On a daily basis I go through all five stages of grief while dealing with my second graders. No joke, folks, it’s a regular roller coaster, and it repeats itself every single day.
1. Denial: Nah, I don’t have to go to school. It’s not that important. I don’t need this job. These kids would do fine without me. They’d find someone else. They’re not really so bad anyway, right? They’ll behave themselves today, right? Right? Naw, man, I can’t do this again today. It’s just not worth it. I don’t want to, I don’t have to. This is my life and I can decide what I do with it, so today I’m staying in bed. That’s all there is to it.
2. Anger: I cannot stand these kids. I cannot believe they are so loud and rambunctious this early in the morning. I’ve told them FIVE TIMES already to quiet down and use “inside voices”. Holy SHITE I hate that phrase, what a stupid, obnoxious goddamn phrase! WHY WON’T THEY SHUT UP! I’ve told them to sit down ten times now! Why is somebody coming in late? NO you cannot go to the bathroom right now I’m taking attendance! Oh, a parent wants to interrupt class to ask me a quick question? QUICK? Like last time? When we took the first 20 minutes of class? Oh hell no. SIT. THE. FUCK. DOWN. KIDS! I want to set something on fire. Put your grimy little hand down and stop waving it in my face. No, it’s too early for you to be pulling on my shirtsleeves and whisper-mumbling insignificant stupidity in my ear dammit!
3. Bargaining: Okay, c’mon guys, let’s get in line please. Can we please be quiet while we’re in line? Guys, if you’re good we’ll play that game you like later, okay? Just get in line. Can we please push our chairs under our desks and keep our space neat? No? Okay well if you get all the scraps off of the floor we can have 5 minutes longer of recess, okay? Yeah! Who doesn’t want that!? If nobody gets their name on the warning board this week I’ll bring cookies in on friday, how does that sound?
4. Depression: Shit. Shit shit shit. Why did he just have to puke on the floor? My life is miserable. What did I do in a past life to deserve this? It’s so not worth it. I don’t need this job. I’ll go back to waitressing, as shitty as that was. At least I mostly dealt with adults. God, that kid got sharpie all over my new shirt. What a klutz. Man, I have a migraine. Maybe the screaming and shouting has something to do with it – theirs and mine. This is the worst job ever. Shit, I forgot my lunch and I can’t leave during lunch period. FML. Why am I grading these papers, I don’t even care. These kids know nothing. How are we this far into the year and these kids don’t know their asses from a hole in the ground? What grade even is this? Goddammit.
5. Acceptance: Well, I guess they are little kids, I shouldn’t expect so much of them. And I guess this job isn’t so bad. Little Sally SoAndSo said I’m her favorite and she doesn’t wanna go home cause she loves me so much… Whatever. I guess it wasn’t the worst day ever. I’m just gonna go home and collapse on my bed and sleep it off.
and I have to ask myself how on god’s green earth did I end up teaching 2nd grade with a degree in philosophy…