The Epic Tale of my Cohort Experiences: Week 1

Cohort Journal:  Week 1

Candid, loose, and unedited

My schedule schedule for this week.

Looking at this schedule alone makes me anxious.

Monday: 8/26/2013
First day of classes.
I leave the house early so I can pick up a coursepack from a copy shop.  I am eager and excited to start my day.  Even though I am dreading the long drive five days a week, I am excited to finally be taking courses about teaching.

My first class is wonderful.  It is about classroom management.  My teacher demonstrates how to manage a class on the first day of school naturally and with ease.  I know this semester is off to a good start, except there is a girl in my class who I know does not like me.

My second class shatters all of my hopes and dreams.  The professor does not make a good first impression.  I recognize he is a great teacher, but he demoralized me, belittles me, and embarrasses me in front of an entire room full of people I do not know.  I stay after class to discuss this with him and I cry.  I cannot hide my emotions and as an added bonus one student has stayed behind to talk with him as well.  She holds her head down to be respectful of my meltdown, but nevertheless, she not viewing my finest moment in life.He tries to show empathy, but does not understand how his approach to teaching insulted the very core of my being.  Unable to adequately explain what he had done, I leave and decide I never ever want to return.  I want to quit.  This is too hard.  I am an adult.  He does not know who I am and he decided it was appropriate to insult my intelligence in front of teenagers.  Do I really want to learn from someone like this?  I have three children.   I have been through so much in my life I do not need this.  I don’t need to be put in my place.  I quit, or at least I really want to.

I leave school much later than I intend because of my emotional meltdown that I chose to fully express once I got into my car.  I know I have to pull myself together because I have to pick up two of my children from two different schools within the next 40 minutes to take them to the dentist.  The problem is I am 50 minutes away.  I cry the whole way to the Elementary school and arrive 5 minutes late to pick up my daughter.  I pick up my son from the Junior High 10 minutes late.  Somehow we make to their appointments on time.  My son broke one of his brackets to his over the weekend, which was good timing since he already had a dental & ortho appointment scheduled for Monday.  I suppose I should be thankful because I would not have been able to handle scheduling anything additional this week for sure.

We leave the dentist much, much later.  I have to scramble to get my son home to quickly get ready for football. He pulls this task off.  I drop him off and then head home for an hour.  During this hour, I stop at the grocery for dinner items and catch up on life at home while my mind races with thoughts of dropping out of school for this semester and returning next semester majoring in professional writing.  I can do my Master’s in Teaching and I can find this online.  The problem is my husband does not agree with me.

I leave the house at 5PM, take my youngest daughter to soccer and then drop my oldest off at speed/strength training.  I then drive to the other side of town to pick up my son from football.  I drop him off at home and then get back to pick my daughter up from soccer just in time at 7 PM.  We get home around 7:30 and I have to begin making dinner.  I have given zero thought to completing any type of school work because #1. I have decided to quit & #2.  I haven’t had time any way.  We eat dinner around 8:30 and then I sit on the couch drained.  My day started at 6 AM, my emotional breakdown has given me a headache, and frankly I am tired from spending 80% of day behind the wheel.  I attempt to discuss my plans with my husband, but he is firm and will not allow me to quit.  I decide to sleep on the chair in my office.  I am angry that my husband does not understand my dilemma.  I am hurt that he thinks I want to quit because it is too hard.  I want to quit because I am tired of the fight and perhaps all of the barriers I have fought to overcome to get to this point were really obstacles put in my way to lead me down a different path.  I have reached my breaking point and I am open to changing my course if that is what I should do.  Or am I just being overly sensitive?  Whichever it is, life is short.  I do not wish to spend any more of it in turmoil.

Tuesday: 8/27/2013
I don’t have to be at class until 11:30.  If I leave the house at 10:00 I should be okay.  I know I have to go.  These two classes today are different than yesterday.  If I don’t like them then I know I will quit.  First, it is my day to do carpool.  I drop my carload of neighborhood kids off at school at 9:15 and then come back home.

