Miserable Dilema - Leaving Teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by NoSocrates, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. NoSocrates

    NoSocrates New Member

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    I've hit the proverbial wall. I have nothing left to give. In a nutshell, "this is not what I signed up for." Truth be told, I have never completely enjoyed the many aspects of teaching. Granted, nobody ever truly loves all aspects of their job. But, I feel strongly that teaching is such a beast of it's own creation that some of these disliked aspects are enough to run a soul off its rails.

    I find myself three weeks into the school year and I'm battling with the day to day grind in a way I've never had to before. I've lost the joy, I've lost the challenge. Even the good kids, the interested and mannered kids of the school are no longer able to buoy my spirits. My personal life is suffering. I'm so exhausted by the end of the day it is all I can do from napping my worrisome evenings away.

    This is a shame. I'm a talented, intelligent and caring individual. But, unquestionably, something has snapped. I've enjoyed reading the posts from other teachers about similar situations ... but the time has come to make a decision. I will be leaving teacher as soon as I possibly can. Now, for purposes of income, I'm obviously unable to leave until I have some safety net upon which to fall. I'm single, no family and no wife, which makes my decision easier in many regards, yet trickier in the financial aspects of life.

    Every year I've fought these feelings. I'm in the beginning of my 7th year of teaching and this will be it. I'll be shocked (and quite possibly strapped in a straight jacket) if I'm still in this "profession" come Xmas. There is no professionalism in this profession, David Copperfield does not employ as much smoke and mirrors as does the "profession" of teaching. I have difficult choice to make, I'm hearing many sides of the same arguments.

    Something has snapped. Is this familiar to anyone? I can no longer tolerate (or ignore) the complaining kids, the whining, the entitlement, the Paris Hilton want-to-be's (Paris should be dragged through the streets for her negative impact on high school girls). I can no longer stand the fellow teachers and their endless whining. I greatly fear becoming the same. Administration is clouded with individuals who simply wanted "out of the classroom." Utterly talentless, gutless souls who do all and anything to avoid confrontation and the almight decision process. If I'm told to "grin and bear it" even once more ... well, I digress.

    This forum is cleansing and unquestionably helpful. Please share some insight. I'm feeling alone in this chaos. I'm capable of more than babysitting 18 year old whiners. A shame, really, that's its come to this. So many great kids get lost in the shuffle in the school board's attempt to appease the polar opposites of the teaching world. Simply ... I am unwilling to sacrifice my soul for the sake of those students lost in the mix. The ship is sinking ... I must make my way to a life boat.

    Am I alone in this chaos?
     
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  3. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I think you should become a writer.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Maybe you could work for a textbook company...become a sales rep? You certainly have a way with words. I don't know if your letter is an indication, but, this year I am hearing many more teachers feeling that they have reached the wall. Not just on this site, but at workshops and other places I meet up with teachers. This seems to be a tough year all around.
     
  5. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    i SECOND that! great writing in this post. if your heart isn't in it, then it isn't fair to the kids to continue and it isn't fair to you either. they need to know that someone is passionate for them and you have lost your "steam." happens a lot and i can certainly relate (although elementary is a bit different).

    we wish you well on all of your endeavors and hope that writing is one of them.

    good luck
    LC
     
  6. blessedteacher

    blessedteacher Rookie

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    That post was quite entertaining. I believe ecsmom has a point. Maybe writing is truly your gift.
     
  7. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Maybe you could become a textbook writer or a freelance writer. You definitely have a way with words. I am so sorry that it has come to this. Have you thought about moving to another school, one with better administrator?
     
  8. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    I feel the same way. This is my second year and I'm already dreading coming into school. I'm always so overwhelmed and over-worked with little support. I rarely hear a compliment or postive words. It's always the negative. If I could come to school and just teach and make learning fun I would enjoy my job. Instead I manage students all day long. I give them inifinite amounts of assessments and tests. They say the average burn out is 5 years for a teacher. I feel that I only have this year and possibly next year left. I cannot see myself staying in this profession, so no, you are not alone. My only problem is trying to figure out what I will move onto next. Best of luck to you. Like many have said, you have a way with words.
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Mac-You know I hate to hear that from you. Do you think you would feel this way if you were still at your old school?
     
