May 1, 2008
My teacher hat elbows my blogger hat out of the way
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!)