I decide to email the professor who made me cry and explain to him what he actually did to make me feel so inadequate.  I have to do this or there is no way in the world I will be able to walk back into his classroom tomorrow.  I also do not want to give one person this much control over my future.  In the grand scheme of what I am doing, he is not that important.

I work on the email all morning.  I send my draft to Brian and he helps me make some adjustments.  When I receive Brian’s feedback I am already on my way to class so I will have to send the email later.

My first class of the day is wonderful. I love the professor.  He is more my speed.  I notice the girl who saw me cry is also in this class. I find out I have to get another coursepack.  This one is located in the Shriver Center.  I am not sure where this is.  I need to get it as soon as possible though because I have an assignment due on Thursday from it. 

The second class of the day is boring and will be the end of me sitting through day in and day out.  It is completely full and the girl who saw me cry had no choice, but to sit next to me. She doesn’t bring it up.  Before I leave, I ask her if she could tell me where the Shriver Center is.  She is as nice as can be and explains in great detail how to get there. I leave my class and head there as quickly as possible.  I quickly find out this is the heart of campus and when I asked her where the building was she should have laughed in my face.  I walk in the main doors and follow signs to the bottom floor leading me to the bookstore, all the while taking note of signs directing online orders to a different location.  I find the bookstore and walk in.  The line is 5 miles long.  I don’t have time for this today.  I have to get home for carpool, plus I need to email my mean professor before it gets too late.  I resolve to leave early the next morning and get to the bookstore when it opens.

I hurry home to send the email, which by the time I got home was all I had time for before I had to go pick up for carpool. My son, Brenden, didn’t need me to take him to football practice today because he has a game and he was allowed to stay after school. I pick the kids up, head home, grab some snacks, and me and the girls head to Plains Junior High to watch Liberty Junior’s first football game of the season.  Brenden, who hates playing football, earned a starting position on defense.  

We arrive late because of my carpool situation.  Brian calls to find out if we are coming and asks us to bring chairs.  It is nearly 100 degrees, which doesn’t make sense because we have had such a mild summer.  The call is short and brief because we still don’t see eye to eye on all that went down yesterday.

The first few minutes of the game, I get a response from my professor.  He is kind.  He is thankful for the email and he makes everything right.  I breath a sigh of relief and decide to respond to him later.

Liberty is doing great.  I see Brenden making tackles and he almost has an interception.  Then….I see him go down.  He does not get up.  He does not get up for a long while.  He is escorted off the field limping by the trainer and coaches.  From the sidelines, we aren’t overly concerned. We assume he has a scratch.  We assume wrong.  Near the end of the 3rd quarter Brian goes to check on him.  Something is wrong with his knee. He can’t bend it.  The trainer tells us to ice it and there really isn’t much Doctors would do because they do not typically perform MRI’s on 12 year-olds.  Our friend Steve carries him to the car. This is wonderful.  Great start to Junior High football for Brenden, but at least we already have crutches for him.

By the time we get home from all of this it is 7PM.  I still have to cook dinner and complete homework since I have decided to continue with my education.  First I order the other coursepack I need from the Miami bookstore.  I am thrilled with my innovative idea because this means I will not have to wait in a long line tomorrow – except after I place my order, I find out it takes at least 48 hours to fill.  Uh-oh.  Not such an innovative solution after all.  I decide to put it out of my mind and hope for a confirmation email to magically appear in my inbox. 

I do the readings for my assignment, one which includes an article written by none other than the professor who made me cry. It gave me insight to who he is as a teacher and helped me know what to expect from him.  At this point, I kindly reply to his email and tell him it would have been helpful to have read his article before the first class so I could have been more prepared.

After the reading I have to prepare discussion notes, which turn out to be a full fledged essay.  Fun times.  I do not go to bed until around 2 AM.  Equally fun.

Wednesday: 8/28/13

I wake up looking for my confirmation email.  It is not there. On top of this, Brenden’s knee is extremely swollen as you can see below.