  10. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    What about trying the younger aged kids in a lower income area... they won't have quite as big of a smartmouth like older teens would and more than likely not have that feeling of entitlement. Maybe check into something like Sylvan's Learning Centers. Maybe travel abroad to countries where children desire that opportunity to learn.
     
  11. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I was thinking the exact same thing. I wish I could write as well as you! I wish you luck in your decision.
     
  12. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Go back to college ... get a doctorate and teach college. Then when you have students that are complaining you just tell them to grow up or get out of my class. :D
     
  13. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Now THERE ya go!! College!!! Great idea here, HMM!
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    NoSocrates, have you had a medical examination recently? Some of your feelings could be related to depression. Please consider that.
     
  15. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I think there are so many opportunities for educators outside of the classroom. Think about how many aspects of the world are based on kids. You could work for a toy company (Leapfrog is based around here-maybe an educational toy company is in your area?). There are small companies that develop puzzles and computer games and websites for kids-could you be a consultant for them? I'm opening my own teacher consultant business, with the sole purpose to encourage and build up discouraged teachers. Could you do something like that? I love the idea of contacting local colleges. Could you be an education professor and try to change the culture you hate? Could contact a company like TRIBES and find out about being a consultant for them? They are so positive, and you could meet and work with teachers to improve their schools and classrooms. Just ideas.
     
  16. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    If the bad out weighs the good, then you are doing yourself a dis-service as well as the kids. I really truly hope and pray that you find what it is you are looking for professionally. GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN YOUR NEW JOURNEY!!!!!!!!
     
  17. Lindsay.Lou

    Lindsay.Lou Companion

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    A friend of mine got divorced from her husband (unfortunately). She was on the fence for a while, and said that the "breaking point" for her was when she couldn't stand any of the seemingly innocent little quirks her husband had (e.g. the way he held his fork pissed her off, how he was constantly patting his hair down pissed her off, the radio station that he set his morning alarm to drove her bonkers, etc)

    When she loved him, she easily looked past these quirks. Putting up with little annoyances was worth it because she loved him. In your case, it sounds like you're ready to divorce teaching. Trust me, the kids have always had an attitude, it was just easier for you not to be bothered by it when you loved teaching. Now that you don't love teaching, the attitude (and all the other little stuff) is enough to make you want to scream, I bet.

    It is clear that you are an enormously talented individual. Do you feel like staying somewhere in education is where you want to be (just not teaching) or do you feel like you want a radical change?
     
  18. ByCandleLight

    ByCandleLight Rookie

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    You are most assuredly not alone. If your misery can be mitigated by company, then we'll start a fan club...just make some room for me in that dinghy you spoke of earlier.

    Seriously though, I could add an additional twenty complaints to your list of how badly our education systems are run, but I tired of hearing myself complain. So to make this short and sweet: get out if you're miserable. Yes, it's scary. I'm making the same decision this year, and I'm scared stiff...especially in this economy. But keeping up with the Joneses in suburbia didn't make me happy or make up for the misery I was experiencing at work, so maybe a couple years of menial labor and a stress free life to get me back on my feet will.

    I feel like beating my head against the walls some days. I feel like I'm surrounded by ignorance and it's seeping into my pores. Everyday the kids (these self-proclaimed doctors, lawyers, vets of tomorrow) stun me with their comments on how J.F.K. was remembered in history for being black, Obama can't be president because he's Muslim, why do we need to read Shakespeare...why can't we read something I can understand like the Babysitter's Club? After spending 10 minutes...ten minutes trying to get the class to understand that someone in power "selling their offices" does NOT mean holding a yard sale (all the while looking at a sea of disinterested and dead little faces), I finally gave up and just told them the answer. THAT's when I knew: this is it. I can't do this anymore. I always validate why they need to know the lesson and make real world connections, I make analogies, I use visuals, I do everything but dance on my head naked and they still could give a crap. But give them a year in the real world and they'll be blaming us for everything from that one pimple that just wouldn't go away to not motivating them enough to make them pass.

