My Nerves are Shaky…

Sometimes, I feel that I need to use some old timers’ terminology from the family to explain my feelings about the world around me. I remember my mother quoting the older generation of her family often when I was younger. My Mom, Anita, was a young mother for her time (she was married at 19, had me at 20, and my siblings at 22 and 24) but she has always had an older soul when it came to her phrases. My favorite was, “My nerves are shaky.”

I didn’t quite get what she meant by this until I became older and wiser. She was right, there are events that make you really feel like every nerve in your body is quivering, and you have to warn people before you have some kind of emotional outburst. My mother would usually say this phrase after we had “gotten on her last nerve” (another one of my favorite sayings by my dearest mother) or the stress of the world was almost too much to handle. People, events, lack of time, mishaps, and the uncertainty of what is to come next are things that made mother, and now me, nerves a little shaky.

My nerves are shaky for a couple reasons:

Last week was exams. A time where children have to show the information that they have learned in the past…5 months, and to display to school districts that they listened, they comprehended the information, and that they proudly are ready to display it for all the world to see. The complete opposite happens every year. I have students, who walk out, talking about how easy the exam was, come back the following week to see that they completely bombed each and every section of the exam. Of course, this means that the test was wrong, and so was the answer key, and so was the information that the teacher gave on the study guide, the power points, the whole semester. You see, everyone and everything is wrong, except the child. My nerves become shaky because I can’t comment the way that I want, because I am a professional and know that youth today what instant gratification, even if it is not earned. So now, after students have left the room and I have heard excuse after excuse of their poor performance, and whining for me to save them, I realized that my nerves are quite shaky.

This new book has my nerves shaking too, but in a good way. I am excited to see where this book takes me, and hope that it soars me to new heights as a writer, and, more importantly, as a person. I wonder what people will think of what I write down. I wonder what my family will think when they read the “steamy” poems (sorry Mom and Dad, but it’s a great topic to write about). I wonder if people will see me differently because I am now a published author. My nerves are working overtime, but I want to enjoy all the aspects of this grand opportunity. I want to have people frown at my choice of topics, to examine my perspective, to laugh at my imagery, to question our existence, and to have that moment of signing someone’s book to make it a cherished object of their affection. All of these thoughts have me working in overdrive emotionally, but I don’t mind my nerves being shaky with this.

My mother asked me this weekend if I wrote any negative poems about her. I told her I would never do that to her. You can’t do that to true inspirations. Plus, I different don’t want to make her nerves to start shaking.

Things that teachers hear…Part I

In one week, teachers can hear things you can’t imagine.

They have a zillion questions posed to them, piles of complaints, and odd events that are precious to the human ears. In just one week, I have heard and been asked so many odd things, that I have to write about a couple of them. So, for those who wonder what teachers deal with, or those are thinking of trying this profession, this is a sample of my week.

1. Event One: Papers are Due.

A funny event did happen while kids were turning in literary analysis papers. One of my beloved students needed his paper printed due to family issues, so he undid the velco of his flashdrive holder, laid it on my computer desk, and handed me his device. I, in turn, printed his paper, while fussing to him about being more prepared. Once I finished finding his file, I leaned over to grab the paper from my printer, and I handed him the flashdrive. He just stood there, with a bewildered look on his face.

“Kid, what’s the problem?”

“Ummm, I don’t want to do anything inappropriate Ms. Mathews, but my flashdrive holder is stuck to your shirt. I don’t want to reach in and take it off you, because I would have to feel you up. I don’t want you to get mad for reaching for your boobie…”

Yes, the velco was attached to my shirt, and indeed this child would have had to feel me up to take it back. I reached for it, ripped it off, and called him a gentleman for not going for first base. The classroom died with laughter.

Event #2-Cell Phone Addict:

Many of my students are addicted to their phones. One of the biggest mistakes of the school year was allowing kids to use phones between classes and at lunch. Somehow, the translation of this rule turned into, “students can use their phones during lectures, test, daily exercises, or any other time they feel is relevant.” One girl in my junior class, is very much addicted to her phone, and the class was trying to do an intervention.

“You guys want to know why I can’t put down my phone? Well, last year, a student took my phone and wouldn’t give it back. They had to call Coach Bill (the hall monitor of the building. Sidenote: Bill is also my best friend and my room mate. He has great stories, but that is for another time). Before Coach Bill could get there to search everyone, the kid decided to hide the phone IN HIS UNDERWEAR!”

My  students and I reeled back in horror at the idea. A child was so desperate for a phone that he had to take someone elses and place it in his drawers?! Gross!

One rather bright student, came up with the best follow-up question to her story.

“Did he make a private call?”

I was the only one to get his joke right away, and the two of us bent over in laughter. After he repeated his pun, others joined in giggling… except the addict. She found no humor in his cleaver line.

Quotes I have been asked this week?

Ms. Mathews…

“When are we going out on a date?”

“Where do you buy your hair?”

“When are we going to find you a man?”

“When did you learn about sex?”

“How long does it take to get a doctoral degree? How long? Naw, I’m not doing that.”

“Can we all go skydiving together?”

“Do we have to do ALL of this assignment?”

“Did my momma call you?”

“Can I turn in my paper (that was due on Monday) next week?”

“Why don’t you like me?”

“Do you think I’m childish?”

“What time do we get out of school?”

If a teacher was paid a quarter for each question they answered, they wouldn’t stress about money to pay for their additional credits.

This is just a small sampling of my day. This doesn’t include required meetings, teacher’s lounge talk, what kids say while passing my door in the hallways and at soccer practice.

And you wonder why teachers are always so tired…


The title of my new poetry book is “Simply”. Many people have been asking me why did I choose this title for my first published work. There is a minor and a major reason for this choice:

The Minor Reason: “Simply” is my favorite word. I use it quite often in my profession, which is education. I teach juniors and seniors, the older crowd of the chaos known as secondary education, and as much as people think that this is a difficult task, it is an easy one for me, and one that I quite enjoy. Often with my job, kids are asking questions to figure out how to get out of work. On a daily basis, I am asked, “So, what happens if I don’t do this assignment?” My answer always includes the word “simply” in it. Some of my replies have been the following:

“You simply will fail, and be here for an extended amount of time if you don’t work.”
“The answer is simply this, you know my expectations. You will either reach those expectations, or fall to the side with the others who didn’t get their diploma.”
And my favorite…
“I simply need you to go back to your seat, stop annoying me, and get back to work.”

The Major Reason: I am a huge fan of irony. To have the title “Simply” implies that the poetry will be very straight forward. That is not the case. The book is simply about love, hate, heartbreak, sex, choices, obstacles, family, fatigue, success, frailty and many other concepts that make us human. So, the topics are not simple at all, but they are simply things I have seen, heard, experienced, and learn from to become the human being that I am at this point in my lifetime.

I “simply” adore being a published writer. I now can display the bedlam known as my emotions to entertain and enlighten others. I simply can’t wait for this book to be complete.


I have spent much of my time working on my autobiography, but it turns out my poetry book is going to be the first book published. I was notified that I am the Passion for Poetry winner for MANA, and will be receiving a book in the upcoming months. I feel blessed to have achieved a major wish on my bucket list. More details will be available soon, so get ready world, Jessyca is now the passionate poet of 2013!