a positive face on the desolations of my teenaged heart.

He was on his third pitcher of Coors, trying in vain to inscribe the Chinese character for 'change' in a puddle on the table. 

"Anyways, it's the same as the one for 'opportunity'", he muttered, giving up.

I stared down at the jumble of wet napkin and smudged finger dirt. I wanted to give his calligraphic efforts the benefit of the doubt, but from any angle I could manage, it was just smears; hopeless and nonsensical.


30 comments:

  1. We are not over! Y'hear? Find a way, Gweenie...FIND. A. Way.

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    1. Oi Marianne! 40 minutes earlier and this spot woulda bin mine...mine...all mine...

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    2. Hello Marianne! I am sure I will still eke out a few here and there, and I will try to keep the whining to a minimum

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  2. Replies
    1. Hi Julie! Your implied threat towards her is well-intentioned and much appreciated, but I cannot condone violence or untranslatable Australian prank phone calling

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  3. Uh, wouldn't your union rep be able to get you a lunch break?

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    1. Hi JRose! yay-I did not know you still read around these parts-I am happy you are still here! As for the union, our contract puts it as "teacher's discretion" and this particular teacher has decided to have her aides take "running lunches", that is, we eat our lunch while working/wiping/chasing

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  4. Oh Gween-the material you will get from this new assignment-the frustration that will inspire you with fresh material to entertain our ranks-think of that!

    I will often eat things like Twinkies and stuff next to my children (and at work with the people I support) on the sly, in such a way that they never even notice-when you are full and content and nobody around you is none the wiser-the thrill I imagine, is like bungee jumping.

    You should totally take up this practice-

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    1. Hi Cindy! I did think of that, though I have not met the students yet so I am not sure how much they are going to give me to go on. I wish I was a slyer eater, but I am so sloppy....so terribly sloppy

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    2. That's great! You can work with that!! Nobody sees you eat, but totally deny any crumbs, bops or smudges on you or the desk are yours. Just deny deny deny

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  5. We must plot. Me must plan. I don't care what we do, but the Hummingbird must go.

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    1. Mandy-it's me that must go! I need a new job-something that engages my mind, tickles my fancy, sparks my plug-all that stuff. And pays more than 26,000 or so. You live around here, don't you know of anything??? Do you and Fred need a pool boy? I would wear a little bowtie and black speedo for you guys. I would, I really am that low right now.
      Though in truth, this is Michigan after all, and I am absolutely grateful to even have a job. (In case employers read comments)

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    2. You're a good writer. Maybe you could look for writing gigs? Freelance? Copywriting? Though I have to warn you, I'm ready to get out of advertising myself. It's soulless and mind-numbing. But I do get lunch.

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  6. The hummingbird HAS to burn out soon, right? Right?! We need you, Gween!! In the mean time, have you tried 5 hour energy? The chemicals leave a bit of a bite but the jitters are instantaneous!

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    1. I'll have to try it-does it come in any flavors besides "Magnum" or "Cerebral Overdrive"? Those two kinds tasted like steroid pee

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  7. But, we simply cannot forget the feelings we have attached with previous abode. Life goes on, places change but memories just keep growing.

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  8. Oh no!!! This voluntary involuntariness has to stop. We are not amused. How can you NOT get a lunch break? Aren't there union rules or something? Ugh. I've missed you. A lot. I hope you can find a way to keep telling stories. I like to read them.

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    1. Hi scousewife, one of my most loyal readers! I will still sneak and do stuff probably

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  9. "prime years in Special Education slipped past me and it would be best for all of us" if you left the field forever.

    As a parent of two profoundly autistic children and as a paraeducator working in the exact same job as you I don't find any of this humorous.

    You spend the day with these kids and you think you know their lives? You have them when they're well rested and at the peak of their medication cycles. You have them at their best and it's too much for you? So much in fact that you've lost your empathy for them? Try dealing with that child who's in the "mental hospital" after their medication has worn off. When they are in pain and don't know why and it can't be explained to them. I think you're a selfish and weak person that should never have been allowed to work in this field in the first place.

    These are children who can't defend themselves from people like you; people who use them as the hammer to drive home a joke. But their dads can defend them, so in the name of all the children you've worked with: FUCK OFF!

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    1. I absolutely can see why my blog would not be amusing to you, and I suggest that you never, ever read it again.

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  10. Um anyway....0____o

    That sounds horrendous! Come back soon and give us updates!

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    1. I could not figure out who you were, Starle at first, but I got it now. Hello to you d2dMom and I hope to keep working on the stupidest things I can think of at the nearest opportunity

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  11. Oh HELLZ NO, Gweenbrick!!

    Find a way! There must be a way. Poisoning? No, not that. Something like that, though.

    Persevere...

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  12. Gween:

    I've been afraid of this happening but then again I'm all for you stopping yourself from putting your creativity out their in dribs and drabs and getting it in a book instead. Either way, I'll keep reading you.

    NeoCleo

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  13. Please do a book! I wanna book! Gimme a book now!

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  14. Hmmmm, I have neVer wrote Chinese in a liquid. Somehow I missed this post, strange of me.

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  15. Gween!!!! It all sounds so horrible!!! I'm not sure if the no coffee or the no lunch OR the no break from that crazy lady is worse?!?? Hang in there!

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  16. I'm so sorry. What happened that you wound up demoted to a lunchless, duct-tape ripping Teacher's Aide?

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