Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm Alive! -- Just Weary. Very, Very Weary.

I wonder, is it possible for a teacher to get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the week before final exams?  If so, I am definitely a casualty.

Honestly, it shouldn't have been that stressful of a week.  I had no teaching to do, for one thing (let me clarify that statement by reassuring all my readers that I do, in fact, love teaching).  All I had to do, initially, was spend the week reviewing with my students so that they could go forth and do well on their final exam on Friday.  Should have been an easy week, right?


Remember back in May when that irresponsible twenty-year-old wasn't paying attention, was driving in the middle of the road, and managed to hit my car head-on on a mountain road?  I decided to behave in accordance with my Christian worldview and didn't sue, even though I had ample grounds for it.  After all, I was injured:  internal bleeding, concussion, whiplash, massive bruising, worsening migraines . . . and let's not forget the psychological impact, either.  I have not driven a car even once since May 6 -- and I don't want to.  I still have nightmares about the crash.  I still relive the fear, emotion, tension, etc. every time that I recall the crash or look at the photos.  As much as I may strive to stay in control and sensible, that crash really shook me up.

I bring this up, because it's all back in the forefront of my mind:  The woman who hit me (who was AT FAULT) had the audacity and greed file a claim against me.  I spent last weekend writing a seven-page account of the accident, which I sent, along with photos, to the insurance companies involved.  Two more emails from them followed, hounding and harassing me for details and documents that I simply do not have.  This, readers, is just one example of what is wrong with the United States.  Victims don't have rights.  The person who caused that accident, who is to blame for my injuries and etc., gets to continue to intrude into my life six months later.  She can waste time and money of others with . . . you know what; I am going to cut this rant off right here.  Suffice to say, I am pretty irritated.

On Wednesday, my stress was up the wazoo, what with the emails and other mafan from this legal hassle.  I barely slept that night, with the result that on Thursday I had my worst migraine in months.  I went into school an hour late, hoping an extra hour of sleep would help, but it did no good.  On the bright side, I did get to practice nearly all of my Chinese vocabulary from lesson 8, as the taxi driver had no idea how to get to our school (even after calling and talking to our receptionist) and I had to direct him most of the way.  Unfortunately, I had to fight nausea and vertigo the entire day, not to mention being in excruciating pain.  Ordinarily, I would have called in sick under circumstances like that, but with my freshmen taking their final the very next day, I was worried that they wouldn't do well without a final review day with me.  I figured that one day of suffering for me was worth it if it helped them do better on a test that is worth 20% of their total semester grade.

Friday dawned a better day, I am glad to say.  I had some great encouragement from some Chinese friends, my secret santa left me another in a line of wonderful gifts (a fuzzy blanket that just begs for hot chocolate and a good book), and our principal gave me a good pep talk.  With my students all taking their finals together in the lunchroom, I had most of the schoolday to myself, so I could do some planning and tackle a bit of grading.  I had the chance to check out the middle school science fair and get an idea of the sort of students I'll be having in the next few years (some good prospects, I think).  I was particularly looking forward to seeing the project done by a coworker's daughter:  this incredibly creative young girl gave spiders drugs (alcohol, sleeping pills, and caffeine) to see how it impacted their ability to spin webs.  Now that is a student that I want in my class!  (So long as she doesn't bring spiders to class, of course -- those things are definitely the spawn of Satan.)

Yay Duck and Yuck Duck scores from this week:

Yay Duck:  My freshmen did an AWESOME job on their huge history project -- they completely blew me away!  My Chinese lessons are still going really well.  I was finally able to get a new adaptor for my Mac, so I no longer have a dead computer.  I leave for Korea in ten days!  The semester is, for all practical purposes, over!

Yuck Duck:  The legal mess from the US (hey, that rhymes!).  I've had the same migraine, off and on, since Wednesday night.  The semester is, for all practical purposes, over.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"