BioMenstrualCancer Science

It’s the start of week three at River City High School. Classes are well underway though the teenagers are likely sleepwalking most days from 8am-3pm. Nevertheless our students and our teachers are in the midst of becoming a model school for the Biomedical Science Pathways program through Project Lead the Way. We started training for this in Summer of 2009 and I am so proud to be part of the amazing, growing team of teachers, students, and graduates (even though I am sitting on my couch at home right now).

I have taught the first course in the series of four, Principles of Biomedical Science, 3.25 times. Some students return to the course to be lab assistants, Mrs. Wiley’s personal assistant, Mrs. Wiley’s sidekick that laughs at everything she says to keep her thinking she is funny, etc. and others run away, far, far away until they find Ms. Schroeder, Ms. Buss or Mrs. delaCruz to save them/introduce them to yet another kind of crazy.

Each semester I eagerly, excitedly, anxiously await particular lessons/stories/rants in the curriculum as I have honed my craziness over the years and am quite proud of my skillz. The photo below demonstrates the expression that I describe to my students on Day 2 of class as, “my happy face, my sad face, my excited face, my winning face, my angry face.” They soon realize that The Stare can bring them to tears of fear or sorrow or laughter if they aren’t careful – but I always end up crying or laughing with them!


One of my Top 3 Favorite Lessons (none of which are part of the prescribed curriculum as it turns out & are actually one-act plays featuring ME) occurs towards the end of the first semester, give or take a few weeks depending on how much we have bonded as a class. Note: The course starts out with an examination of a crime scene and the first guest speaker to the class is the Yolo County Sheriff Coroner. Students learn what it means for a living thing to die and then we spend the rest of the four years learning how we stay alive.

This scene begins the moment I overhear an unknowing, talkative, gesticulating young male whisper/complain something like this to others while ‘taking notes’:

“Bitches be cray! Why do girls gotta be so damn moody? They never know what they want and then they get mad at us for it.”

Act I, Scene 1: (Mrs. Wiley freezes; drops or throws whiteboard pen to the ceiling and immediately responds to male student with no excess motion; medium-loud and serious tone of voice)

Wiley/Woman: Bitches be what? Bitches be CRAY??????? 

Male: Awww, Mrs. Wiley! What???? You know that I mean. They hella annoying! You know, when it’s that time of month or whatever.

(W’s heart rate increases, blood pressure increases, body motions are appropriately demonstrative for age group and topic; M still thinks he is correct and other males have joined in his parade; W moves out from behind teacher demo counter/safety barrier but does not approach the male directly; W’s intense response demands all attention at the front of the class without verbal cue)

Wiley: Oh, I see! You must know what it’s like to have bloody tissue from the depths of your soul gush out of your hole every 28 days then. How does that make you feel? Oh, and you must be looking forward to the time when you turn the food that you eat and the air that you breath into another human being, all while supporting your own body and soul, only to get to push said human out of a hole after 9 months, risking death, bruising, tearing, and a lifetime of incontinence? Yes, bitches be cray. Really CRAY! And you guys can’t get enough of us!

(Girls cheer, clap, laugh, feel vindicated, etc.; half of the boys have a strange, squeamish reaction in which they look around in disbelief; half of the boys rally and complain even louder).

The End.

Yeah, so this morning I got my period again. Even after five different types of chemotherapy in the last three years (all of which each individually ‘usually’ catapult a woman into early menopause) Aunt Flo/Uncle TOM still visit every 28 days. So, yes, if I act a little cray I’m gonna own it and love it and send David to buy tampons hoping that he stops to get a shot of whiskey on the way home. 

XOXOXO Mrs. Wiley 

5 responses

  1. Clare, I’m the girl that you saved my wallet in front of Target. I literally have not stopped thinking about you and I have told everyone I know of out encounter. Why? Because out of ALL days (the day my mom got her double mastectomy also her bday) and out of ALL people I could not believe I met you! You saved my whole day and quite frankly have been such an inspirational reminder throughout this entire process of my mom’s breast cancer recovery because I remember my family isn’t alone and positivity is key. My family and friends have used your name as a term to keep strong and be positive! “Remember Clare!” Our angels are there! 🙂 Yesterday I cut off all my hair in support of my moms transition of going bald. After an emotional night I thought contacting you the next day was my top priority. I have no idea if you believe in faith but I have been finding my way. I believe that day I met you was the spirit of my grandma who recently passed away from a long struggle of cancer. There were few signs that led me to believe this that just simply can’t be explained. She knew I needed reassurance, ease, understanding, kindness, and a great big hug! Thank you for showing me all of those things. Reading your posts we really could be “best friends” as you told me that day. I loved this post in particular because it made me laugh! Thank you for saving my wallet and thank you for being an inspiring human being! – Stephanie. P.S I don’t know the whole jist but congrats on your future motherhood!!! 🙂

    • You are an angel to me, too. Today is my 33rd birthday and on Monday I will have my 5th tumor removal surgery at UCDMC. Faith, hope, prayers, lucky charms, happy dances…it’s all part of this big crazy equation, at least to me.
      I will tell myself, “remember Stephanie”, as I get nervous off and on each day thinking about the surgery. Waiting for it is always the hardest part for me.
      Thank you for the kind words about me. I am surrounded by family and friends that are my heart and soul; I’m so glad your awesome, organized, super stylish wallet found its way into my life so that we can become friends.
      I will keep your mother and your family in my prayers. In the arms of those nurses and doctors at UCD this cancer thing is becoming a breakable beast.

      Love, love, love,

      • HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! Hope it was a wild one 🙂 haha. That’s weird I just so happened to contact you around your bday since I met you on my moms bday! All those things are definetly part of the equation! I totally agree! I’m going to be thinking and praying for you tomorrow! ThE waiting game is always horrendous! How lucky to have great support though! That is a true blessing! You go girl! You go break that beast!!! Love, Stephanie.

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