April 13, 2010

Bring Me My White Coat, and Lead Me to My Padded Room

Yep, I lost it Thursday. By "it" I mean my sanity. It was an afternoon of complete and utter emotional breakdown. I think I might have worried some people, too. If you are one of those people, I am fine. By "fine" I mean that in a Jenn,-You-Know-What-I-Am-Talking-About sense.

Let's start with National Board Certification. I failed on the first try. The whole thing is made up of 10 sections. They add your total points and 275 is passing. If your total score is below 275, you are given the option to redo any section below average, in my case 4 sections. Embarrassing, yes. So, after doing lots of math calculations, I chose to redo 2 sections- the two lowest. Both happen to require a video of my teaching, along with a 12 page documentary of my lesson/unit for the objective(s) taught. So... I have spent a bit of time forming the most perfect lessons for these videos, but unfortunately put off videoing too long. To shorten this lengthy story, we failed FOUR failing videos. Here is the summary of the video tries- 1. pounding rainstorm ruined the sound on the film 2. tech guy tried to focus on student learning, but since I was on the floor with the children, filmed my butt and back for 40 minutes 3. intercom and bell went off in the middle of video 4. The final video was near perfect, until the tech guy told me the sound went out halfway through. Seriously? Seriously? So, I have ONE video and will only be submitting one of my two retake sections. He left my classroom on Thursday afternoon and I just went outside on the little porch by my room and cried. The teacher's aide had come in to watch the kids for a moment, so I could go outside and have a mini breakdown. I just felt like such a FAILURE. Ugh, frustration.

So, I left early to go to the track meet. Coach D had drill, so I was flying solo. Since I was working on all this certification stuff, and he was missing the meet, I asked him to take care of the bus and to get us a check to pay for our entry. I got to the high school and to my surprise, no bus. K came out and told me that we hadn't reserved a bus. WTH? He gets on his cell, calling the head of transportation to try to get one on the spur of a moment. Then, I go to get the check and nada on that, too. Coach D had apparently forgotten to do both things. It was too late to get a check, since the principals were out that day. The secretary made a call to the other school's principal and come to find out, we still owed them money from LAST YEAR! Yeah, like money for 4 meets. Ugh. K was relaying all this information as he was about to leave the school. The thought of driving the kids back and forth to the meet crossed my mind. (The school was in our town, only 4 miles away.) So, if I could just get the middle schoolers over to the high school. I get on the phone with the middle school principal and basically have a break down. I am squalling, and he is telling me to slow down and explain myself. He tells me not to worry, he will help work it out and hangs up. K is in his car about to drive off and I am having a meltdown, cussing, crying, saying "I quit everything!" Yeah, it was a bad scene.

Then... a bus pulls up. The athletes had been waiting inside the school, watching for the bus, run out and get on. I start gathering all of our supplies, attempting to recompose myself. I finally get on the bus, and little hurdler girl says, "It's okay Miss Becky, we're on now!" Yep, we're on now.

We get to the meet, late, but there, and I tell the kids to get their own things, including throwing implements. Well, long story short, they leave the shot put and the water on the bus. The bus drops us off and leaves, so it was a going to be a thirsty night. After we set our stuff up, I hear my name being paged on the little intercom deal and find out they need me to time. Nothing like trying to watch 35 athletes while working a timer. Ugh. We somehow made it to the last event- 4 x 400 relay. One of my girls is missing. I get crazy hurdler boy to run and find her. He comes back to report, "She's behind the stadium sucking face." Nice... I drop the timer and run back there, and sure enough... he was right. At this point, nothing shocks me anymore, so I just call her name and yell and bunch of inappropriate stuff I can't remember. She hurries out and I am able to put a cap on that hellacious day. Oh yeah, we got 2nd place again (out of 8 teams). The bad thing is, when I time, I am unable to watch my athletes perform. I am too busy watching my lane.

Anyway, 4 days out from my breakdown, I am feeling much better. I think I am one of those that really tries to keep it all together and I internalize a LOT of crap. Then it comes blowing out like a volcano. So... next meet is the sectional meet. I think we have a really good chance of some kids qualifying for the State Meet. Also, this week is our spring break and, shockingly, half the team showed up for practice yesterday. Kudos to their dedication!


  1. Sorry to hear about all your video difficulties. You'd think the people who grade them would understand that things like rainstorms and bells ringing just happen. Glad you are feeling better. Sometimes we all need to melt down and get all the bad gunky feelings out so we can feel better (at least IMHO).

  2. I'm just a random runner who reads your blog and I wanted to give my two cents on a couple things. Feel free to ignore my opinion! :)

    1. You are definitely not alone as far as having breakdowns goes! I am known to have a breakdown once in a while.

    2. I am not a teacher, but my mom and sister are so I know a little about the profession from them. Regardless of this National Board Certification thing, I can tell that you are a good teacher! You CARE!!! You probably already know this, but you are a great teacher without jumping through a bunch of hoops so that a group of people can decide if you're a good teacher.

    Thanks for your blog.

  3. It's never boring in your corner, Rebecca, lol.

  4. Breakdowns are a must thing some days. It keeps you from jumping off the proverbial cliff. Good luck form here on out

  5. Dude. I read this and got mad at the other guy you coach with so I can only imagine how frustrated you were. So this guy has now not told you about a meet re-schedule, failed to call a bus, AND failed to pay your team's entry fees? Bottom line- as a coach, that is letting his athletes down. I guess you either can call him on it or double check all the logistical stuff yourself.

  6. Anonymous4/13/2010

    ((hugs)) what a rough week. i'm glad you are feeling better though!

  7. R - I have a song for you...99 bottles of wine on the wall, 99 bottles of wine...how many of them are left now? JK. :) Bad things come in threes right? I think you've met your quota for a while! {{{hugs}}} Be well my friend!!!

  8. Argh, just one of those times when too many things happen at once. Why can't problems be nice and evenly spread out, and portioned into manageable bits? I really hope you get the Board Certification thing straightened out. What a nightmare. Glad you're feeling better--keep truckin'!!

  9. I loved this blog entry! Classic stuff you have been going through. It made me laugh and also made me feel upset on your behalf. Oh, the logistical nightmares! I understand why you wanted to say, "F-it-all!!" Glad you didn't though. :)
    Miss Becky, I don't think you should try to internalize things so much. Let it out every now and then. A person just has to in order to stay sane. I'm glad it all worked out as far as the track meet. I hope everything ends up working out with your cert. Keep at it!

  10. Anonymous4/15/2010

    I can't imagine coaching that many athletes without a whole network of helpful, quality, non-flake assistants. Serious kudos to you for giving those kids so much support. Having someone believe in you at that age can be life changing.
    I also can't believe how much technology let you down - that's crazy. I hope your stress levels have come down since writing this.

  11. Anonymous4/16/2010

    (((((Rebecca))))) what a rough week! Good luck at sectionals - you've got the kids believing in YOU, they are showing up for practice during spring break!

  12. Jeez, that sounds so crazy! And kids don't help much, especially when there's a ton of them. Good job and I hope it starts looking up this week! :)