Thursday, May 30, 2013

How My Students Made Pregnant Me Cry

They did it. They finally did it.

My students made me cry.

Now, I will freely admit I am an emotional person even when I'm not pregnant. I feel things very deeply (and my feelings have the unfortunate ability to affect things around me, such as breaking appliances). When I'm excited, I'm really excited, and when I'm freaked, I'm really freaked - at least for a little while. Then I can usually come back to a calm equilibrium in about 5 minutes and get on with life.

Well, pregnancy doesn't really let me do that. While sometimes I can cry or laugh or snap for no reason, and go back to being normal in a second (like, literally - switch emotions on a dime), other times I can't shake my emotional state. It keeps looming, making it difficult to function. This can be so intense that I will end up sobbing and weeping for hours.

Of course, it's always made worse when I can't let my emotions out completely. So you can imagine how bad today was. Not only were my students acting out by standing up and not working on their projects, but they were also LOUDLY complaining (complaining about having to stay in art, complaining about the project, complaining that it was hard - and all VERY loudly and obviously).

The class in question is probably my worst behaviorally. This is a little surprising because I have a lot of students who are really excellent in it. They really are. And they suffer every class because the other half of the students just don't want to listen or to help. Their good behavior just isn't enough to outweigh and influence those who are displaying bad behavior.

Well, after trying to get through origami instructions for a cool project (jumping frogs! They're fun! They jump! Everyone who has made them has loved them!), I snapped. I had to stop probably 10 times to get them to stop talking (half of which was loud and obvious complaining) and I was done. I almost lost it in class because I was so upset. In the end, I let them have recess because I didn't want to be around them any more. I wasn't sure what I would do, or what I *should* do (i.e. who I should call to deal with them for me while I hid in the bathroom). But I also didn't want to break down at work because I didn't want to have to leave with blotchy skin and tear tracks down my cheeks.

Well, I did end up crying a little outside during recess. Then I cried a little more when I told my supervisor about the misbehavior and what we should do about it. In the end, I know we'll come up with a solution (already have an idea of what will happen).

The thing is, I couldn't stop crying.

I kept crying. Once I got in the car, I couldn't stop. It just kept coming. Luckily when a toddler ran out into the street outside the school, I had the presence of mind to stop well before he crossed in front of my car. But once I got onto the main drag, I don't think I would have been as aware. I was barely registering the color of the traffic lights. I stopped crying enough to get out of my car when I got home. Then once inside, I started sobbing again. I sobbed as I got my snack. I sobbed as I filled up my water bottle. I sobbed while I was putting away dirty dishes.

I was so upset, I was just short of throwing up. I actually wretched several times.

This is not my normal reaction to misbehaving students - at least not with this level of misbehavior (someone would have to make me feel REALLY badly about myself before I would cry this much). Yes, this class is a repeat offender, but it's only 2 hours of my week. I can generally deal with herding cats for 2 hours of each week. It's not that bad. Really.

Except I'm pregnant.

And today just happened to be a crazy hormone surge - or something. For whatever reason, my emotions were just really intense today. It could have been anything that set me off. I know this because after watching Brave this past week (twice!), I cried horribly when the main character was trying to save her mom. Like really crying. In fact I couldn't stop crying. So it wasn't that I blame my students (although I do want them to follow instructions). I don't. My reaction was from the fact that cannot control my emotional reactions the same way as before I was pregnant. And I don't know when I'll have extreme reactions or not. I just know that they happen and there's nothing I can do about it.

I'm hoping in the last few weeks of the program these kids won't give me so much grief, but I know this is probably wishful thinking. So, if I feel an intense reaction coming on, I guess I'll just have to call in reinforcements. Here's hoping that works.

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