Today was a crummy day. There are so many reasons for me to say this. Until, late this afternoon, it was just a bunch of little things eating away at me.
There wasn't one thing in particular that was eating at me, it was all the little things. Toward the end of the day, we got our MCAS scores from our principal. Honestly, I typically obsess over these stupid things. In the past, I've let them define me. Now, I've written about how challenging the year prior to this one was. Math was especially challenging. I knew my results were going to be poor. This was hard because my results are typically excellent. I hold myself to high standards and I beat myself up when children don't do well. I wasn't looking forward to getting them back. Even so, I hadn't been obsessing over them like I generally do. In fact, I'm not sure I had given them a single thought over the summer. I had hardly thought about them at all aside from one fleeting thought last week when a funny student assessment video came out on FaceBook. Honestly though, even though I knew they were going to be bad, I wasn't giving my MCAS scores much thought.
They were every bit as bad as I feared they would be and maybe a little worse. I have always had an overall teacher rating of "high impact" on student learning in both ELA and math. This year, my rating in math is "moderate" impact. The ELA score is still "high impact" but just barely. Given my school and district scores and what I know about my own scores, there is a really good chance that my scores are the lowest fourth grade math scores in our district. This is not a superlative I'm okay with. In fact, I came home feeling dejected. My head was spinning and I just wanted to crawl into bed. I know it sounds stupid but I felt like every muscle in my body was clenched and I was nauseous.
Then, I spoke with a colleague from our middle school. She asked if I'd had a specific little girl last year. I had. She shared that it was rumored that her mom had passed away. She had had a cancerous brain tumor and had fought bravely all last year. I contacted my principal right away. She made a few calls and confirmed that it was true. This sweet, young, hard-working, student of mine had lost her beautiful mother.
None of the rest matters. My heart is aching. There are no words. The child, her mother - it hurts. This beautiful mother was gorgeous and sincere and loving. She never stopped thinking of her children even when she was fighting cancer with everything she had. I still have all her emails. They are filled with concern and diligence and a deep, deep, love.. This mamma never took a break from putting her daughter first. She was simply lovely.
None of my petty little problems matter. Not tonight.