Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 with high school kids

Since everyone on facebook seems to be sharing their "where were you?" stories, I thought I'd do the same.

I was a second year teacher at SEHS. Rebecca Byerly, a student I didn't actually teach, but knew, walked up to me as I stood guard outside my room during class change. Her eyes were big, and she was a little agitated. "Ms. Hardy! I heard America was being attacked by terrorists! They flew a plane into a building! Is it true?"

I looked at her with the skepticism of a teacher who had, even in just a year, already seen her fair share of preying on the gullible. "No, Rebecca, I'm sure that's not true. Just go to class, and don't listen to them."

Reassured, she smiled, thanked me, and walked to class. I've often wondered if she remembers that exchange as vividly as I do, and how she reacted when she finally learned it was true.

I learned it because of another student, Isaac Perez. Isaac didn't bother to speak to me; he walked past me into my room and turned on the class tv. When I walked back in at the class change, it was obvious I had been wrong. We all sat there quietly and watched -- just in time to see the second plane hit.

Experiencing tragedy in the classroom is a surreal experience. Even while I was dealing with shock, fear, and sadness, I had to monitor their emotions and figure out the best way to handle them. They had a wide range of reactions --- many sat and cried; one desensitized action-movie fan actually yelled out, "Sweet!" as the tower crumbled.

I don't remember anything I said during 2nd period that day (although I do remember the teacher look I shot that one kid. It must have been vicious, because he slumped in his seat and didn't say another word). I do remember sobbing during my planning period directly after that. I remember thinking my little world would never be the same.

And it is, and it isn't.

Living overseas, I found that the topic of 9/11 would occasionally come up. Most people were saddened by what had happened -- and yet often I would hear comments about how America could finally understand what it had been like in other countries, where people live with the memories of tragedy in their streets every day. I had never before realized how sheltered Americans have been. The thought of an attack in our country seemed impossible. Perhaps it was fitting that I saw the tragedy unfold with a roomful of sophomores; it was time for all of us to do some growing up.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

my chance to be Molly Ringwald

so Mom and Dad are off exploring the West Coast for a few days.

You know what this means.

I have the house to myself -- finally, my chance to live life as an 80s movie.

So this is your invitation to a small gathering of a few carefully selected friends. Word will get out that there's a rockin' party in Birchwood. Cars will fill the yard, strangers will pour into the house unannounced. I'll be thrilled with my new-found popularity - until I find myself in line to use the bathroom in my own house. Then I'll spot that totally hot guy making out with the slutty blond girl. oh, the teen angst!

Then some dumb jock will drunkenly break a valuable item belonging to my mother, I'll realize that popularity isn't worth this hassle, and I'll kick everyone out. I'll eye the massive chaos and wonder how I'll ever explain the pizza stuck on the ceiling. Thankfully, the boy I previously dismissed (because, you know, I was totally crushing on Hot Boy) will appear out of nowhere. He'll help me clean everything so that mom and dad will never know, and we'll begin our happily-ever-after by goofily dancing to Walk Like an Egyptian as the credits roll.

(I may have a) watched far too many movies as a child b) WAY too much time on my hands.)

See you this weekend. :)

P.S. casting for role of Quirky Best Friend is now open!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Being unemployed changes your perspective. I used to dread Mondays. Now, to my surprise, I dread Tuesdays. They seem like the longest day, with the weekend too far off to look forward to -- and let's face it, the weekend is just like every other day anyway.
This is not, by the way, a positive thing, for those of you who are still employed.

So how have I been spending my time, particularly on long, long Tuesdays?

Well, for starters, I've been checking job listings fanatically. There are definitely jobs out there. 85% of them are in the health field, unfortunately. Also big -- fast food managers. Who knew?

Nothing yet, but I'm maintaining hope.

I've also been exploring the online world. Aside from my new addiction to hulu, I've discovered a wealth of fascinating free courses online. So if a new job doesn't pop up soon, I plan to become an expert in music theory, art history, French, and/or Greek.

But mostly, I've just been bored. Where exactly does a single girl in her 30s go to meet people in Rocky Mount? I have no idea how to answer this question, since church is apparently not the answer. I welcome your suggestions!