Posted in Random Thoughts

Within these Walls

Often I think about the impact that a teacher makes on her classroom.  I think I’ve written about it more than once.

It’s hard to express what happens to your heart as a teacher.  What happens with every group of students that enters your classroom. About the joy and love that you feel for them. About the guilt that you may feel when you finally decide that you may need to take a step back and try something else.

As a freshman, I remember her sitting there in the back corner of the class, obviously troubled.  Who was I to kid? They were all troubled in their own little ways.  But that day, she seemed more out of tune than any other. Another of my students went to her and they talked in hushed whispers about whatever it was that was going on in her life. As class ended, I saw her place a razor blade in the other girl’s hand, taken from concealment in her pencil pouch. I didn’t embarass her with her obvious shame. I went and told the counselor.  They committed her for a day or two, and when she came back, she thanked me.  Thanked me for caring enough to say something, for making her parents notice, even just for a moment.

***

I was standing in the hallway, watching the traffic jam of students that spread like the tentacles of an amoeba. All of a sudden, she raced around the corner, tears in her eyes, and she looked at me and asked simply, “Can I please just have a hug?”  I wrapped my arms around her, and she cried, never telling me what it was that had caused her tears.  I didn’t need to know.  And she didn’t need to talk about it.  She just needed someone to hold her so that she didn’t feel so alone with her tears.

***

It was two years after she had graduated.  She came back to visit, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  She loved everything about the college she was attending.  It had never been better. But then she stopped and looked at me seriously.  “I don’t think I ever told you how glad I was to have you as a teacher.  How much you helped me through that first year.” Tears welled up in her eyes, and I found my own composure cracking. “You may not have known it, but you were the best teacher I ever had.” I cried there in front of her, and she cried too, and we laughed through the tears at the rediculousness of it all.

***

He had graduated the year before.  I hadn’t taught him in four years, but I remember his freshman year well.  The one day when the girl said something to set him off.  Anger flared in his eyes, this man trapped in a boy’s body.  He yelled and railed against whatever invisible daemon he was fighting, fist meeting the metal of my filing cabinet one, two, three times, leaving knuckle dents that still grace its surface twelve years later.  I was scared for him, scared for us.  The year ended, and I never knew what had happened to him to make him so full of emotion.  But talking with another teacher I learned that he was living in shelters, bouncing from one place to the next.  His constant companions were rats and mice and hunger.  He never knew where he was going to end up next or where his next meal would come from.  I see his smiling face in my Facebook feed, a member of the military, all traces of that life seemingly gone from him, save for the small glint in his eye that speaks of things from that other time.

They run together sometimes, the stories that have come and go from the lips and fingers of my students.  One student in jail because he murdered someone.  Other students lost along the way.  One shot at gunpoint.  A few married with kids.  Some still struggling to make ends meet. Others flourishing.  And I know that maybe in some way, they all remember me just a little.  I remember them.  I may not remember a name, but a face and a story, that will always be there.

And so if I walk away from this classroom, find that choices have taken me someplace else, I will take those memories with me.  A stack of drawings given freely.  The Christmas picture of my class and me, hugging and smiling.  The video of my seniors presenting songs and skits, some not appreciated nearly enough.  And I will look at them. And I will smile.  And I will try to remember, that I made a difference. Even if just for a moment.

Posted in Random Thoughts, relationships, Teaching

‘Tis The Season

It’s that time of year again, the one to reflect on the events of the past, the things we wish we had done, the things we wish we hadn’t done, and anything and everything that has made us think or feel anything over the past year.  Some people use it as a time of joyous reflection, others of morose despair. Me, I like to think of it as a mix of the two.

This year has been a lot of everything. I have a lot to reflect on. Who I am. What my life is like, and if I ever thought it would end up quite like this. Where am I going from here. What my career is going to be. Who am I going to be.

I look around my classroo mas I type this, knowign that this might very well be the last holiday season spent within these walls. I am met with a feeling of bitter sadness.  If there is anything in my life that I have loved outside of my blood family, it is this. This little corner of the building that I have carved out and made my own.

I look at my students, see their smiles, their strange quirks, and I love them for it. Even the one who tries to pretend like he’s writing but is really watching Gary’s Mod videos. Like, seriously, your computer screen is facing me. You aren’t fooling anyone.

And I am going to miss them.

You know, today, I got word from a couple of my students that their writing was chosen to be featured on an online website for young writers. How cool is that? Not that it matters to anyone but me, but dang, it makes me proud.

The year hasn’t been all bad, though. This has been the most amazing year with my son. He’s a little over one now, tottering around on his own two feet, making me laugh at every turn. I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but seeing him just solidifies it.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this article. Not that anyone reads this stuff to begin with. I just think that I needed to write something about what I’m thinking and feeling. -shrug-

I guess I’ll just sign this entry off here, for now.

 

Posted in Motherhood, Random Thoughts, Teaching, Uncategorized

On Being a Mother and a Teacher

Sorry about being away for so long…not that it was super noticeable. Such is the life of a mother, I suppose. I came down with a pretty bad cold, and then ended up on Spring Break…and that meant taking care of the Goober. Now I’m back on track and ready to write more about stuff and things!