    I remember as a student teacher they told us not to hand out in the teacher's lounge b/c those old workhorses would give us newbies a bad image with their negativity. Well I'm an old workhorse now, and I'd love to jerk some of my professors, most of which haven't seen the inside of a public school classsroom since poodle skirts were still in fashion, into my job for even one nine week grading period and see how they fare.

    Get out; be happy. End of story. You have one life. Do you want to spend it holding onto a dream that turned into a nightmare, or do you want to go out and carve out a new possibility for yourself? We have students who come from homes where one parent works a min. wage paying job and still manages to put food on the table w/o assistance. Downsize if you have to. We don't need full cable or any cable at all. You don't need a cell phone and landline. You don't need internet. If you have to cut all of these things to make ends meet than do it. One life. Make it count.
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    :haha: That's a great idea!!
     
  20. time2teach

    time2teach Companion

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    Before you make the leap, just know that you will find the same attitudes, politics and issues in any job........its not just a "school" thing. And believe me its no fun working with or for and ADULT who thinks they are "entitled" to do as little as possible and get the greatest benefits. Instead of working with these kids, you could be working with/for their parents......is that what you want to do?
     
  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    :eek:hmy: ...Give up anything but the internet...we wouldn't be able to benefit from your marvelous skills if we couldn't keep in touch!!!:atoz_love:
     
  22. cMcD

    cMcD Groupie

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    I don't know. I still had my moments at my old school. I don't want to transfer to yet another school this summer. I'm tired of starting over (in every aspect). Maybe I would have been happier at my old school because I felt more relaxed there.
     
  23. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I understand what you're saying. That's one of my main goals is to get into a school and be there for more than just one year!!
     
  24. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

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    What about changing grades? Drop from high school to middle or elementary.

    Otherwise--I definatley second the writer idea!
     
  25. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I think this is a great analogy. I have to admit, there are times I feel like this also. I just get tired of trying so hard! I wonder what else is out there for me...I remember in high school, trying so hard to be the best, to be number one, to be outstanding at something. Now I sometimes feel like just one of the crowd. I feel like it is hard to make something special out of yourself, when I know very well that if I wasn't doing my job there is a lineup of equally qualified people just waiting to take it from me. Does that make sense?

    Then I take a deep breath, think about what I am trying to do everyday, and relax. I could sit here and say I really like seeing the look on just one child's face when they "get it". That's true, but honestly, I could live without that look. The honest truth?

    I really like having summers off. There, I said it! I have a lot of work to do in the summer, but let's face it, if I want to sleep in, eat snowcones for breakfast with my two girls, lounge at the pool, and stay up late watching trashy reality shows, I can. Yes, it is hard to go back to work in August full time, but I just have to remember that it could be so much worse.

    That's what keeps me going. It may not be the most noble reason, but it's true!

    I wish you luck in your decision. It may well be time to get out-only you can know that for sure.
     
  26. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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  27. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Two words: Community College.

    If you've got a Master's in almost anything besides education, they'll snap you right up and be happy to get you. And you will be happy there. Seriously. It has all of the joys and none of the horrible peripherals. It's wonderful to experience the joys again!! There aren't enough positive things to say about it.
     
  28. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Mamacita-When I get my master's, I might be coming to you for advice on getting a job in community colleges. :)

    Do they pay better than being a public school teacher? DH wants to know.
     
  29. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    It depends on whether you are full-time or an adjunct. Full-time pays about the same in Indiana, and as an adjunct you would start at about $30.00/hour.
     
  30. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Thank you! Its been something that I've been considering. I know that most of my professors in college taught at a public school during the day and then taught one or two classes a night during the week.
     
  31. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I'm tired, too. Thinking this may be my last year.


    (Not as poetic as what you wrote, but there's a world of sigh in it.)
     
