Thursday, March 29, 2007

Five Miles Later

This morning I was greeted by a parent waiting for me. This is a parent who suffers from paranoia, and today she completely flipped out. I tried and tried to calm her down, though her concerns were utterly strange. I finally reassured her that I would do my best to help her son, then went to my awaiting homeroom class.

When I arrived in homeroom, one of my students who is chronically absent was present for the first day all week. I made a comment about his absence. In response he handed me a letter from the Housing Authority stating that his family had been living in a shelter in the Bronx for the past week and had applied for emergency housing.

These two events occurred within the first hour of my day. The rest of my day was filled with meetings about these two events, and with planning sessions for a 14-year-old student with almost no formal education who doesn't yet know all the letters of the alphabet.

Some of these stresses are the types of challenges that I thrive on, but today I felt a bit beaten by the system. I met my roommate and wandered around the Lower East Side, then called a friend to see if she wanted to go for a run. Right around the time I'm usually preparing for bed, I was heading out of the house to meet her. Five miles later, I'm feeling ready to take these challenges on, while also wondering how it is that I occasionally forget how essential running is to keeping me emotionally and mentally balanced in the face of the day-to-day demands of being a teacher.

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