One day off in the middle of the week. I always think it’s weird that Veteran’s Day is celebrated this way and not observed on a Monday or Friday. In the past I have not enjoyed the mid-week day off. This year it was like an oasis in the desert. We had to make it count.

We planned to watch the Peanuts movie in the theater and paint. The movie was really cute and we all enjoyed it. The kids were so excited to help with the cabinets. Unfortunately for them their parents have control issues. We bought two coverall suits thinking it would be fun for the kids to wear. They don’t have any paint clothes. The best we could do was have them put on old pajamas. They ran around the yard playing while Heath cut off the toe kick from the base cabinets.

The kids were eager to help us paint. Gwen and Gavin carefully dusted each cabinet with a tack cloth. Somehow Heath and I put the painting suits on. We don’t have paint clothes either. The kids patiently waited with baited breath for their turn to paint. We told them we had to get a feel for it first. Soon we had done half the job ourselves. The kids had to change back into normal clothes to go out for dinner.

The kids were disappointed that we wouldn’t let them paint. I told them it’s not because we don’t trust them. It’s just because we don’t trust them! I wish I didn’t have issues but I do. I put on the paint suit again today and did a second coat. It took me almost two hours and it was pretty tedious work. The sun’s rays were concentrated directly into the garage. I was melting in the suit. My hands were sweaty inside surgical gloves. But I got the second coat on.

I tutored this afternoon. That’s a whole story on its own. A couple weeks ago I pitched a selfish fit and told the Sound Partners person over my school that I would not be tutoring this year. I still feel a little guilty but at the same time my buttons had been pushed to their max.

The lady had asked me twice if mornings or afternoons were better for me to tutor. I told her twice that I have a second grader on the late staggered start so I cannot tutor in the morning. The second time she asked I honestly thought a different person had asked me. Several weeks had passed between questions and it seemed odd that she couldn’t keep track of my answer anyway. As it turns out it was the same woman who somehow had not remembered my scheduling conflict.

She placed me with a student in Mrs. M’s class in the morning. That was the third time I had to tell her that I cannot tutor in the morning. Feeling generous, I told her I was fairly flexible on days and could tutor a different day if that would help her out. She was very excited about that but never fully explained the consequences of my generosity. The next thing I knew I was assigned to a student in a different first grade class. Um … not what I signed up for!

Heath told me that as a volunteer they need to work with me, not the other way around. He suggested I give her an ultimatum. If she couldn’t place me with a student in Mrs. M’s class, I wasn’t going to tutor. I felt like I was being unreasonable but at the same time this was the plan all along. If I can’t work with the teacher I want, they should at least put me in my daughter’s class! That made more sense than placing me with another random first grade teacher.

It took a couple days to get an answer. Basically I was told that the criteria for qualifying students had changed slightly. They were looking for students with the greatest needs among grade levels and not individual classrooms. She asked if I wanted to continue as a tutor. I had already told her in my ultimatum that I didn’t even use the program last year. My student refused to have anything to do with the program. I said I would rather help Mrs. M any way she needed me to than stick with the program.

I was very diplomatic in my response to her point blank question. But I told her no. I have to admit I heard my roommate’s voice all over again. “As a member of the church and as a Stake Missionary, you have no business acting like that!” While those cutting words were for a completely different situation I still felt bad for not embracing an opportunity to serve now.

On Monday Mrs. M emailed me out of the blue saying she was going rogue and wondered if I could work with a student who didn’t qualify for Sound Partners under the new guidelines. Yes, yes, yes! Rogue seems to be my game when it comes to teaching. I don’t follow rules very well. I love that we can be partners in crime by serving students who would otherwise fall through the cracks.

Mrs. M told me today that she has six students who don’t qualify for Sound Partners but desperately need some kind of intervention. I told her I would go in the morning next week to help this new little guy again. Next week is full of minimum days for parent teacher conferences. After Thanksgiving Break I will go in at 1:30, like I did today, to help this little guy who is on the early stagger, then stay till 3:00 so I can help a late stagger student. She was thrilled. I’m only giving her one day a week but I am willing to work with two kids.

I love Mrs. M. She has been such a blessing to all three of my kids being their first grade teacher. I love that we have become friends. She asked me how my kids were doing. Then she asked how I was doing. I told her I was fine. She asked if I was feeling better. I said yes and she said she was worried about me last year. I realized what she meant and I told her I was in a really dark place last year. She knew and was worried. That really touched me to have her care so much.

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