Sunday, March 22, 2015

One of "Those Weeks"

Last week was definitely one of “those weeks.” I feel like I tried to take on everything. And, I sort of accomplished it…but some days it didn’t quite seem worth the effort (and some days it did).


Last week, I:

-Organized and ran3 days of bake sales and pizza sales to raise money for a young girls’ orphanage in Guatemala with a group of amazing 7th grade girls. We raised a whopping Q2975 (about $400) so that was definitely worth it.
-Supervised 8 hours of DI practices after school as our team got ready for the National competition, which was on Saturday.
-Hosted a dinner party at my house, went out to eat, attended book club, picked up my race packet for the City 10K Night Run, went to the movies, and spent one night baking for those bake sales I mentioned. (You do the math…I was busy).
-Ran a total of 10 miles over the course of 3 days in order to prepare for aforementioned race.
-Visited a Children’s Hospital with a few other teachers.
-Submitted my application to graduate from my masters program. (Yay!)


By Thursday night (when I went to book club after having taught and run bake sales all day and then supervising a rather non-productive 2 hour DI practice) I was so exhausted that I almost fell asleep in the car on the 10 minute drive, and then I was rather useless as far as conversation went.

My classroom has been converted to DI prop storage.
 
On Friday, I felt like I was being pulled in too many directions at once. And, perhaps I was. Friday morning at short recess, I was supposed to be supervising detentions, supervising a bake sale, and getting on a bus to visit the Children’s Hospital all at the same time. Thankfully, I have the best teaching team in the world. Kelly Anne covered detentions and Annette manned the bake sale (and switched periods with me so that I would not miss a class to leave school). 

Popcorn bars and cookies on sticks
for the bake sale
 
The Children’s Hospital visit was the highlight of my week. The trip was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. UNOP (Unidad Nacional De Oncología Pediátrica) is a free program to any child with a pre-existing cancer diagnosis. It’s such a well-run program. One of the things I found really amazing is the changes they have made to the program to work within the society of poverty that prevails in this country. It’s not enough to simply treat a child’s cancer. For years, the cancer survival rates were low, not because the treatment was ineffective, but because even paying for bus fare to come to the city for chemo-therapy treatments was too much of a burden for some families; they would pull their child from the program in order to have enough money to feed their other children. Now, UNOP pays for the family’s bus fare and provides housing for those families who live very far away. 

 

Another area they had to make a change was in the nutritional needs of the children. In order to undergo treatment, a person needs to be well nourished. In the past, the children would meet with a nutritionist, probably get a balanced meal, and then be sent home for 2 weeks. When they came back for their treatment, they would be malnourished again, though. So then the hospital would send home a nutritional supplement for the kids. But what did some parents do? They may have had six or seven children—and the one with cancer wasn’t the only malnourished one. So rather than give the whole can of Ensure (or whatever supplement) to just the sick child, they were dividing it evenly between all of the children. And the child with cancer would still be undernourished and not able to take cancer treatment. Now, the entire family’s basic nutritional needs are met by UNOP once a child is admitted into the program.

The visit to the hospital was great. But it did run long, and I realized before we even boarded the bus again that I would be late for lunch (when I was supposed to be running another bake sale). Thankfully, my principal was on the bus with us, and he called teachers until one picked up their phone. Bill took over the bake sale until I arrived, 15 minutes late.

That final bake sale didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned. The chocolate fountain wasn’t working. One girl had brought crepes, but no one had brought anything to top them with, so they didn’t sell. We had ordered pizza to sell, but instead of arriving at the beginning of the lunch period, it arrived at the very end of it. I was frazzled by the time I returned to my classroom to teach 4th period.

Of course, it all worked out. Even the late pizza got sold—some to the teachers, and some we sold at the end of the day while the students played their intramurals. After school, Sandra volunteered to stay and sell from 3-4pm to the kids still at school for extracurricular activities. (Another example of why my teaching team is so great!) I, meanwhile, was taking care of last minute details with my DI team.

By Friday evening I was again dizzy and over-exhausted. So much so that I picked up my packet for Saturday’s race and then went home rather than joining my friends for dinner. I was in bed by 8pm, and I slept 11 hours that night. It helped.

Saturday was redemption for the week. My DI team, an amazing bunch of kids who take responsibility and work well together, even if they are sometimes loud and hard to focus (like all 6th graders), did really well in their challenge. In a category with 7 teams (huge competition for a group used to going up against maybe 1 or 2 teams maximum), they tied for first place, and all of us will be headed once again to Global Finals in Tennessee at the end of May. I couldn’t be more proud.

Tears and cheers after earning 1st place.

Saturday night was the 10K City Night Run. A group of 8 of us met up there, ran, and then met up at the end. Somehow, despite the fact that I hadn’t really been training lately, I managed to set a new PR for myself in the race. I was extremely pleased.

And Sunday? Today my plans include going out to breakfast and then relaxing my afternoon away from a certain rooftop pool I haven’t had the chance to visit in much too long. My friend Chris is finally back in town after pretty much a month and a half of nonstop traveling.
After today, I am pretty sure everything from the last week will be worth it.

 




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