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Bonding.

Harry Harlow Behavioral psychology

For the first time, ever, I was out for three days with a knee issue. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, except there has been a lot of change going on, and the students feel it. And it was the three days before a long weekend break (traditionally, this has been mid-winter break, but was cut short to two days –dang those cuts!)

Here’s what happened:

I was working the graveyard shift on my zombie watch, when, from out of no where, attack! The ghoul got the better of me….(this time, you undead living, or living undead, or whatever oxymoron-ic beast you are! Not getting my brains today!) And because students don’t like it when their beloved teacher is in pain, (cue hot tears streaming down face at the beginning of my fabulous lesson on annotating text), and the doctor ordered me to rest, so be it. (Zombie bites respond well to hefty doses of antibiotics and heat, just in case you were wondering what the treatment regime is for a zombie bite. I know you were going to ask, so now you don’t have to. You’re welcome.)

The epiphanic question: What must my new vice principal and principal think of me? Do they think I’m some slacker who just takes off whenever she feels like it? We are all still getting to know each other, and because of the sheer amount of whirlwinds, dust devils, flare ups, zephyrs, and typhoon changes going on (testing, scheduling, testing, more testing, scheduling, scheduling, etc.), there hasn’t been a lot of “getting to know you time…getting to know all about you..”

I have had four principals in five years. I have had three vice principals. We have had a few discipline/security officers come and go. None of the comings/goings are for negative reasons, in fact, they have been for good, positive, progressive growth reasons: promotions, higher supervisory roles, etc.

And in this time of transition, in an attempt to establish my cred, I inadvertently ended up sounding like a broken record : We did that. We have that. We created that. Rinse. Repeat. It’s not that the new admin cares or doesn’t care, but they understandably have their vision of the future, too.

I guess I just wish this: we all know how critical it is for us to bond with our students. They need to know they are safe with us, free to be themselves, make mistakes, and be human. It takes time and a bit of heart-worn-on-sleeve for good measure (I said heart, zombie, not brains!).

A colleague bravely said in a department meeting that she was already on survivor mode, and it’s only February. We pay attention to her: she is the consumate professional, with unflagging spirit.  If we’re hanging on to cloth and wire monkey moms, that can’t be good for any of us. I feel the deep desire to take a cleansing, healing breath for us all. And hear some real heartbeats.

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