  32. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Teaching is definitely not for everyone that's for sure, no matter how hard one may try to make it one's career. So, do you want to return to school or do you believe you already possess the skills & knowledge to do something else now? What are you thinking of getting into?

    Good luck in whatever you do.
     
  33. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I meet people from all walks of life (cliche). People usually come wired two different ways. One group sees all the good on earth, at home, at work etc. The others seem to find all the bad. Some would say you have your Polyannas and your realists. To begin with you need to have some faith in yourself. To believe you are worthwhile and that what you are DOING is valuable. I am just a PE teacher. You know me, the GYM guy, too dumb to do anything else. But the real deal is I KNOW who I am and that I do is an important thing. The faces of my kids tell me each day and even the older ones (married with kids in their 30s) when they visit me. Now I agree, it seems that too many people now days seem to only care about themselves and what they can aquire. I give those folks about .0001% of my time and focus on the ones that care about our school, town, state, country, world etc. You can affect change in a HS if kids KNOW you care. Care about the subject and them. Talk to them about REAL life, like their lives and how you are the same in lots of ways. Talk to them about what they percieve to be when the school days are over. Nice goes a long way with people and so does respect. (kids are people, some even more so than many adults) Hope that makes a litttle sense. I gotta either go home to bed (feel sick) or go setup my PE field for class...........
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time. It sounds like you're exactly the kind of person we WANT in the classroom-- caring and dedicated.

    Would changing to a smaller school help? Or a private school? Or teaching at a local college? Do you think the problem is with your school, or is it teaching in general?

    In the final analysis, though, no job is worth your mental health. You sound seriously stressed. Right now, while there is still a paycheck coming in, consider some other options. If this is year #7, I'm guessing you're still in your 20's-- so you DO have lots of other options. If it means working in a deparment store or tending bar until you can find something that ignites a spark, then do so. Or, as so many others have suggested, give freelance writing a try... I can help you get started when things calm down here in a few days.

    Best wishes!
     
  35. NoSocrates

    NoSocrates New Member

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    NoSocrates Indeed

    Hello again. This situation is really beginning to spin out of control. In an effort to explain myself this weekend, with a few select friends and family, I've been met with everything from complete agreement that I must leave teaching, to the far fetched diagnosis of Dr.Phil-ites saying that I'm everything from medically messed-up to clinically depressed. I am in no way lampooing the miseries of depression ... but this is not me. I will no longer attempt to explain myself or my situation. I know myself, I know myself well ... this resounding understanding of myself (and that alone) is what's driven me to this point. I'm unwilling, perhaps unable, to accept a station in life that is so poorly fit. I'm not able, perhaps not willing, to "grin and bear it" because I know there is more to life than bears with grins.

    I find myself pinned in a situation that seems clear to me, but unacceptable to others. Teaching is making life miserable. Other facets of my existence are struggling as a result. I have the stress of banks calling six/seven times a day, a back breaking work load and little outside support. I come home to an empty apartment every day with far too much time to recount my days. I never feel this way, ever, other than when teaching is involved. Is it so hard to believe that an individual's soul can be uprooted so badly because of a poorly chosen occupation? I feel more alone than ever.

    The writing comments have been well recieved. I actually hold a degree in Journalism and have been attempting to find my way through said busy field for a few years now. Summers work well, as I am able to focus my attentions and guide my efforts. However, when the almighty bell tolls in September, my focus shifts.

    Perhaps I should have left teaching last year. But, here's the rub. I spent last year in a terribly difficult school. No support from adminstration, constantly breaking up fights in my own classroom (including physically carrying students from my room), even going so far as being involved in breaking up a full scale riot/brawl in the halls of my school. A more frightening scene I cannot recount, students tackling police officers and innocent students being attacked 6 to 1. I derive none of this from fiction (I only wish I could). I've left last year's hell where it lies. However, in reasoning with myself, I simply could not leave teaching with last year as the deciding factor. I knew that would be wrong, I knew last year could not be the deciding point.

