Here's a glimpse into teaching 9th grade all day. Yesterday, while we were studying for our final exams,one of the kids activated a "fart bomb." It comes in a tidy, silver package with a carton of a butt with a hole ripped out of the jeans, a bit of the butt showing through and a small explosion near that tear.
A girl brought it to class and handed it to a boy who she knew would set it off. He place a notebook on the floor and slipped it between some of the pages. When it went off the pages flew up, two of them teaning a bit and the room was instantly filled with a strong, awful sulfur smell. It made people fee like vomiting and it made their eyes water. The smell permeated about half of the school. Even the people who set it off had to suffer through the stink. You'd think that by 14 they would have been smart enough to think it through and do it as they were leaving. I did not know who did it at the time, but kids in the class came and told me who did it later. (Teenagers talk and if you are patient, you will usually find everything out.)
Later in the day I consoled a sweet and wonderful young lady who is one of my ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Her mother announced on Friday that the kids would not see their father again. He is currently in prison because he has had too many DUIs (drunk driving) and he will be deported to Mexico in February. The prison is three and a half hours away and she does not think any of her family members will take her. My hope is that her mother's heart softens and that she will get to see her father. She has only a single current photo of herself with her dad. I told her that if she finds a way to get to see him that she should take a photo. I am working with some people here to see if there is any way we can help them.
Today is the last full day of the semester and it should be a calmer one. The remaining days of this semester will be taken up with final exams. It has been a long semester and everyone, students and staff alike, are tired and worn out.
I am also a bit concerned about being ready for Christmas. At home I have hidden some presents so that the kids would not find them and now I can't find them either. Ugh! I still have handmade gifts to finish and some of them require help from other people. I am worried that it will either not come together, or that at the end it will be a huge push.
That is why I have my next tradition - reading an good animal story during Christmas break. They are always predictable and heart warming. It is not exactly high-brow, academic reading, but it is a nice change of pace for me. I have yet to pick a book for this year. I simply have not had the time to look for a new one. The animals are usually rescues who were down on their luck. The human(s) are usually being saved as much as the animal is.
This has been going on for years. I think it began with THE CAT WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS by Cleveland Amory. It was a gift to me many, many years ago, even before our kids were born. Each year I reread the story; I even preemptively cry as I read or listen to the story. These stories transport me out of my stress and pull me into another world where I know that it will be alright in the end, even though the road there is rough.
I am excited to see what story I will pick this year. I will begin it after I read THE CAT WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS, of course.