May 1, 2008

My teacher hat elbows my blogger hat out of the way

Posted in Blogging, Personal, Poetry at 10:33 am by The Lizard Queen

Hi lovelies!  I’m sorry I missed the last few days of poetry month; grading papers came between me and my internet.  The good news, though, is that I picked up the Emanuel Litvinoff book I ordered through Interlibrary Loan yesterday (it came all the way from Maine!), so I managed to complete my quest for the month (more or less).  I’m very pleased.  I’ll post “To T.S. Eliot” in a bit, and perhaps other poems later on.

A story from class yesterday, first, though: I teach Wednesday evenings.  Class time rolled around, and one of my students, heavily pregnant, lumbered into the room, looking overheated and out of breath.  Another student asked when the first was due, and the first responded that she was already in labor — “Hence the red face,” she said, gesturing.

Folks, I nearly had a heart attack.  The irony was that every other woman in the room had had a baby before, and so they were all totally chill.  “Oh, how far are you dialated?” one asked.  Me, I was ready to start boiling some water and ripping up some sheets (as is my understanding of what people do in these situations).  “Um, is this something I need to be worried about?” I managed to squeak out.  This being the woman’s fourth child, she seemed to know exactly what she was doing, and she replied, “Nope, it’s going to be a while — labor lasts, like, 40 hours.”  Another woman — the one who’d asked about dialation — chipped in: “It’s not like you see in the movies, where it all happens really fast.”  I made a joke about my panic, and a third woman smiled at me with knowing amusement.

I always enjoy these moments: moments where it’s clear that there’s a facet of life or a subject about which my students know so much more than I do, moments in which I get to learn from them.  (That said, though, I don’t think I’ll be any less panicky the next time a student is in labor in my class!)



  1. DavidD said,

    Ain’t life educational! How do you suppose your mother passed the time in labor with you? You’re supposed to stay active to keep the labor from stopping, in which case it would just have to start all over again later. No doubt you run a sufficiently active class to keep women in labor going.

    You’d think experience would get more respect than it does, especially experience with reality rather than fantasy. I suppose part of the problem is that those with experience don’t express it well necessarily, in words, in images, something to which people will attend. It’s hard to dramatize confidently doing nothing instead of barking out orders. Fortunately life supplies much experience if one is willing.

  2. luaphacim said,

    I don’t know nothin’ ’bout birthin’ no babies!! 😉

  3. Sarah said,

    Well, it lasts forty hours for SOME people. Others, like me, wake up with massive close together contractions and have to rush to the hospital.

    But then the epidural slows it all down again. Without an epidural, I probably would’ve popped Leila out with 2-3 hours of labor only.

  4. MPC said,

    You know…. I’d like to give a copy of this to some of my students who can’t seem to make it to class for various reasons….

    At the same time, I hope I never have a student so dedicated to coming to class. This is an absence I would excuse, even on my most hard-assed day.

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