1. chaos; disorder; confusion

In life there are detractors, haters, naysayers. Pamela learned this lesson early. When people told her she was crazy to think she could raise twins on her own at the age of 15, she ignored them. They laughed when she decided to go back to school and get her GED at 30 and her bachelor’s at 32. But she had been undeterred.

When graduation came, she mailed about 500 invitations, wanting the doubters to see her degree with their own eyes.

So when it came to getting her master’s degree and teaching full-time, she didn’t stop to think twice about the schedule. Her boys were old enough to take care of themselves and too busy to ever be at home. So Pamela filled her days with lesson plans. Her nights overflowed with papers and required reading.

The schedule was tough and tiring, but she was determined to make it. It wasn’t until she woke up with a book covering her face, that Pamela had second thoughts.

She stirred, groggy. It took a minute to realize she wasn’t in her bed and that the book on her face wasn’t her psychology textbook, but a book of nursery rhymes.

Pamela rolled onto her side, instinctively wiping drool from her cheek. Around her children ran throughout the classroom, screaming as if they’d lost their minds. Even the students who were usually the most quiet, were louder than usual.

Only someone in a coma could’ve withstood the noise level in the classroom. Rubbing her eyes, she staggered to her feet, attempting to regain her bearings.

Startled, Pamela look around in disbelief. She hoped this tohubohu was somehow a figment of her sleep-deprived imagination. But the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach told her otherwise.

Pamela moved toward the lightswitch for the classroom. She needed to get the classroom under control.

Penelope, a normally reserved child, came careening past Pamela, followed by Juan who was screaming full tilt about eating the child’s brain. She started to think the children had lost their minds, when she noticed the swift movements of empty candy wrappers left in Juan and Penelope’s wake. The floor was covered with them.

Pamela’s eyes shot to the three clear bins of candy she used as rewards every Friday. All three containers were strewn about the room completely empty. She sighed heavily, knowing a lightswitch wasn’t going to work today.

Instead, she diverted from her intended path and headed toward her desk, concocting a new plan. Reaching into her purse she pulled out her whistle.

With their little bodies high on sugar, Pamela knew they were going to need to run off some steam for probably the next few hours. She quickly created math games in her head that could involve running, jumping jacks, and double dutch.

Pamela released the full force of her lung capacity on the whistle. Her hopes were faint, but if she could pull this off, she and the students would survive the school day. Maybe then she’d consider altering her schedule.


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