Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ready for a break

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!


  1. we have a 4 day weekend and both of us are ready. we eat japanese food in a BYOB local restaurant, we relax, we just chill.

  2. Stay home and relax !
    Or go to the dinner and let loose "THE MARCO" Remember to sprinkle nuts on everything.

  3. A stress free day is the best reward.

  4. That sounds like a relaxing Thanksgiving plan for you. This is the third year I ordered a smoked turkey; a local BBQ place makes only 30 turkeys, the guys stay up all night smoking them and then one of my sons picks it up on the day. Now that is easy!

  5. It's going back again that's the bad bit!

  6. Ha ha ha, I like angryparsnip's suggestion :-)
    I am sure you'll have the most relaxing Thanksgiving staying home with just yourself, Gregg, and your four-legged and winged family members.
    The break will be so welcome to you and the other staff at school. Hopefully, some of the more difficult students will calm down a bit by the time they come back. It must be awful to have so much fighting and trouble going on at school.

  7. Good for you for sticking to your guns regarding extended family. It took me years before I finally started saying “no.” Too bad your parents do that but you’re so right that it gives you a clear and guiltless out.

  8. You've given me fresh appreciation for my retirement from teaching.
    And I completely understand the cousin thing. Our son can barely tolerate the wife of one of our nephews, and to be honest I'm pretty lukewarm about that side of the family, too. Fortunately, now that we've moved here we just don't have the room for big family gatherings.

  9. It is so much tougher to work in schools today. There are too many broken kids and it is so sad.

    Have a nice relaxing Thanksgiving. I am having 19 for dinner, and thankfully, we all like (love) each other. I will relax on Sunday.

  10. Hearing about the kids in your school makes me so very sad. Poverty affects children most of all and in so many ways that we don't even think about.
    Hopefully, a break will do everyone good. I think your plans sound just right. Stay home. Relax. Enjoy yourselves and get some rest. And that will be something to give thanks for.

  11. I wonder what those two twelve year old girls were fighting about? "Frozen"?
    FIRST GIRL Elsa is best!
    SECOND GIRL No! Anna is best!
    FIRST GIRL Elsa!
    FIRST GIRL Take that you bitch! (THWACK!)
    SECOND GIRL Ugggh! Take that you ugly cow! (BIFF!)

    etcetera until SUPERHEAD arrives to restore the peace...

    SUPERHEAD In my domain Peace will rule Let's all sing..."People of the world join hands...start a Love Train. Love Train..."

  12. A five day break would be really fine. We're approaching Black Friday in the store, so customer count is down. They're waiting for sales on products that will never go on sale.

  13. I know what you mean about things dragging before the break! We haven't had the discipline problems -- not to that degree, anyway -- but I feel like everyone's a bit on edge. I think we're all just exhausted.

    I'm lucky with my family in that we can all tolerate each other. But still, it will be nice for the two of you to have a quiet holiday together -- free from strife!

    (Speaking of which, whatever happened to your crazy neighbor, the one with the spy cam?)