in retrospect

my gosh. yesterday was one of those days. i was just so thoroughly irritated.

i had everything all planned out for yesterday. and it went all screwy thanks to one person. ugh.

first of all, there was the issue with my son’s school for parent-teacher conference. they usually do all their conferences on one day and the kids have off. the first conference usually falls during our fall intersession, so i don’t mind what time i get for that one–i’m able to make it because i don’t have work. the second conference, though, always falls at a time where i don’t have a break. so i always ask for the latest conference, because i have to make it from my job to the school, a good hr’s drive in slight afternoon traffic, by the time the teacher ends his or her day. but this year, they only had 3 times for everyone to choose from, and they were all in the beginning hours of the school day. um, hello? some of us work! and i don’t have the type of job where i can just take an hour off to go to my kid’s school. i can’t say, “oh, i’m coming in an hour late tomorrow; i have my kid’s conference.” other jobs may allow you to start your shift later or rearrange your hours a bit, but i can’t! so i was already pretty irked by this. the second thing that irked me was that since there are only 3 time slots, that means that there are more than one conferences going on at the same time, and my son confirmed that it’s being held in the dining hall. “so your teacher isn’t even going to be sitting down in the conference with you?” i asked, incredulous. “no.” “so why in the world do i need to go then?” i mean, really? if i’m not meeting with the teacher, why can’t he just bring his portfolio home and tell me about it at home? why do i need to travel to the school to do it? it just didn’t make sense. so that just made it harder, that i’d have to go, take a day off, all for a 30-minute conference with my son which he could have told me at home. it just didn’t make sense to me. but, what i didn’t know is that my son would then tell his teacher this! ack! the teacher responded to him that if i cannot make it, i need to write a formal letter stating why. and because this school demands parent participation, and makes conferences a requirement, i felt ashamed about this. so i begrudgingly signed the conference form saying i’ll be there (no formal letter), and then i grumbled to my mom about it. i said that friday was chinese new year and we always have chinese new year activities planned for the kids but i’ll have to miss it this year because of the conference. my mom felt bad and told me she’d take off (because she has a job that allows her to) an hour in the morning and attend my son’s conference in my place. i was happy with this idea and relieved.

then my car started making noises. i recall these sounds as needing oil or something. plus, it’s due for its 75,000 checkup. i knew, though, that there would be no money to pay for it right now. and then, in the mail, i get a letter from the bank saying that i’m pre approved for a loan. hmmm. i started thinking about it. if i get that loan, i can pay off my existing loan, plus pad up my depleted accounts, especially since i have big bills to pay this month (car insurance and other member fees are all due in february! nuts!). so i figure, you know what? i’ll just take the darn day off, just give my sub tons of coloring stuff (which i hate) to do for chinese new year, and then i’ll just go, get my son’s conference done, get my oil changed, get my car serviced, and then go to the bank for the loan. my son even asked for a haircut, so i scheduled a stop in there, as well. fine. i call for a sub and am pleased to get a confirmation so soon. it’s done.

then earlier this week, i hear my colleagues talking. apparently a bunch of them were chosen by the boss (why am i never chosen for these things?) to visit other schools on observations and such. so they were all scrambling to get subs for friday. every day this week i called the attendance line, making sure my sub was still confirmed. and he was. i even checked late thursday night. still confirmed. great. i reconfirmed my car appointment for 10, and got my bank papers ready. i told my son the plan for tomorrow, so get to bed early, because we are leaving at 6. i went to sleep, kinda relieved to have a day off to get all my stuff done, so i don’t have to worry about it for a while.

you can guess what happens next.

i wake up at 4am yesterday morning. for some reason, something tells me to check that my sub is still confirmed. so i do. and you can guess what it said.

“THIS JOB HAS NOT BEEN ASSIGNED TO A SUBSTITUTE.”

WHAAAAATTTT????!?

oh, no, he didn’t! no! no!! NO!!! i dialed again, and again, i got the same message. NO!!!

i was so upset. i didn’t sleep for the rest of the morning. what to do? what to do??? i knew in my heart that i’d have to cancel my leave because there would be no way that i’d be able to get another sub, with a bunch of people from my school already going on that observation thing and taking up all the other subs. but, man! i had stuff planned! i have to attend my son’s conference! after grumbling that my kids’ parents never show up, i was going to be one of them! ack! i told myself i’d wait until 6:15 (the latest i could wait before i had to leave to go to my son’s school for the conference time of 7:30, allowing for morning traffic), and if there was no sub, i’d cancel my leave and just go to school. i texted my mom in the meantime, who told me she’d gladly go up for me, but i said that my son needed to be at the conference, because he’s the one leading it–and my son was home with me, and she’d have no time to come pick him up and then go back to the school (which she lives but 5 minutes away from) with morning traffic the way it is.

