Oh my gosh. There's so much to blog about. I don't even know where to begin. It's conference week. Also know as stressful week. So damn stressful but so fulfilling. I love to connect with the families. . .
I can appreciate it now that's it's all over. For some crazy reason our district changed from all day one day and an extra night of conferences to three hours AFTER school three school nights. One, how many families DON'T want an evening conference? Ummmm, how about ours?! Luckily, we get special treatment and did ours in the morning when conferences weren't even being conducted. (Really it's because I can't be at my conferences and our kids' simultaneously.) Both kids are doing great - more on that at a later post.
Today was the last day of this insane schedule. Maybe you're thinking 12 hours isn't that much. But this job is really emotional and your heart has to be in it. So to stretch yourself that thin...is a bit much.
To throw even more drama into it, this happened:
Yesterday I was planning my lessons in between teaching for the day and conferences. I opened my desk drawer and grabbed a piece of gum. Last time I opened this pack of gum was several weeks ago and I KNOW FOR A FACT only two pieces had been taken out. Out of the 12 pack of gum only two were left. I was stunned for a second. Not just about the gum. But all of a sudden it hit me.
A few weeks ago I noticed a plastic 'tin' of mints was empty. I received them as a gift and had never opened it. I thought I had pop change and a couple bills in there but couldn't find them, chalked it up to, "Must have run out of pop money." Small little things have been popping up here and there and I honestly didn't give any of them more than a couple seconds of thought. 1. Because I am super busy
2. Because my desk is such a mess maybe I'm not even sure what's missing.
Back to the gum. Suddenly I think, "Where's that $20?" A parent paid cash last week for a book order, which I specifically write Write checks to Scholastic or they could pay on line. Instead a mom sent in a $20. I put the $20 under lotion in my drawer so I remembered to write Scholastic my own check for the amount.
The $20 was gone.
Suddenly my mind was racing. Holy shit. Someone has been in my desk. Not once. Not twice. How many times? Plus oh my gosh, what is all missing? I stared and wondered and tried to figure it out. First off, I was thinking, Great, now I have to pay for this kid's books! We're not supposed to have cash in our desk, to keep situations like this from happening. However, I'm not sure what teacher brings her/his book order/field trip money to the safe in the office.
I'm thinking of the different scenarios and who it could be. When? Why? I get the cash. But I just put that there. How about the gum, etc. I told two friends. They promised not to tell anyone because I was going to catch this thief.
I have to admit, I thought it was the custodian. I actually didn't THINK it was him. For the record, he has never done anything whatsoever to make me think I can't trust him. It was just, who else could it be?
Last night after a 12 hour day I was telling Mark this whole thing. We devised this plan to set up our video camera over by the window and start it at 4:00 and it will run til 10:00 and we'll have our culprit.
Our lounge has been consumed by the Book Fair for conferences so we've been eating in Laura's room for a couple days. I asked her for a list during lunch and she couldn't find it so I said I'd go get mine. I clip clopped (in my loud heels) down the hall to my room in the vacant hall. I walked into my dark and -should be empty- classroom to be shocked, stunned and disgusted to see a student standing not only behind my desk but caught red handed. I couldn't believe my eyes.
This student was also my student last year. I've been meaning to do a post on how much amazing looping is because the personal connections are so much stronger, but I haven't. However, the connections we have are like family, or so I thought. If you told me this student stole from me I would have told you no way. Not a chance. She would stick up for me, she would never steal. I had her older sister. I know, and love the family. No way.
But I saw it with my own eyes.
It was almost like seeing her as my own child, as, I immediately felt betrayed, disappointed, ashamed and hurt. I really wasn't angry, far more hurt.
I don't want to add the details but it was yucky. I talked to her about trust. About how much I care for her. Took her to the principal. Left a message for mom.
Then I felt completely defeated. I picked up the rest of the class from recess and looked at their little faces silent reading and wondered, what I was doing wrong. Didn't they feel the connection like I did? Why not? Am I that much more invested in them? Maybe I am? It really put a bitter taste in my mouth.
I had to shake it off and conduct conferences.
Somewhere in those hours the principal came to me and said he got a hold of her mom and she was supportive and I should contact her sometime tonight. I called her as soon as I was done. You never know how a parent is going to react, about any news. Being a parent is very emotional and some people react being defense, or making excuses, or they're supportive...you never know.
When I dialed that number, I've dialed many times before, my heart was pounding.
There are not enough words to explain not only how supportive this mom was. I, myself, could not have said more perfect words. Don't let me fool you, she was pissed! But in the 40 minute conversation was covered so much. She wants the best for her. She never wants this to happen again. She was disgusted and shocked and this kid was not raised this way. She brought up something along the lines of: If she was going to steal I just can't believe it would be from YOU. You're like their Aunt!
And I got choked up. I felt connected to them and finally had the validation, they too feel connected to me. Aunt may be dramatic, but if that's the way they feel. I'll take it! Right then, I needed it.
She talked about her concern of how her daughter and I are going to fix our relationship. I need to think about that this weekend. We discussed so much. It was mom to mom. Friend to friend. It was an intense conversation. We talked about the looong list she's stole from me this year from drawers, cupboards....oh my..over these 7 weeks.
I'm sure we'll work it out.
I'm certain tonight was a major life lesson for her...and me.