Brian takes him to school because he can’t really ride the bus with crutches.  It figures that our one child who has bus service can no longer ride the bus.  When he comes home he calls the Orthopaedic.  Thankfully he can handle this because I need to leave early to stop by the bookstore to somehow get my courspack. 

I park right in front of the bookstore at Shriver Center.  I go in and I wait in a short line.  When it is my turn I explain my predicament to the lady behind the counter.  She said she would cancel the order and I could just go grab the book.  I explained it was a coursepack and I really wasn’t familiar with how all of this worked.  She went to the back and grabbed it for me.  Handed it to me along with my receipt and said “you’re good to go.” Instantly my phone pinged with my confirmation email.  Finally someone was nice to me.  Finally someone treated me like an adult and realized I did not have time to be going all over town chasing dreams.

I go back to my car and head to the parking garage – all the while my spirits are high because I finally felt like someone got it.  I go to my first class.  It is uneventful.  Except I did note that everyone is a bit more friendly today.  Maybe all the nerves have subsided.

After my first class, I get an email for Brian. He took Brenden to the Doctor and they did an x-ray.  Nothing appears to be broken and he will have an MRI on Tuesday.  In the meantime he has to wear a brace, use the crutches (obviously because he cannot walk), and continue icing.Then it is time to go to the dreaded class.  Outside the hallway is packed.  We cannot go in because another class is being held.  My professor walks up and begins asking to see everyone’s homework.  He has been known to not let students go into class if it wasn’t complete.  One student doesn’t have his.  I nearly hit the floor for him, but he lets him go in.  He continues to critique homework. Questioning claims and calling students out on lack of thought. I do not get mine out.  I wait until we go into the class.  It isn’t time for inquisition yet.

Class begins and I sit there anxious and worried he is going to call on me.  I know I have done a great job on our homework, but not an ounce of me wishes to speak up and share because of what happened on Monday.  He starts by talking about what he hopes to accomplish and explains his style of teaching.  All of this would have been helpful information on Monday, before the firing squad began.  In a way I feel like he is making up with me.  Finally, he asks me to speak, but first he asks my name.  What?!?!?  Wait a second?!?!? He asks my name.  He does not remember who I am. The girl who cried.  Either he is really insensitive or he was trying to make me feel better.  I don’t know.  I will dread this class the entire semester, which is really sad because I will probably really enjoy the content.

After class I head to pick up Brenden from school. I go inside and wait for him at his locker.  He is happy to see me because his arms are very tired and his backpack is really heavy.  He asks for an Icee and he gets an Icee.  How do you say no to a boy in his condition?  We go home for a bit and then I have to take him to football.  Next I drop Aubrey off at Ignition and then Kiley at soccer.  Brian has to handle all of the pick-ups because I attend the open house at the high-school to walk Aubrey’s schedule.  It is a long night of changing classes, but I love, love, love all of her teachers.  In fact, I am overwhelmed by how wonderful they are and I begin to question whether or not I will be a good teacher or not.  I get home after 9 and then, of course I must do homework.  I do not like going to school every single day.  With my schedule, I need an every other day set-up so I can study at home when my kids are at school.  I don’t have time to study EVER!

Thursday: 8/29/13

And so begins another day. Brian drives Brenden to school.  I don’t have class until 11:30, meaning I can leave at 10:00. After Kiley is picked up at 9:15 I work diligently to finish up some things.  I go to class.  I absolutely love my first class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  My professor is awesome! I also find out that I do not have this class every Friday also, like I and the other students originally thought.  We only have four Friday’s we must attend for this particular class.  I am thrilled to know I don’t have to leave early tomorrow! 

My second class is a bit of a letdown.  It is boring and I am so hungry.  I can’t figure out when to eat when I leave the house at 10:00, have class from 11:30-12:50 and then again from 1:00-2:20.  I have to get this figured out because I can’t concentrate and when I am supposed to discuss something with the girl next to me, I have no idea what is going on because I am dizzy and hungry.UGH!

