What will 2012 bring for Miss Lame?
The big unknown adventure- particularly, a new permanent teaching role in PE and Science- Miss Lein’s very own classes.
My landlord is a dick.
Many people can relate to my feelings of landlord distain. There are rare “landlord gems” that are good people who care about their tenants and behave in a humane and reasonable way.
Two days after a beautiful Christmas day with my incredible family, I sat enjoying family company at the Collingwood condo in Southwestern Ontario, a fresh layer of white coating the world just outside the window. I opened my email, just to have a look-see.
“NOTICE OF TENANCY AGREEMENT END”.
Not fully acknowledging what this could possibly mean, I open the email, confused, but still calm.
I received my first ever properly outlined, spell/grammar checked email from my landlord that day. It clearly stated that my contract will not be renewed after my 6 months are up- No reason given… Ending with…
For and on behalf of DICKHEAD LTD
My brain dove into a tizzy of thoughts… Completely overwhelmed, sad, frustrated.
“How will I cope with finding a new home and starting my new job???? Lesson planning. At the school from early morning until evening. Where will I find the time? My lovely flatmates. My big family. Everything is about to change.”
Next thought: "Organisation = comfort"… Moments later, I was on “Spareroom.uk.com”, searching flat adverts, lining up viewings for the week back in big, old London before the teaching world commences.
Despite the anxiety and feelings of sadness about the pending changes, quickly feelings of excitement welled up inside of me as I contemplate a new space, new people, whilst maintaining my developed friendships with my lovely current flatmates.
A new adventure. Miss Lame likes those.
Why did Miss Lame get da boot?
This might help clarify…
Famous Sevban quotes:
1. “Women have too many rights in the country”… Well then.
Miss Lame = woman.
AND so, as a key Chaudrey household spokesperson (meaning a woman “telling” Sevban to do something) this meant a less than adoring relationship developed between Sevban and I very quickly.
Based on my landlord’s stance, he despised my completely out-of-line (a hint of sarcasm…) requests such as:
a) Requiring a phone call/text prior to entering into our home (I was being “demotivating to his staff”)
b) Heat in mid-December (about 3 weeks of waiting and excuses)
c) A non-gas-leaking boiler (you know, so we don’t all die.)
I know. I’m incredibly unreasonable.
2. “You be bad, I be worse! You be worse, I be worstest!”
Well, I guess I was “worse”.
Miss Lame and her current living situation.
Home life is sorted and completely ideal.
The tall ceilings, big bright windows and crown molding that enclose me as I sit lounging on the couch make me think of my home that I grew up in. My heart is happy and my body and mind feel calm. I breathe.
The bright, comforting street lamps give a soft glow that light up my path and the charming, classic Victorian walk-ups I pass as I walk from home to transit in the early morning, and transit to home early-mid evening after a busy day’s work. This new route brings a smile to my face.
The home is much quieter, which is necessary at this time with my absolutely crammed teaching life. EXHAUSTED by constant, on-your-toes human interaction, over-worked, defeated by my year 7 Science class, I arrive home in need of a clean calm space to make and CONSUME food, and minute tolerance for further social activity. My new home is inviting and brings my soaring anxious brain back down to earth. I come home to two, in contrast to what was 6, beautiful people with whom I share the ins and outs of my day and vice-versa. I am not alone, but I am not socially overwhelmed and overstimulated.
I feel calm, happy, at home.
A Bruised Face Feels Better than a Bruised Ego…
Eager, energetic Miss Lame, wanting to get involved… Not just to even out the teams, but genuinely because she has her incredible, recurring urge to just play some football.
My year 10 boys’ class… I dash confidently, energetically to jockey my 6 foot student, Delwin. He turns his body to create a blockade between me and the ball he possesses. Meanwhile, other boys begin to swarm the situation. 5’2 Miss Lame, bouncing around, eagerly (and stupidly) jockeying, amidst five or six 5’9+, year 10 black boys.
I stop in my tracks and immediately bring my hand to my nose.
“whoa, Miss are you ok?”
Is it deviated? I think.
“IS IT DEVIATED AT ALL?” I ask with urgency.
“DOES IT LOOK WEIRD?” I insist, whilst tears flow out of my eyes and down my cheeks.
There is a wall. One of those hypothetical ones… I feel it’s opaque, solid and hard. I hear my voice and I hate it. I hate the sound of my own voice. I am faded and warn, yet my brain and body buzzes with anxiety. Uncomfortable energy.