Today’s thoughts come from a conversation that my students were having yesterday. They are often times some of the most insightful people I have in my life, surprising me at the most interesting moments. Yesterday was no exception.

So, I had given my students an assignment to simply write about their Spring Break. I know it wasn’t particularly interesting, but when you’re coming back from a long break, often times a simple, “Hey, we’re back here and we have work to do” assignment works best. My students were in various phases of their work. Some of them had thrown themselves into the writing, and others, per usual, were spending their time talking with someone next to them. They’re Juniors, I get it.

All of a sudden, one of my students pipes up with some random commentary. I’ll try to do her justice in my recollection of what she said.

“Mrs. A? Can I just talk for a minute? As I was writing, I had a thought. I’m almost an adult. I’m 16 years old. Soon, I’m going to be out of my house, going to be away from my family. Mrs. A…I’m scared. I don’t want to leave my mother! I just want to spend time with her. I think I realized that over spring break…I just wanted to be with her and spend time with her. And it makes me sad and scared to think that soon, I won’t be able to do that.”

Now, my students don’t normally talk a lot about their families, and when they do, I almost never get thoughts like these. Most of the time, it’s “Ugh, my mother is so annoying. She got mad at me over nothing!” But this…this conversation left me with a lot of thoughts. I listened to the rest of the class talk with her about their own thoughts on the matter, and it made my eyes tear up.

I think that part of it is again my newfound motherhood. That and my own connection with my own mother. It’s amazing how in hindsight we see things with such clarity. And it’s amazing how this one student sees with clarity right now how her relationship with her own mother is going to change.

While not everyone has a great relationship with their parents, seeing that they still exist makes my heart warm. We all go through growing pains with our parents, but knowing that time with them is precious is a valuable lesson to learn. Hearing that some of my students appreciate their parents gives me hope.

Do any of you remember having that feeling at any point? Are there any memories of your parents that you’d like to share? I look forward to seeing it in the comments!

Posted in Gaming, Motherhood, Random Thoughts

Juggling Recreation Time

If there was one thing that I really loved to do before I had my son, it was playing video games. For at least 6 years, I was a super active member of the online community of FFXIV. Before that, I had never really played games before, but this game gave me a whole new social life. Because I got involved in this game and community, I met many of the people that I am friends with today.

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I gave a good portion of my time and energy to these people who became like a second family to me. I remember telling them that I was pregnant, and how excited I was to share in that experience with them. For the next 8 months of my pregnancy, I shared my ups and downs, my pains, my aches, and my joys.

I remember at one point being on a skype call with my good friend Tay, and all of a sudden she asked, “Are you rubbing your stomach?” It threw me off because I had no clue how she knew. Apparently she could hear the sound of my hand on my stomach, something that had turned into background noise, but something that held special significance for her. For the rest of my pregnancy, she would always tease me when she heard it. It became a game, one that always made me smile.

As my pregnancy progressed, I knew that my time with them was going to grow short. I new that once R came, I’d have to give up my time with them in exchange for diaper changes, feedings, and sleepless nights. But I never expected it to hit me so hard.

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I’ve found that I really miss my former social life. I miss the people I used to talk with on the regular, and I find that it’s become more and more difficult to find things in common with these people. And I promised that I wouldn’t be that person. I didn’t want to be the woman who only talks about her child in front of everyone…but that’s exactly what I’ve become. Instead of screenshots of my character and the stories I wrote for her, my phone is now loaded with one of the 12,000 pictures of my son…most of which are identical to each other.

Instead of spending my nights up until all hours of the morning laughing with friends, I am in bed by 10 pm, hoping that my LO sleeps well and will smile at me when he wakes up. Instead of singing silly songs and killing monsters on the computer, I’m talking to my son from the point of view of his Batman toy, or trying to feed him his own feet. Nothing prepared me for the love that I would feel for him. And nothing has prepared me for the melancholy I sometimes feel for the friendships and fun I used to have.

Would I trade them? No. They’re two completely different worlds. I am happier now than I ever thought I could be. But would I like to find some more time here and there to remember what that life was like? Sure.

I just hope that all of my friends remember how much I cared for them. And that hopefully, someday, I’ll be able to make a return, and they’ll welcome me back with open arms. Until then, I’ll be over here, blowing raspberries with my baby.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer

Posted in Random Thoughts

First blog post

Welcome to the Mommy Gamer.

You may be asking yourself, “Who is this woman, and what makes her think she has anything worth reading?”

Well, I’m not much. I’m a simple woman. I love to read. I love playing video games. I enjoy spending time with my husband, son, and extended family. I’m a child of the internet generation. What do I have to say that’s different from anyone else? Probably not a damned thing. And that’s okay.

I created this place as a space for me to put my thoughts on motherhood, socializing in an age in which people don’t get out so much anymore, teaching the youth of tomorrow, being a good person, and reviewing products and games that mean something to me.

I hope you stick around and give me a read. If it’s not what you’re looking for, I appreciate you giving me the time of day. And if it is, I hope you come back again. I look forward to interacting with you all, and hope to share a bit of my life with you all.

 

~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer