Thanksgiving break can't get here fast enough. We haven't had an extra day off from school since Labor Day and everyone's nerves seem to be frazzled. Even the kids.
My friend little P. woke up on Monday morning thinking that this was the week we get out for the holiday. His mama told him no, there's a full week of school left before that. She reports that at first he got mad, and she had to pull out a calendar to show him he was wrong...…..and then when he saw it was true he was so disappointed he cried. Poor little guy.
I know just how he feels.
The days start to drag right before a break. The discipline referrals have spiked sharply since last week, and there seem to be multiple tearful trips to the guidance counselors' offices by students each day. This morning, two 12 year old girls got in such a vicious fight that it took the principal, one of the assistant principals, the security guard, and a teacher to break it up, and even when they dragged them apart the girls were still throwing punches and cursing. The teacher got hit in the head, and the assistant principal told me later, "If I'm going to break up fights like that, I need to start going to the gym again! I nearly got kicked in the head!" Later on another two girls got in a fight at lunch. Right now I'm averaging about 15-20 discipline referrals a day which is crazy high.
I don't know if it's the colder weather, or the approaching holidays, or what, but I've noticed a lot of acting out among our poorer kids these days. A handful of them are in foster care (getting shuffled around constantly) or living in residential group homes, and a sizeable percentage of our students get regular welfare checks by DSS caseworkers, which means they've lived with abuse or neglect. It's no wonder that some of them act out so much, but it seems to always get worse as any break approaches. I imagine lots of these kids aren't looking forward to the break (if their home situations are bad) but it should cool things down some.
We'll be staying home for Thanksgiving. We talked a little about the possibility of going camping, but neither of us got too excited at the idea. Since I'll be hosting my book club's Christmas party just over two weeks later I plan to put up the Christmas tree and decorate the house that weekend. One less thing to worry about as I prepare for the party, you know? My mom invited us to eat Thanksgiving dinner with her and my dad, but my cousin and her husband will be there and I don't like them very much. I feel guilty about that, because my parents have become very close to this branch of the family in the last decade or so, but I just can't stand anything other than the very minimum of contact with them. My mom knows this. We keep up the polite fiction that I'm always "busy" when they invite us to do things that include my cousins.....which these days, means pretty much all holidays and special occasions. My parents make plans with them first and then invite us as an afterthought. Which is why I don't feel but so guilty turning them down. I'll cook something Gregg and I will enjoy and we'll simply spend the day at home together, stress free. That's something to be thankful for!
And the 5 day break from school is going to be wonderful!