“Stop talking and take a seat please! Class, I need your… Olivia, sit in your seat please. Kenny! Ayo STOP THAT!”
Strained voice. Strained eyes reading “helpless”… “completely and utterly shattered”. Dissappointment.
I would have never thought I would fear teaching students. That I would feel so weakened and ineffectual. As I stand before my class of year 7s. Science class. My lesson plan ready, SO thought out… Handouts, power point, experiment, prompts… Scripted…
My efforts are made useless within moments.
“If I just plan and prepare this lesson to perfection I will be fine.” I thought with confidence as I sacrificed my night’s sleep, staying up organising myself until past midnight.
Three crucial things I have learned or am still working on actively…
1. Proper sleep- priority.
Sleep translates to better coping and patience… Less stress and anxiety- CRUCIAL to a successful class.
I have not properly appreciated the value of sleep until beginning my career in education.
2. It’s not personal- mastering this is taking some time for Miss Lame.
The “crusty senior sass”, the loopy, undirected energy of my year 7s, such as non-stop meter stick jousting during an experiment, the intensity of these behaviours are variable from one day to the next and highly dependent of external factors such as the weather, time of day, what is going on in the students’ lives… hormones etc, in addition to my planning and approach to behaviour management.
Students are not malicious, they are kids. They don’t misbehave to make your life difficult on purpose.
3. Year 7, 8 and 9s need parenting- structure and “no means no”.
I am working in a school in a region of London with quite the reputation for being rough and as having one of the lowest socioeconomic statuses in the city. Stressed and with minimal time and resources, I can see how the parents of my students struggle to find the energy to establish rules and routines with their children. Why fight their child’s request/demand, when it may escalate into an argument or a situation warranting much behaviour management and emotional strain?
My students come into the classroom, needing an adult figure to teach them boundaries and social expectations of behaviour- NO MEANS NO!
I am constantly catching myself wanting to level with the kids. As I apply the prescribed reprimand regime- first warning, second warning, teacher detention, safe room- and my student pleads with me to give them another chance, my over-empathetic side says- “show them you understand they don’t mean it… Show them you understand people make mistakes…Give them that chance to do better…”
The kids sense this "giving in". They push harder as they see me flinch.
A negative cycle ensues.
COMMON MISS LAME!!! NO MEANS GOSH DARN NO!!!!!
BE A TOUGH MOTHER DUCKER!
…A Bruised Face Feels Better than a Bruised Ego…
But the bruised ego means important learnings…
A Lame moment for Miss’s Lame
Moving day (Sunday January 22, 2012).Bent over (great way to start a sentence, I know…), head buried under (there I go again) the console of my new flatmate Simon’s car, strategically, affectionately positioning my mini potted coniferous tree and orchid in the foot space so as to avoid a topple-over catastrophe during the drive to my new home. I sense Simon’s presence behind me, watching me maneuver the pots. As I turn around and peer up at Simon, puzzled by his presence, I notice a smirk on his face.
HH“It’s going to be a rather interesting drive home with plants at my feet.”
A moment of confusion, and then the “AHA moment”, or rather the AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA moment as I realise what I’ve done.
I managed to miss the steering wheel prevailing overhead and neglected the gas pedal protruding into the foot space cave in which half my body was residing.
So many overt clues. Oblivious. Well done Miss Lame. Well done.
I am Canadian. The driver is on the left hand side of the car for gosh darn sakes!!!
Friday January 27th- leaving work for the day.
School staff behind the registration desk: “Miss can I ask you something?”
“Yes! Of course!”
“Does anything ever get you down?”
I am revitalised.
I am revitalised.
...Despite the fact I feel like melting down at times these days, and I can sometimes be found doing so in the PE office after a rough day of ineffectual behaviour management, my positive energy and efforts are acknowledged and appreciated… This comment ended my day and week on a positive note. Revitalised!
P.S. Favorite things I’ve noticed/heard these days…
1. “The overground has been suspended due to adverse weather conditions”… at 3 cm of snow.
Martin: *Laughing* "THERE IS STILL GRASS POKING THROUGH!!!"
Martin: *Laughing* "THERE IS STILL GRASS POKING THROUGH!!!"
2. I like how oranges are sold with their stems and pretty emerald green leaves still intact here. Just lovely.
NOTE: Any words that are bolded, italicized, underlined and in red are suggested/preferred words by Mom. She doesn’t like me saying words like fuck, shit, ass (etc) on the internet… I feel these words better illustrate my feelings as times, so just imagine them in there if you will.