Monday, March 12, 2012

Game Changer

I'm sure that I've posted before about my kids who serve a "lunch detention" and come with their lunch to read a book in class with me.  Our first book was "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian".  The second one is "The Hunger Games".

I bought 5 tickets for kids to the Hunger Games and planned to do a raffle, ala Effie Trinket, to pick a winner. Each student could enter their name in the drawing once for each time they came to eat lunch.

I was bragging about this on Thursday night on Facebook. The drawing was to be Friday and the kids would meet me at the theater during our two week spring break.  Someone asked why I didn't take the whole class.  I explained that I can't afford to take everyone and that it was alright- I think the kids just liked reading at lunch and hearing me read it to them.

Then someone said "I'll pitch in for some tickets".

Then someone else.  And someone else and someone else.  I had 2 offers to pay for the whole thing and I started crying.  Part of me wanted to say no, we'd be ok.  But that would be wrong.  My kids will absolutely LOVE going to the movies as a group and seeing the book that we are reading in class!  So I got over it and said yes.  We will get to go on the 24th in Bricktown.  I am so excited and cannot thank my friends enough!

I shot a video of a thank-you picture we were taking.  Very cute.  The kids were so surprised and so excited! This was the highlight of my week and probably of my whole month.  I'm going to send it to our "sponsors".  If you read the book, that would make you smile...

On Friday I also learned that my students made gains of about 20-30% on their benchmark reading scores.  This blew away my principal, who was hoping for 10% or at least some movement.  This doesn't mean my students are passing, just that they have improved.  My kid who ate his library pass on the first day of class passed.  My student who I cannot for the love of God or money get to write more than a few sentences passed.  Several of them earned "exceeded" marks and most are on the edge between "below standard" and "passing" that I am certain we can get a 70% pass rate this year.  Right now the benchmark says that we are at about a 50% rate. These students work hard and know why I do the things I do- to give them a good chance of success through literacy.  I hope so, anyway. I have tried to ingrain it in them since Day 1.

In the not-so-awesome-but-kinda-so department, I taught a geography class for our deceased teacher on Friday as well.  It's during my plan period but the students really need help and stability so I've volunteered to teach it the rest of the year.  I hope it works out that I get to.  The awesome part is teaching geography.  The drawback is teaching it in the building while the demolition crews bang on pipes and raise dust.

As a consequence, Friday night was a total bust. I had multiple asthma attacks and couldn't sleep.  Saturday was rough too and I even had an asthma attack at Grey's sister's birthday party.  I was so embarrassed to have to excuse myself to go take medicine and then I was so shaky that everyone thought I was just nervous.  I was not nervous- Grey's family is full of nice, kind and decent people and the reason I couldn't let go his hand was because I couldn't stop shaking.  I think his mom and dad think I am shy because I didn't say much.  And I'm sure I looked terrible, because I felt terrible.  More asthma attacks and finally some sleep and we went for a long walk on Sunday.  Today here in Tulsa, it's nice and sunny and warm.  I woke up at 3:15 with an asthma attack (sigh) and slept in for a bit.  Then, since Grey works till 6, I did the stuff one normally does to greet the day and then read a book outside in the sunshine.

You know, there is something I almost never talk about.  It's about those feelings one holds deep and dear.  I have a hard time expressing emotions rather than delight, anger or something that is right around arms length.  Grey says the nicest things to me- he is very good whereas I am terrible.  Something in me freezes up and thinks that if I really love someone, and I wish to keep them in my life, I would generally lose them if I opened up and they were able to penetrate that emotional armadillo skin of mine.  It seems that I have lost more of the people I loved or been betrayed or hurt other people too much to have a kind and loving relationship.  And Grey knows this and when I get tongue-tied, he knows that there are things I need time to work out and say.  Something like a time-delay clock.  Fifteen minutes after some declaration of love or a remark about the future, I finally untie the frozen strings from my heart and say what I really want to.

It's even harder to write about, to admit that to all, oh, say 10 of my readers.  I'm supposed to be a writer. I'm supposed to be fucking eloquent.  I'm supposed to be tough and smart and a lone wolf and all of the stupid cliches that go with someone who doesn't know how to accept love.

And how stupid is it that we've been engaged for over a month and I'm just now mentioning it?  And I'm not even going to give any details.

Who is taking her entire class to "The Hunger Games"?  This person!
Give me 15 minutes...


  1. Congrats on the great improvement on your students! And congrats on the engagement!

  2. Congratulations on your kids increasing their scores, and your engagement to a wonderful man, and your kids all getting to see The Hunger Games together!! I'm so happy for all the happiness in your life right now. By the way, 15 minutes or so is better than never. It gives you time to carefully consider your words, which is a good thing. :D