It was a weird kind of day yesterday...... not to bore you with details it started off with me feeling mildly out of sorts.......... and facing a big morning of shopping for school. (anyone who knows me real time .. knows i absolutely HATE shopping!!)
But i struggled through the morning tasks.. and got back to school in one piece .. and planned on a nice quiet lunch and afternoon and then into an evening meeting.. i just kept telling myself.. this is a walk in the park.. go in your office close the door.. put on some soothing music.. and let life go on without you for one day.
Best laid plans and all that.......... half way through the noon hour (while i was in the main office dosing up my kiddies on their meds) a mom came in. A mom i had had to call earlier in the week with bad news.... not news any mom wants to hear. Her 7 year old son was caught trying to self mutilate his genitals. (it turned out this was not the first call she had had from the school about her son.. but was most definitely the most disturbing) She wanted to talk to me.. she wanted to observe her son outside playing... i gave her permission... and promised to join her as soon as i could........ i spent 20 minutes with that mom.. listening to her rage against the school and staff who must be the ones who were creating this anger / pain / low self esteem in her son.. she moved on to other possible causes.. including herself. She cried.. i held her. Mostly i listened.. Finally i pointed out the obvious.. we could not solve her son's problems standing in the parking lot in a 20 minute discussion... she needed to turn to the school specialists and trust they would work long and hard to help her son.. She hugged me.. called me "precious" wiped her tears and came in to set up an appointment for this morning !!
Later in the day i had another little guy (another 7 year old) get angry at one of my educators and say to her (after much bickering and ignoring and stamping of feet) 'what the F*&%K is YOUR problem?" he was quick marched down to my office. This was the second time we had suffered through his abusive language......... rudeness and total disrespect. i called his mom.. (for the second time in about as many days) i went through the routine again.. about the language.. about his anger.. and she stood fast that this was a school problem.. her son NEVER used that sort of language.. never showed such defiance ... it was our fault. Only this time i was prepared.. i handed the little boy the phone.. we had already discussed this... he hated when mommy and daddy fought and yelled .. and they used THE word all the time.......... she heard the words out of his mouth..... it wasn't the school.. it wasn't the other kids.. the problems were deeper than that.
Add to that my realization that some of my staff may be homophobic (and ohhhhhh god don't be homophobic around me !!!) because they were laughing and making fun of yet another child.. a 9 year old boy who loves to buff his nails and wear nail polish.. who is showing strong tendencies towards homosexuality... and i warned them all they had better shelve THAT attitude - he was a 9 year old boy who was probably starting to realize how different he was from the other boys....... and their job was to help him deal with his differences.. to help the others deal with his differences...
And finally around 9:30 p.m. i limped home........ exhausted.. and thinking about people's attitudes. How sometimes it is really difficult to see the forest for the trees. How easy it is to say "not my problem - the problem lies with you" and how my job hasn't changed in 20 years in many fundamental ways......... the parents and the kids still need me.. and that is the best feeling in the world ... to know in some way you can help.