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News at Home – A Devastating Week
When it rains it pours, huh? For me this was a truly devastating week and I’m not just talking about Trump being elected president. Though that’s definitely a huge piece of it and I will talk about it in a minute. I know some people keep politics off their blog and I often do. But in this case, Trump isn’t politics, he’s personal and I will be sharing. I’ll apologize in advance for an extremely long post and for getting political. If I hurt anyone’s feelings, I am sorry. I’m not trying to hurt you, I’m just trying to show how it hurt me.
But first, the other devastating bits.
My principal is gone. Yep. Remember how she said she was retiring at the end of the semester? Well, for reasons I can only assume have to do with her health being worse than she knew, she didn’t come in this week and they told us on Friday that she’s officially not coming back. I’m so emotional this week, it was enough to make me cry a little bit. To top it off, they’ve decided NOT to replace her until May. As in, we’ll be going through the rest of the year without a principal. Our AP, who is absolutely fantastic, told us Friday that she’s going to be doing her best to make sure we have the leadership we need and have grown accustomed to, but (understandably) she’s going to need our help. They’re going to give her a retired administrator to come in and help with the discipline side of things, but everything else she’s got to do alone. She’s so amazing that she still promised to try and take as much off our plates as possible. I can’t in good conscience add anything to her plate! She has much too much to handle as it is!
She’s also announced that are regional director has accepted a position in another district. Now on one hand, that’s fantastic because he’s an abosolute jerk. However, talk about uncertainty. Who will be our new director? Will s/he be even worse? And without the initial influence of our principal, who made it clear she stood for her teachers, will s/he have more power to disrupt our lives?
As I left work Friday, I got a call from my husband telling me that our turtle is gone. He was cleaning her tank and, for god knows what stupid reason, he decided she should get a chance to be outside and roam around a bit. Well she got that chance and took off. I wish I had a clue why he didn’t let her outside while keeping her IN something to protect her. And considering the weather right now and that we live a little far from water (she’s a red eared slider), not to mention all the cats in my area, I can only imagine she’s dead. I would have been more upset with my husband for his mistake, but he’s so torn up over it. He spent 3+ hours outside looking for her. And he keeps asking if I think she’s okay. Of course, I lie and say, “yes, I’m sure she got to water and warmth.” What else can I say?? So now we have this depressing sight:
I really need to figure out what to do with the tank.
On top of all that is the election. I cried and cried Wednesday on my way to work. I thought I had it together until I saw one of my co-workers, who was equally torn up about it. She’d clearly been crying and I think we both saw it on each other’s faces. We hugged and cried. And then we went to pick up our kids. Our Hispanic kids. Our Asian kids. Our African American kids. Our Middle Eastern kids. Our Muslim kids. Our female kids. Our disabled kids. Our potentially LGBTQ kids. And it took all I had to not start crying again. Our country had just declared that protecting them does not matter. Hate speech against them is okay. And I was supposed to spend this week teaching them about patriotism and patriotic holidays for social studies. While feeling anything but patriotic. How do you tell them that the country that doesn’t care about them is so great?
On top of that, I dedicated the first few weeks of school to teaching them EXCLUSIVELY about how to behave. How to treat each other. They know better, but the adults in our nation don’t. I teach love and acceptance every day. But now it already seems like not enough. I feel so overwhelmed by the job I have to do. And no, I’m not over-reacting. Here are some of the things that happened in my class, to my students, since Trump was elected – and to be clear, nothing like this has EVER happened in my class before:
- One of my very bright (gifted and talented), African American students came up to my crying on Wednesday. She told me that her mom was crying this morning. She said, “My mom hugged me and told me she hoped the world would treat me better.” She told me she was confused and scared. My student told me she could tell I was upset too. She wanted to know why. How do you explain (especially while maintaining the neutrality required of teachers)? I told her that some big changes happened last night… she interrupted me and said, “You mean because Trump is going to be president?” I nodded my head. I told her that some adults were upset about it and a little bit scared because he’s said and done some really mean things. “But,” I told her, “you don’t have to worry about it. Adults will take care of it.” Boy do I hope I didn’t just lie to her. I just couldn’t bare to see her worry.
- Another of my students, Hispanic, arrived to school very late on Thursday. He didn’t have his backpack or his lunch. He wasn’t wearing a coat. That’s weird, his mom is very attentive. At recess I asked him about it and he told me that someone tried to break into his house last night while his dad was at work. His mom told him and his brother to go hide under the bed and called 911. The police came and they had to go stay at his uncle’s house in a hurry. He was visibly upset. But after a hug, went off to play. I contacted his mom to see if they were okay after school. She told me that the house had been vandalized with hate messages and the police advised them to stay somewhere else. She apologized that in the midst of her upset she forgot to grab her son’s backpack and hoped it didn’t mess up his school work too much. She’s a wonderful mother and I’m crying again thinking of what happened to them. I offered my assistance, not knowing what I could do. She laughed, clearly through tears, and said, “thanks, but what can you do? Just keep taking care of my boy, make sure he’s safe when he’s with you.” I’m scared doing that just got a lot harder.
