Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let's Hope

The end of April and the beginning of May were relatively stressful times in my life. And by relatively stressful, I mean the craziest period in my entire 16 years of schooling. I was finishing up a year of student teaching, preparing to leave the city I had fallen in love with and the friendships that had developed. I knew that I had an intense summer course ahead of me, along with a job hunt that wasn't particularly promising.

And I had a final student teaching presentation to give, tied in with my Senior Honors project. The pressure was on, and my brain had switched from "student" to "teacher" mode. I was concerned with planning engaging lessons and preparing teaching materials and getting up the energy to love on my little friends every day. I was no longer able to sit down at my computer and knock out an academic paper in two hours, or input data quickly, or create a killer presentation. I could make a math worksheet in an instant or create some fantastic activities that would blow student minds. But this task- this huge Teacher Work Sample and research project and presentation- I felt like this was insurmountable.

I arrived in Anderson the night before my presentation, having just driven from Chicago. I passed the windmill farms alone (more about this in another post), and got to the house I would be staying at around 11:30 at night. My presentation a little over 12 hours away, I got to work immediately, barely even saying hello to my host and hostess. I had slept approximately 4 hours in the last twenty-four, but plodded onward, emerging from my room 8 hours later with a finished presentation. I had one last task in front of me: getting two bound copies of my Teacher Work Sample.

I would like you to picture me now, looking a little like Charlize Theron in Monster. (If you haven't seen it, do a google search for images FAR from the eyes of any children). I hadn't slept normally in about 5 months. I certainly hadn't showered in... longer than I care to admit. My hair was greasy and out of control, my eyes were bloodshot and drooping, and I was still in my clothes from the day before that I am pretty sure were actually clothes from the day before THAT. I was disgusting, but that wasn't stopping me. I drove with determination down Scatterfield Road to Office Depot, where my dear friend had NO idea what was coming.

I walk inside about three minutes after the store opens, and go straight to the copy center. I cannot describe the poor woman's reaction as I approached. A combination of fear and apprehension and probably a small amount of disgust.

"HI! I have something really important that I need to get done now. I need some help!"

"Okay, ma'am. What can we do for you today?"

"I need two copies of EVERYTHING on this flash drive printed. And then I need it to be spiral bound. Can you do that? Please tell me you can do that?"

"Well, ma'am. Let's see. Okay. There seems to be a problem with the software. I can't pull up your files here."


"Okay, don't worry. Let's try this computer. Okay. Look. They are all here!"

"Okay. Okay. Okay. I need that printed first, and then that and OH MY GOD. Where is all the data in these charts?"

"Well, I don't know. Maybe it didn't save?"

"Oh, it saved. It saved alright. It just. It just. It just ISN'T THERE!!!"

"Well, ma'am. I just don't think we can help you."


"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! I, I, I feel like I have been carrying this baby since last fall. And now I'm ready to deliver it. And no one will let me give birth!" (Starting to cry)

"Well, maybe we can work something out."

Two minutes later, I am reentering all of the data into the charts, from behind the employee counter. Apparently that is "against policy," but my demon eyes were quite persuasive. I walked away about 25 minutes later with two spiral bound copies and no idea what I had done to that poor woman. It hit later on, after some sleep and a shower.

I went back the next day after my presentation. I carried with me a thank-you card, and she had no idea who I was.

"I just want to thank you for all your help yesterday. I know I was a little crazy."

"Oh my gosh." (Two steps back)

"Yes, well. Thank you. And I am so sorry."

"It's okay. I had a good story to tell..."


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