Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to tell your students you are 'With Child', and get out alive.

Mini-Muffin Journal Week Eight
Week of Pregnancy: 8
Craving: Lentils and refried beans. (Can anyone say 'protein'?)
Aversions: Chicken and red meat. Hold on... I'm seeing a link...
General feeling: Bloated and fat, but still attempting to look hot underneath it all... and failing miserably. Also nauseous. Very nauseous.
Husband's excitement rating: Slightly less non-chalaunt than usual. Slightly more peeved about lack of intimacy and sudden 'washing up' aversion that pregnancy has given me... *cough cough*.

How to tell your students you are 'With Child', and get out alive!

So yesterday and today I broke our mini-muffin news to my classes. 161 high-school kids. It started with my grade 12 class, and went something like this;
"So, guys, exciting news! I'm going to have a baby at the end of the year!"
Then silence. Awkward silence. Then:

"O-M-G Miss! I totally knew you were up the duff!"
Thank you for your eloquence, Misty.

"You are gonna be soooo fat for Formal, Miss!"
Grazi for your sensitivity, Jazmine.

 And the onslaught continued throughout the day;
"Does this mean you're not going to be around for Graduation?", "But what if we get a crappy teacher?", "Do you get away with stuff just by saying you're preggers?","Lucky your classroom's on the bottom floor, Miss, you're gonna have trouble getting up stairs!"

Thanks, everyone, for your support. One grade 12 boy asked;

"Who's the dad?"
"My husband."
"Aren't you a bit young to get married, Miss?"
"Uh... well I'm old enough to have a baby."
"...That doesn't mean much."

True, that. True, that.

One Grade 9 class applauded upon receiving the news. Why, thank you children, for acknowledging my amazing fertility skills! I truly feel appreciated! No, really, who gets applauded for having sex? (Except for occasionally applauding oneself and partner after a particularly steamy event) But of course the kids don't link sex and babies - thank God! Who wants to envision their gross old teacher (26 and truly a decrepit old prune) in the throes of passion with her husband. Not me at that age, for sure, so of course, their minds more closely consider the Stork, the Pumpkin Patch, and immaculate conception.

Also, after the news was broken, people started to treat me as though I may break on impact. They courteously walked around me instead of into me, suggested I don't lift anything, and fed me lunch. Yes, they fed me. As usual, I was busy at lunch time in the art room helping kids finish their work, and instead of simply sitting by and watching, they offered me a variety of sumptuous delights. A slightly soggy sandwich here, a half eaten bag of chips there, a lollipop. Not the most nutritious, but it felt rude to say no when they were so insistent.

Finally, the icing on the cake, my Multi-Arts grade 12 class.
1. In fourth period, they brought me a list of baby names (including their own, strategically placed in the 'girl' or 'boy' lists alongside other names to ensure I didn't notice) and asked me to circle the ones I liked so they could take bets.
2. Discussed the prospect of pooping yourself when giving birth. Thanks guys, feeling the support and love right now.
3. Asked if they could babysit, and whether I would bring the kid in for visits. I reminded them that they wouldn't be here next year, so probably not. They seemed genuinely sad, so to pep them up I said they could call me 'walrus' when I got to seven months.

The hardest part was discussing why I hadn't told them earlier. Sigh. Two reasons, the first being more prevalent than the second;
- Firstly, Nobody knows how a pregnancy will turn out. First hand experience tells me it's not always going to be rosy. The less people that know at the beginning (this time, not an option unfortunately due to later explained circumstances) the easier it is if there is a problem, or if a pregnancy doesn't work out. These kids would not understand the heart-ache that comes with a miscarriage, as none of them (as far as I know!) have experienced it yet. As statistics show, 1 in 5 will experience it, but I hope to put it off as long as possible before they have to face that kind of thing.
- And secondly, I don't share EVERYTHING with you, kiddies! Love ya, do everything I can to help you, encourage you and support you, but don't expect me to share my ovulation dates with you! Possibly (in fact, most definitely!) crossing the line! We already tread a thin line in the 'arts sector' where kids desperately want to deal with things that, according to our code of conduct, should be discussed with a counsellor or school nurse. Depression, sex, anxiety, abusive families... the arts deal with these things all the time because we personally know our kids through their works (even if they think they're being subtle), and we read their Visual Diaries (which they often over-share in themselves!) Not to mention everything is shared on Facebook these days, and spreads around a small town like ants on an iceblock in summer.

So, yes, there are reasons I didn't tell you the moment the test said 'pregnant - 3+ weeks', and no, I wasn't going to leave you in the dark until I went into labour. You just have to trust me, and be happy and supportive as I would always be for you. Also, don't ask me to give up my carrot sticks, they're to stop me spewing and I've already given up caffeine and alcohol (two vital allies for a teacher in a small town).

So, all in all, quite a fabulous reaction to the Mini-Muffin news. Only an eight-week-old embryo and already beloved (and potentially named) by over a hundred and fifty kids, plus many adults. Being a teacher may come at a price (sleepless nights of marking, not allowed to strangle kids, etc) but it's pretty worth it for the love you get back.


1 comment:

  1. hey Rhona
    It's little Ariel here. Do you remember me? I'm pretty sure you used to give me toys and stuff... hehehe!! (wow- I'm never typing THAT again)
    So Steve and Ali popped over yesterday and now I'm putting off school work by reading your blog. Hilarious writing. You have me trying to silently conceal my giggles as parents walk past the computer checking that I'm working... (I do work- but I think it's rough that teachers have handed out assignments over hols GRRR!?)
    Working my way through your blog is an amazingly awesome way of cheering me up and please keep writing!
    I hope you're feeling great and flushed with mother-to-be pure epicness!!! GO YOU!!!
    Milk the opportunity to put your feet up and get hubby to do the house work (excuse the pun- almost worthy of your Dad!!!)
    Anyway, signing off and going to do assignments (yay- I can hardly contain my excitement...)


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