It is a Tuesday morning and I’m trying very actively to keep my mind in a neutral state. To not anticipate the crock of crazy that is about to come into my A block advisory class. I’m relieved that I won’t have to assign them anything because today they get to do homework while I sign them up for SAT’s. I know this will please them.

The kids come in and they celebrate when I announce today is a homework day. I tell them to simmer down because we’re in the library.

I like/don’t like teaching in the library.

I like it because the room is open and occasionally people walk by that are adults that want to chat with me.

I don’t like it because those said adults always seem to walk by when I’m in the midst of trying to keep the teenagers from being unruly.

It’s a catch-22 ya know?

I open my work laptop and call up a student to register. I guide him through the process even though I just wanna snatch the computer away and do it myself because I am much quicker. He’s gotta learn to do it himself. Le sigh.

In between the “click that button. The button that says register. No, the button right here *points*” I direct my attention to a corner of male students.

Students who came in complaining about how much homework they needed to do, how much reading they had to get done.

They aren’t doing homework. They aren’t reading.

They’re talking loudly and laughing and hollering.

I remind them of the homework. I try to sound unfazed, I try to sound even toned and not irritated.

I turn back to the screen “Oops, you should capitalize that street address. The apartment number goes on the second line. No, your zipcode, not the one from the auto fill. This is your address, remember?”

I laugh to myself when I think about how I asked the college counselor when she taught me how to do it “Do you think I can just show them the website and let them go?” and she got a pained look on her face and said “Um….personally I wouldn’t.”

Now I understand.

Finally, a lengthy 20 minutes later the student is registered. I have redirected wild teenage boys a bazillion and one times.

“I dunno why you’re stressin yourself out” says one of my favorite students.

Of course she’s right. To constantly redirect these rowdy boys is only really bothering me. I think to myself if I had taken a classroom management class I might have some sort of magical way to make the kids behave. I think about the lecture I attended about children who have experienced trauma and I try so hard to stay calm, to remember this is a symptom, a side effect. I also hear myself saying “when I was a teenager…” but stop myself because this is just as futile as the constant re-directing.

As I sit there pondering this another student comes to stand by me.

He is standing close to my shoulder, as he normally does. This particular student has some issues with social cues and is legally blind and therefore pulling things close to his face is how he sees. It took me a while to get used to him at first. To get acclimated to his staccato speech and his asking of questions at inopportune times and his propensity to apologize for any and everything over and over.

“Uh Uh Miss F?”

He says.

“Mhmm?” I say

He sits down.

“Do you, do you, do you think its possible to uhh”

I wait, try to not finish his sentence.

“To toto to uh to like…forget who you are?”

I pause. Dramatic question for 9am on a freezing cold Tuesday.

“What do you mean by that?” I ask, my head cocked slightly.

“I mean uh like is it possible to uh forget the pp person that you were?”

His eyes look a little sad to me.

I know this isn’t what he’s asking but I say it anyway

“Well I think that’s possible if someone had a traumatic brain injury? If they had amnesia?”

He nods

“Yeah I dunno…that’s not really…” he trails off.

I try to think quickly about a way to phrase it.

“Well, I do think it might be possible to forget what it feels like to be ourselves at different times in our lives? Especially if the time we’re thinking of is far away from how we are and feel now?” 

I am not at all sure if this helps him, if this is what he means. He ponders it for a second and then he says,

“Mmaybe. I was uh asking for a friend.”

I don’t ask which friend, I smile and I nod. He smiles back.

He asks if I’ve seen a movie, the title of which I’ve already forgotten, something having to do with dragons. I tell him I haven’t seen it yet but I’ll look into it.

He goes back to his seat. I turn to my stack of SAT waivers, I call a student over.

I guide them through.