Ever have one of those days? The kind of day that starts out with so much promise, but ends up being a nightmare of loose ends and unfulfilled expectations? I did. I do on a semi-regular basis. It is part of the nature of my profession. I have come to accept it, but it doesn't make it any smoother going down.
I was happy this morning to find my son awake at roughly the same time as I was, and he spent some time warming himself on the heating vent as I took my shower. It was a stolen moment of connection that most school days do not afford me. There were no ugly surprises awaiting me on my ride to work, and I had a pleasant guy-sports-moment on the way in with a couple of my fellow teachers. I felt rested and ready to take on the last day of the week.
I also felt confident that the looming report card conferences with the parents of my students would keep them on a more even keel for the day. Besides, it was going to be a day full of quiet test-taking culminating in a quick tie-up of loose ends before heading out for a little kickball in the brisk November afternoon.
We never made it out to kickball. The anticipation of report cards seemed to make them more antagonistic and unfocused. We limped on through to the end of the day with all of our "must-do's" completed, but the "may-do's" went untouched. That's when the fun really started.
I had made an appointment with the father of my biggest challenge to connect with him about his report card. The earliest he said he could come was after five thirty, so I set myself to work preparing for the next week. I filled about an hour before I heard the third grade teachers in the hallway, so I stepped out to see what the commotion was.
One of them had her purse stolen from her classroom. She had only walked out for a moment to go across the hall to use the bathroom. When she came back, the purse was gone. With her wallet. With her cell phone. With her keys. She became another one of those too-trusting souls who never would have imagined that someone would steal from an elementary school teacher. And so I spent the better part of the next hour trying to piece the puzzle together. Ironically, the finger initially pointed squarely in the direction of my biggest challenge. He was the one who had been lurking around after school, poking his head into my room long after all my other students had gone home.
The assistant principal and I drove up to their house and met up with the kid and his older brother, and it was pretty clear that they hadn't been involved, mostly since they didn't bother to rat one another out, as they are accustomed. As it turned out, their father was home at the time, and I asked if he wouldn't mind coming down to do the conference sooner rather than later. There was some discussion about mother being in the hospital, and that's when the aunt offered to walk down with the boys instead.
I waited at the school until six o'clock. When I called the house to see if anyone was coming down, they were still trying to get their collective ducks in a row for the rush visit to the hospital. The aunt was suddenly unavailable as well. I wished that I had just carried the report card with me and thrust it through the open door when I had the chance. Instead, I rescheduled for Monday evening.
I'm home now, and I can take off my teacher hat for a day or two. I know that it will start right up again bright and early, so I'm hoping to get some rest. I'm going out tonight with my son to get a cheeseburger. That should go down nice and smooth.