Saturday, February 28, 2015

Passing (or How Little They See)

I walk down the hallway, my hand running across the lockers, across the walls. It keeps me here. It shows me where I am. It keeps me balanced and makes me understand what hallway I'm in and when I need to turn.

I go to the room. The bell shrieks. I freeze up. I forget what I'm doing and where I am. All that I know is the noise. It's too much. I don't know how to move my arms to cover my ears. I don't know how to soothe myself. I just know how to exist, frozen, in space and in time.

I come back. I go back where I was. I continue on, talking about whatever was going on. Had they changed topics? Probably not. Usually its me teaching something. I just keep going. I explain it well. I tell them what is going on. I teach myself that when the bell goes, I need to tell them to leave even if they don't want to go to class. Eventually I remember that. It takes a while to stop teaching and tell them to leave, but not too long.

I have my math. I go back to it. I have how people are doing. That I keep track of. Why they aren't doing well. How can I improve their educations. What aren't they getting and how do these pieces fit together. I keep track of it always. I'm always fitting the pieces together.

They don't notice. They see someone teaching math. They don't notice the person always taking care of their body in order to have any clue what is going on. They don't notice the lack of anything off topic.

Then someone says hi, and I don't reply. They repeat it multiple times. I eventually process that there is someone there talking to me. A bit later I process I should reply. Um, what do I say, I don't know. Too much going on. All my processes on surviving. Not on these things. I try to redirect because its necessary. Enough gets through. I wave. I'm pretty sure that was the right thing to do. Words were to hard but gestures I could force through. I think she got annoyed first. My emotion sense of voices are saying "negative".

I keep going. I have to swap places I'm working. Does everything else get to stay the same? Yes, good. I forget some things in the shuffle. Got most of it. Piece it together. Managed to make it not a big deal that I forgot pencils by loaning out my pen repetitively. All the things I have to think about to manage to swap are so many. But its not so many that I can't teach my students, just that its a bit more awkward and we're a bit slower. We make it through the day.

Because I swapped places I'm expected to get my students here somehow. How do I do that? I ask. I'm told there's the phone to the office or something. I don't understand. I look at my list and have names and locations. I ask what to say. She explains something about asking for locations and students and I don't understand what to say. I try to get it clarified but its still confusing. She moves onto something else. I do everything I can to make it easier to do our work, but run out of things to prepare. I need my students. I go over and pick up the phone. I say hello. There's someone there. What do I say. I don't know. I'm confused. I try to ask the person in the room again, and I still can't figure out what's meant. I try to explain what I need and it doesn't make sense. I try again. It still doesn't work. I directly say what it is I need to tell them, that I have students in rooms and I need them here and I don't know how to get them here. They ask for what rooms and what students, I tell them, and get my students. Now I can do my work. I know how to work with students. Not how to do these phone things these are weird and complicated.

I go back to the hallways, flapping my hands, running them along the walls. I re-orient myself here. Make myself understand what is going on. Then back to my students. Teaching them makes sense, if I only I can get through the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

All the parts

Communication is hard.

Think about all you need to do. You need to figure out what you want to say. You need to think about how to say it. What words to use. Where the emphasis goes; breaks, and pauses, and points of forceful emotions. You need to think about what ideas there are associated with those words; all of them, not just the ones you want. Do you want those? You need to think about ups and downs. And you need to think about other people, what will they do what will they think?

People are confusing.

Do they know the words that I'm wanting to use? Do they have other connotations, other implications, to the phrases than I do? They haven't had my experiences - I know that. Can they understand my explanations, with the feelings that go along - the struggles, the excitement, the fear, the joy - all just from the phrases chosen to express what I'm attempting to convey?

Why are they annoyed? Why are they asking these questions? Why are they saying these things? Why do they act in these ways that make no sense? I want sense. Sense of the world around me. These things these people are doing do not fit in any understanding of the world I have.

Why? Why do they act in these ways? I need to try to figure it out, so that I can try to make them understand what I am trying to say. What I am trying to make them understand of my world, of my thoughts, of my experiences. I need to try to understand how these others think so I can try to make them think what I want them to, for at least the period of time of reading what I say. I need to understand. I need to understand, and how can you understand when you don't have that information, when you're missing pieces, when the pieces you have seem to contradict, when you have too many and too few at the same time?

There are so many parts.

Ideas to words. Words to phrases. Phrases to sentences and paragraphs and more. The pieces need to come together smoothly, the words do, when you're writing. But the ideas need to as well. The way you communicate, the way you shift focus, and emphasize, and the way you draw attention with both the word choice and the structure on the page.

Bits and pieces, all piling up to make something larger. How does it work? We understand it, but can we understand what we want it to be? Are we predicting properly? Are the bits the right bits and the pieces the right pieces? Are our ideas being too tied up in our experiences to be understood?

Letters to words, the page fills. But what do these squiggles mean?