- During recess on Friday one of my young Muslim girls came up to me, her hijab falling off and crying. Now kids cry over simple things all the time, so I don’t get worried right off the bat. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her hijab was a mess. I offered to help her fix it and she sat in front of me as we fixed it. I assumed it had just happened while she was playing, but I asked her. She told me, “(student’s name) pulled it.” “Were you playing and it was an accident?” These things happen all the time. And the student who’s name she gave me is a really sweet little girl and they are friends. She shook her head no and started crying. She couldn’t tell me what happened, she was so upset. So I called over the student she had named and asked what happened. “My mom says people who wear those can’t be here anymore. We’re friends, so I told her to take it off. She wouldn’t, but I don’t want her to leave. So I tired to take it off.” Y’all how do you handle that? This was a parent’s hate making a child act in a horrible way because she was afraid to lose her friend. I won’t lie, I didn’t know what to do in the moment. And I couldn’t hold back my tears. I hugged them both and let a few tears drop. I told the student she needed to respect her friend and asked if she thought it was nice to pull on people’s clothing. She said no and apologized. They hugged and went back to playing, but I didn’t feel like that was enough. I talked it over with my co-workers during lunch and they agreed we needed to address it thoroughly. We’re working on the details of how, exactly to address it. We have to meet with our AP to make sure we don’t break any religious rules, but I HAVE to make sure my kids learn this lesson. And that was the worst afternoon of phone calls. First, to the mom who’s daughter had been a victim. Then to the parent who taught the hate in the first place. The first parent was obviously upset, but thankful that the little girl wasn’t actually acting out of hate. I promised her that it had been briefly addressed and would be fully addressed with the class as a whole. The second parent said she was “surprised you allow kids to wear them at school.” I firmly told her that just like the school allows her daughter to wear her cross necklace every day, the hijab was welcome. And further, I would not tolerate any child acting against another for wearing the cross or hijab. I told her that, regardless of what she teaches at home, I teach love and acceptance in my classroom. I think she officially hates me. Oh well.
This is just a small piece of why I’m so upset over Trump’s election as president. To top it off, I’m a black woman. Trump’s said hateful things about me. My husband is a Mexican immigrant. Trump’s said hateful things about him, vowing to deport him. My brother is a black gay man. Trump’s said hateful things about him, vowing to strip his equal rights. This is so incredibly personal. Yes I’m depressed and angry over it. I’ve cried. When I find out someone voted for Trump, I have an incredibly hard time looking at them the same way. Not with hate, but with less trust. I get that not everyone who voted for him shares his bullying tendencies. I’m sure, or at least I’m trying to believe, that most don’t like his hate speech. I get that they voted because they liked his stance on some issues. Or because they didn’t like Hilary (but couldn’t be bothered to look at the independents?). What I also get, though, is that his hate speech wasn’t a deal breaker for them. And that’s why I can’t look at them the same way. Because I thought hate speech was a deal breaker for good people. It’s so hard to be optimistic and hopeful right now 🙁
To end on a positive note, though, today is my brother’s birthday! He’s 29 and we’re going for dinner to celebrate. I’m looking forward to the time with him and his boyfriend.
Are y’all ready for COYER?
Head to Coyerchallenge.com on Thursday for the sign up post. I’m so excited for y’all to read it because we got creative and I got to do some creative writing 🙂
I couldn’t get into the readathon really until Saturday. I kept trying to shut off my feelings about the election, but it wasn’t until Saturday that I was able to enjoy reading a happy holiday book. But I really needed that. I gobbled it up and am on my second one now.
I actually did a lot of writing this week. Writing is a great outlet for me when I’m feeling angry and sad. I’m sure this section of my book will need editing so it won’t be overly dark. But it is a dark part, so good timing. I haven’t typed it up – I was supposed to yesterday but I was in bed sick (coughing up mucus and back pain), so I don’t have a word count update. Will try for next weekend.
This was an OK gym week. I made it Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. My anger and frustration needed a place to go, and I managed to keep it from food. I ended up going to the 5:30 classes instead of 4:30. It worked much better, less stress trying to get out of work in time. So as much as I want shorter work hours, that’s my plan from now on.
Last Week on the Blog
- [6 Nov] The Sunday Post | Oh No!
- [7 Nov] What I’m Reading November 7, 2016
- [8 Nov] Ten Books I’ve added to my TBR Lately
- [9 Nov] Heartless by Marissa Meyer ★★★★★
- [10 Nov] A Month of Giving Thanks: Authors and Narrators!
- [12 Nov] My TBR List | November 2016 Results
This Week on the Blog Look For:
Sunday Post | A Devastating Week
What I’m reading November 14, 2016
Ares by Felicity Heaton cover reveal
A hilarious, sexy read! Smut #review
A Month of Giving Thanks: Book People
Panic by J. A. Huss #review
Books From Kinderland: Thanksgiving
How was your week?For Berls, this was a devastating week. Read about it in this week's Sunday Post. Click To Tweet