I have made arrangements for my mom to pick up Brenden from school because I obviously can’t. She is also taking Brenden to football because I have an evening class at Middletown from 4:00-6:50.  When I get out of my class, I have 2 missed phone calls and several texts.  I panic.  I am afraid something has gone wrong with the pick-up.  It turns out Brenden is just a bit antsy because my mom did not get there until 2:15, which was the time we decided she should get there so she could just pull right up to the front and he could take his time getting into the car. Apparently this was not okay with him.

After I resolve this issue, I realize I have to go straight to class at Middletown.  I am hungry and decide to drive through and grab something to eat all the while hoping I actually have enough time for to do this.  I decide to stop at Chick-fil-A at Bridgewater Falls.  By the time I get my food, I realize it is possible I will be late to my class.  I drive as quickly as I can to Middletown.  I get there at 3:45.  I typically like to be earlier than this, especially on my first day because I am unsure where the class actually is.  I run into Johnston Hall.  I find the room and the class has about 15 students already inside and a man is standing behind the computer.  Two guys/men are standing outside of the room and I ask, “Do you know what class this is?” One replied “Latin American Literature”.  Okay I am in the right place, but I say to the guys/men, “Hmmm.  I expected a female teacher.”  I drop my stuff inside the room and then I quickly head to the bathroom.  I run swiftly back to class with a few minutes to spare. 

It turns out the male teacher is from the class before.  Our teacher arrives a little late and is female.  She is super nice. She passes out the syllabus and we go around the room and tell who we are.  I give my usual song and dance:

  • I have three children ages 15, 12, & 9
  • I am a junior
  • I am an Integrated Language Arts/English AYA major
  • Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah
Next we have to work with a partner to do a little presentation about Latin American history. I work with a girl who has been in another class of mine.  We take a short break and the guy/man who I asked if he knew what class this was, stopped me in the hallway and said, “YOU HAVE A 15-YEAR-OLD?!?!?  I thought you were like 21 or 22!  How old are you?!  Can I ask you that?”  I told him and his jaw dropped.  Definitely the best thing that has happened to me so far this week.

We finish up class.  I was hoping it would be early, but it wasn’t. I am very tired.  I am so emotionally exhausted from this week.  I now have to head to Kiley’s curriculum night for 4th grade.  In my weariness I remember a text I received from my niece earlier in the day. It was about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I head to Starbucks before curriculum night.  I go inside and ask them, “Is it true?! Is it possible?!  I can really order a Pumpkin Spice Latte?!?!”  They reply “Yes, it has been unlocked.” I tell them this is the best news I have heard all week.  Lo and behold I drink my first Pumpkin Spice Latte without even counting down.  Here it is in all it’s glory!

I go to Curriculum night with the fuel I need to endure.  We watch this video about MAP assessments.  I wonder for a second if my children are now joining the DHARMA initiative.  It is truly reminiscent of this.  Whatever. I get home from Curriculum night at 9:00 and guess what.  I have to do my homework and I am up once again until the early hours of the morning. This time 2:30 AM.

Friday: 8/30/2013

I did not get enough sleep.  I am thankful I don’t have to be at school until 11:30.  My class will be over at 12:25.  This commute is hardly worth it!  At class I am a little mad I put so much effort into my homework assignment. We barely talk about it. Ugh. This class is still horrible, but becoming more tolerable.  

I leave school and then head to pick Brenden up from school at 2:00. I wait on him and then we leave for football. When I come home from taking him to football I announce to Aubrey that I am taking a nap. I ask her to greet Kiley when she gets home and just let me sleep. I never fall asleep, but instead, I just lay there in the peace and quiet that finally surrounds me after a week of chaos.  I begin to process everything and filing information away where it belongs.  I am so very tired, but I relish in the calm I am experiencing.

My phone goes off at 5:40 and I decide to get up.  I have to pick Brenden up soon anyway.  I get him from football.  We come home and then head to the football game.  I am very excited to put the week behind me and watch some football, but as it turns out, I am so tired I don’t really experience the excitement I had been craving. Oh well.  At least one week of school is complete. I am looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and then spending an entire day catching up on things…hoping to get ahead.


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