Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sleep Deprivation......

I have been sleep deprived three out of the last four nights, all because of baseball. On Friday night I stayed up until 1:45 AM to watch the Braves-Giants game, which went into extra innings. I reasoned that I didn't have to get up Saturday morning, so I could stay up as late as I wanted.

When I went to bed, I was too excited to sleep because of the thrilling way the game ended.

Bear with me here, particularly you non-sports fans. It gets worse.

Sunday's game actually ended at a reasonable time, around 7:30 or 8:00, but I was so disappointed with the way it ended that I. Could. Not. Go. To. Sleep. I would doze off and then jerk awake with the knowledge that the Braves had lost, and then I would start grieving all over again. This went on for several hours. It was well after 11:00 PM before I went to sleep, and I had to get up at 5:00 AM yesterday to go back to school. Eleven o'clock is extreme for a girl who is used to going to bed at 8:00.

Oddly enough, I wasn't as upset when last night's game ended, although it decided the series with the Giants and ended the Braves' season. I had come to grips with the fact that our team is plagued with injuries, we have committed numerous errors over the course of the past few games, and I didn't think we could beat the Phillies in the NLCS anyway. The game was over around 10:30, still late for me, and I snapped the tv off just as soon as the last out was recorded. I couldn't stand to watch the Giants players celebrate. On our home field.

But I still couldn't sleep. I didn't grieve over the loss, trying to see the positives in Bobby Cox's last season, but I couldn't let it go. I would just about doze off and then I would find myself thinking, "If only he had....." "If only this had happened...." "If only (fill in the blank) weren't injured..."


I finally got out of bed and took two nighttime pain capsules sometime after midnight. I just had to get some sleep. I knew it was a bad idea to take those only four and a half hours before I had to get up, but I HAD TO GET SOME SLEEP. 

When I am sleep deprived and have to go to school, I don't react the way that would seem natural. I don't get irritable or grouchy. In fact, I sort of go into an exaggerated calmness, showing a lot more patience than  usual. I speak more slowly, I take time to explain things to my students. Today I found myself joking and kidding around with a girl in my class whom I. CANNOT. STAND. I know that those of you who know me find that hard to believe. I function almost as normal, but then I crash and burn. I taught all day with extra students in my room due to the absence of one of our staff members (subs are difficult to find for our school), I sat through a meeting this afternoon and actually tried to participate, I came home and insisted that Hubby and I go walk in the park, I cooked dinner, I cleaned the kitchen, and I taught my online class.

I can feel the crash and burn coming.

And I'm not taking any chances either. I have already taken my nighttime capsules and have allowed them plenty of time to kick in before I go to bed.

One effect that I have noticed of being sleep deprived, however, is that I tend to be more emotional. Emotional as in tender-hearted, not emotional as in I'm-going-to-cut-your-head-off-and-pour-salt-down-your-neck. I know those of you who know me find that hard to believe too.

First thing this morning one of our students wanted to meet with the teachers. He is one of those very hard-to-like students who has already been suspended twice for playing on the internet when he should be working. He looks a little grimy, he smells a little bad, and almost none of the adults can stand him. For some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for him. It could be that he has the same first name as Hubby. This is the very same student who pulled up next to me in his car when I was riding my bike last Friday. But I liked him before that. Anyway, he hates school, school is difficult for him, paying attention is a struggle, and he isn't motivated. He wants to quit and get his GED (he's 18 years old with only 5 units, which is what a high school freshman should have), but he can't even afford the fees to take the GED tests. He would like to go to a home-school type school in our area that allows students to complete packets of work at home and get their credits that way, but they charge around $45 per week for each class. He can't afford that either. He can't afford his ADHD medication. His dad has been to Savannah to dry out. He needs to get a job, but jobs for young people are scarce to non-existent in our area at the moment, as they are all over the country. He wanted to tell us what he was thinking, but he wasn't expecting us to fix anything for him. I admired him for wanting to talk to us. Some kids just drop out and then drop out of sight. He cried while he was talking to us, and that always makes ME cry. Even when I'm NOT sleep-deprived. He asked to be allowed to go home and think about things, and of course we couldn't say no.

Then I got an email from a girl who is in my advisement group who has also had a tough time. Her mother died when she was very young, and she's never had a good relationship with her father. She has lived with her grandmother most of her life, but now the grandmother has "kicked her out." (I am always a little skeptical of that phrase, because sometimes it means that the adult has said "If you can't follow my rules....." and the teen doesn't want to follow ANYONE'S rules.) She is living with her boyfriend in an apartment, but she doesn't have a car. Her grandmother and aunts have refused to take her back and forth to school. She is THREE STINKING CREDITS away from graduation, and she has finished most of TWO OF THOSE. All she has to do in one of them is a project, take a state-mandated end-of-course test in the other, and she has to suffer through the rest of English Literature. But she's talking about dropping out. She has passed all our state-mandated graduation tests, which is more than a lot of kids can say who get to walk across the stage but don't get a diploma. Don't even get me started on that topic. But this girl has jumped through almost all the hoops, the odds are stacked incredibly against her, and she is so close to that diploma that she can smell it. I have offered to go get her a couple of days a week if she can get a ride home, a blatant violation of our school board policy (but my principal tacitly agreed that I could do it), and she said she would let me know if that will work.

These kids are breaking my heart. More later......

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