    As such, this year I moved schools. Starting over in a similarly sized school, but with much less built-in conflict. Yet, and not to repeat myself, three weeks in and I'm finding that the classroom drudgery is still the same classroom drudgery. Last year took too much, this year will suffer for the previous.

    I'm beginning to rant, I'm beginning to get the feeling that I should be stretched upon a leather couch talking about some distant memory of my youth, some forgotten dilema that ties all these dangerous ends together. Now I've got family questioning my sanity and desire when, in fact, all I want is a new career.

    Writing ... that is the plan, that was the plan, that will be the plan again. But, finances prevent me from leaving my slice of hell just yet. Writing, perhaps the only job that pays less than teaching (I laugh as I type this) ... quite a pair. This busy world is not for the gifted, old souls. I'm not sure how to cope with modern needs of others, such needs do not register in my wiring. I've tried, lord, I've tried, but it's not there. I'm a misplaced soul, I should be deep in a coal mine with my day's direct task. For now, I'm on the surface like so many others.

    Thank you so much for all the great insights. This is helping. If anyone has any further advice for a further lost soul (a lot of mention of souls today) ... please keep it coming.

    NoSocrates
     
  36. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry that your family is not more supportive of your decision. My family is highly supportive of the fact that I want to be a teacher, and understand that instead of taking a full time job in another field, I choose to sub in the hopes that I can break into a most difficult district to get into. They also understand why I've put in applications in a different state entirely.

    Why spend thousands of dollars on a therapist when you have the advice and support of this great online community!
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I find my job exceedingly fun. Yes, fun. If I moved over to public school, I no doubt wouldn't feel the same way. We each have to know where we will function best - and be happy. It sounds like you know yourself very well, NoSocrates, and you don't need the advice of others. Just find the courage to work at what you love. (And somehow to finance it.) If it means teaching for a while just for the money, then I'm sure you can do an acceptable job without selling your soul.
     
  38. NoSocrates

    NoSocrates New Member

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    We each have to know where we will function best - and be happy. It sounds like you know yourself very well, NoSocrates, and you don't need the advice of others.


    ...... thank you, Upsadaisy.

    NS
     
  39. megk

    megk Rookie

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    I give you a lot of credit for toughing out last year, and deciding to try another year at another school. Quite honestly I don't think you are going to find happiness in the teaching profession considering the depth at which you describe your sadness. I hope things get better for you.

     
  40. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I think you've been wise to give it one more year.

    But if you're making yourself sick, get out, find what you love.

    Life is too short, if writing is your passion, go for it. I have a cousin who taught one year, hated it, starved for a while but he's a professional photographer now. His parents were devastated. They said he'd starve and he did for a while, but he was willing to starve and just couldn't hang in there with the teaching.

    You said the bank is calling, you have no support at home, life is just hard sometimes. If you can stick it out until this semester is over maybe you can get your finances in order?

    I've had some HARD years but didn't have the luxury of thinking I could quit... kids, mortgage, other responsibilities, too close to retirement. Hard times do pass.

    It's a decision only you can make.

    Perhaps you need to see a counselor. Develop some relationships so that your off time is rewarding. Working should be sustainment for your opportunity for living which is your personal off-time.

    I think you need some big hugs... sending some your way.

    All the other suggestions here are honest and very insightful, consider them too.
     
  41. chinamom

    chinamom Rookie

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    NoSocrates, you find yourself in the same place I was in last year. I stuck out the school year in an awful situation so I could reap the benefits of a decent salary and all the trimmin's.......I decided that no way could I let myself make my decision to quit teaching based on my experience last year, so here I still am. I'm fortunate in that I found a situation (or returned to a former situation) that is a polar opposite of what I had last year, so I'm still holding out hope for this profession.
    But last year, that position sucked the joy and life out of me and everything around me. I will never, ever allow myself, if I have it within my control, to end up in that situation again. I will not stick it out for the sake of a contract or money. There are other ways to make a living.

    So I wish you the very best and say, follow your heart. You clearly have a lot to offer this world. I hope that you will soon find your joy and passion again.

    Chinamom
     

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