It's really hard to explain how insane the school system is. There are a lot of people involved, most of them care a lot, and kids come flying around like we're in the tornado scene from the Wizard of Oz. There are not words to describe it. Especially not if I want to capture that it is actually pretty fun.
The students are still in the process of settling in, and I'm completely at a loss. I don't think I've felt more confused about what I am doing in my entire life. Honestly the first few weeks of work in Japan were the closest, but even they pale in comparison. Because at least in Japan I expected to be lost. I was in a foreign country, I didn't have mastery of the language. I was hired and being trained after the first few weeks. And even then I had a clear idea of what I was doing, even if I didn't necessarily do it right. Or well. Or at all. The idea was there.
Here, it's bedlam. Students are lost and confused, other teachers are busy and excited. Fifth graders wander the halls looking seriously threatening. (Honestly when did fifth graders get huge and violent? Is it the cafeteria food? Some of these kids look like NFL linebackers. And that's just the girls. One of them called me by name last week. Minimum three weeks before I get shivved.)
I wonder if there are still movie of the week style PSAs that I can turn to. I feel the dire need for one. Maybe one about how huge kids are. Or one about the range of tears you get in first grade. ('Meredith Baxter in "Why Did That Fifth Grader Eat Me?' followed by a special airing of "WAAA! The Musical!"')
Once again the confusing thing about all of this is that it is FUN! Kids are great. Being in a classroom is great. The only places I have been able to walk into and feel happy to be working there involve kids. I wouldn't want to do anything different. But it does make you wonder why this country is so insane. Why are kids filled with so many problems? (And Cheese Curls, apparently?) I can almost sympathize with the insane political ramblings. There is a major issue with a country that allows seven year olds to experience the kind of life that these seven year olds experience.
But there is a beauty to it to. Because next to the kid relating stories of his mother's meth addiction is a kid whose mom is a physician treating that addiction. It's public school; the good the bad and the ugly are all lined up for lunch together. They are all ready to help each other face the challenges.
Except that one fifth grader. She's ready to eat you. But she's an exception.