6:15 came and there was no sub. crestfallen, i called in and canceled my leave. i email my son’s teacher to say that i’m sorry, but i can’t be there. i know she’ll probably think i was lying since i was grumbling about it earlier (thanks a lot, son!–but so totally something i would think, too, if one of my parents did this). then i leave a message canceling my car appointment and trudge off to work. i was *so* irritated. my mom told me, never mind, just take your leave, you scheduled everything already. but i knew in my heart i could not do that because if they did not find a sub, then the other teachers would have to take my kids and i didn’t want to burden them that way. especially when you make just enough copies for your own kids–which i knew they all had for chinese news years–and then to all of a sudden have more kids than you have copies for? it’s not like the kids are old enough that you can leave for a couple of minutes to run to the library to make extra copies. plus, i knew that over half my grade level was out on these observations, and i couldn’t make their subs take on these extra kids in the chaos a sub goes through. so i knew what i had to do.

so i could have done my chinese new year activities anyway–which i already did on wednesday because i told them i would not be here on friday, so i did it then. so i have nothing to do anyway for chinese new years since i refuse to do coloring activities. so i go in, pretty irritated. a couple of my kids said, “oh, i thought you weren’t coming in today?” i just grunted that plans changed. i was so, so irritated.

about an hour into the day, four children show up at my door. i asked if i could help them. they said they had no teacher, so they were told to come to my class. now, a phone call letting me know this would have been nice, but i invite them in and tell them to leave their backpacks at the back table and come join us. i find out at lunchtime that their teacher’s sub had canceled, as well. so the vp split them up to go to the other classes, all without notifying us, except at lunchtime as an afterthought. sigh. so, yes, what i worried for about my kids going to others’ classes, ended up happening to me. but then that made me feel slightly more better for canceling my leave today. if i had just gone on, the other classes would have had more than 30 kids each in their classes, with my kids and the other class’s kids being split up into their classes. i would have felt *so* bad if that had happened, especially since i knew my sub had canceled (i don’t know if the other one knew her sub had canceled) and just went about my own way anyway. i mean i felt horrible that i again have to put my kids’ needs before my *own* kid’s need. but like i told him, if his teacher had been there, too, then no question about it, i would be there. but if it’s just me and him at the conference…then what’s the use?? he nodded, and like always, just had to deal with it. sigh. i’m such a bad mom.

we got through the day, though. at the end of the day, i gave each of them a fortune cookie (luckily i had 30, just enough) and sent them on their merry way. one of the kids from the other teacher’s class that i had the pleasure of having the whole day (he’s very hyper and loud and needy and quite a handful) came up to me before he left, looked me in the eye, and said “you’re the best teacher ever. thank you for having me in your class. i love you. *pause as he looked deeper into my eyes* i love you.” AWWWWWWW. i gave him a hug. kid already knows how to manipulate a woman. man.

after the last kid left, i closed up my room and texted a colleague to see if there was a meeting. thankfully, she said no, and i was all YES. because i’m going home! she asked if i had a rough day and i texted her back everything that happened. i guess i wanted a bit of praise for canceling out my plans to come in but she didn’t give it–just aw, okay, have a good weekend. gee, thanks.

then a friend of mine who sends me a text every morning to help cheer me up asked if i could meet afterwards. so i said okay and met up with him. he greeted me with a flower, saying that he could tell in my response to his good morning message that i was irritated. i really don’t know how, because i didn’t say anything about the sub or canceled plans or anything. but somehow he just knew. wow. we went for a drive so i could vent (which i didn’t) but it just felt nice. like, okay, my plans were canceled when i felt i really just needed a break–and here i was, having one. it was nice. i went home and promptly dropped the dinner i had gotten for me and my son in the parking lot. ugh! the day of irritations was still going on strong! there was just a little break there. 🙂

then later that night i get a text from a different colleague who i had helped out the day before. she thanked me for being so patient with her when she said i was probably thinking it would be easier if i had done it myself (i didn’t think that, honestly). then she went on about how i’m a good example, which i do, not through telling, but by showing. she went on to say i’m a good contribution to my school, where she is still figuring out where she belongs (i totally disagree–she’s a GREAT contribution to our school, whereas i don’t know where *I* belong in that whole scheme of things). but that was such a nice note to end the day on. i fell asleep on that happy note, and was pleased that the next time i woke up, it was the next day and the day of irritation was past me.

now on to my day of sloth. 😛

***

so anyway, as far as perspectives go, i tried to see it from my sub’s point of view. maybe something happened. i hope so. i mean, i don’t hope anything bad happened, but i would be *SO* darn irritated if i found out he canceled just because he didn’t feel like coming in to work. that would make me mad. i don’t have that luxury. why should he? and disrupt my entire day just because he didn’t feel like coming in? i know i shouldn’t think that way but this is the second time this year that that particular sub did this to me–canceled late the night before. luckily the last time another sub was found quickly. so if there was a reason for his canceling, it had better be a darn good one. not that i want anything bad to happen to him. there just better be a good reason.

anyway, i also tried to look at it from another perspective, another attitude. maybe not get irritated, but be happy. i did not want to go to the conference in the first place–now i was able to get out of it! i wanted to be able to teach chinese new year myself, and not have a sub do it, and now i could! i saved my grade level from having to have 30+ kids the whole day! and i got the sweetest message from a hyper little boy who was surprised by my gentleness towards him. oh, and i got a flower. 🙂

but when have i ever focused on the positives? heeheehee 🙂 even as i type the above, the little negatives snuck into my thoughts (“yeah but what will his teacher think?”; “even though i already taught it on wednesday…”; “it’s about time my grade level did something for me…”; etc.! i’m so rotten!).

well, we’ll see if i can keep this up. it’s a short month, so what better time to try, right? 😛

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