I haven’t blogged in a while. I started to about a week ago, but it was deleted and I felt dejected. I started to earlier this week, but i was too in the thick of things for me to actually finish my entry. Its like trying to describe drowning while doing so…its impossible. Or at least to me at least. The first week of school is over. Well, kind of. I have a parent orientation tomorrow morning at 9, and am required to be at school at 8:30am, which means I need to go and buy juice by 7:45. Goodness…for the entire two weeks before this first week I felt like I was going to die. I didn’t know if i wanted to cry or scream or run away. The anxiety was killing me…driving me to actually go the gym, God forbid. Work is my greatest catalyst, and even before the children arrived I feared the year to come. My heart started beating weird, and my eye started to twitch. AGAIN. Being in professional development, so close yet so far from the first day, did nothing for my confidence in my ability to be a professional. It didn’t help that I felt like I was constantly being devalued as such, and that maybe i wasn’t an effective teacher, and really began to doubt that i was really feeling like a teacher at all. Its funny, because when an event is happening- for example, i didn’t receive an evaluation of my performance (good or bad) because my name wasn’t apart of the list of teachers surveyed last year, my planned professional developments were rescheduled twice because they were overlooked, my classroom was initially planned to be 8 x 10 square feet, which really set me off and led to me being very verbally frustrated with our principal- i don’t really have a connection to how the event effects me. Its after some time and after events have been compounded that the events have an effect on me when it comes to work. i questioned everything about what i do and who i am, and it wasn’t until after i talked to denise, sean, and alisha that i began to get some bearing about my identity as an educator. I still had a pretty good amount of anxiety, and ended up spending rather late nights down to the last minute pretparing for the first week. And i had a pretty good first week!! I had a great last two days, and i’ve had no one to tell about it…so i’m telling you!
Student schedules have been really insane this last week due to a lack of records and test scores. In algebra and in reading all of the 9th graders were tested to determine their algebra readiness and their reading placement. this has kept me out of the classroom, and allowed me to focus on my responsibilities:
a)Training my paraprofessional
b) having transition meetings
c) executing the first week of advisory without fail
Things didn’t go swimmingly, but things went well. Bryan is turning out to work well as a paraprofessional. this is his first time working in a special education setting and my first time training a neophyte to be my representative. He’s a moderately quick study, finding his bearing amongst the certified staff and in the classroom assisting the English teachers and the biology teachers. I had him read through the IEPs to familiarize himself with the types of issues/deficits he’ll be encountering. He will be my partner in making this year run smoothly and much better then last. I think that this will work. I met with a former coworker last thursday and she gave me advice about how i should train him, and earlier in August i started to prepare myself by going over the responsibilities of the paraprofessional, outlining what the action to each responsibility would look like, and how i would support those actions. i must say, this extra step in the direction toward order and planning is really helping me out…gradually.
I’ve had five transition meetings this week, with bryan’s help translating in one, and he scanned all the enrollment files for the names of students with IEPs so that i could make contact and get things going. Susana suggested that i take these next two week to get things really started before going into the classroom. the more organized i am with my paper work , the easier my year will go. while under the dryer a the hair slaon i calendared all of my collaboration meetings for hte entire first semester. i have a plan for how i want this to run, and even if its ineffective next year, i have this whole year to make it work with what I’ve got.
Advisory was teh area i was the most scareda bout. my advisory group is the exact opposite of my training: their all high functioning geneal ed students. I was so nervous about how this would work, and how well they’d like things. Today I ran the fish bowl protocol to disucss malleable intelligence…AND IT WENT SMASHINGLY! just smashingly! i was so glad! i’ve never run a protocol and i know they get tired of hearing me talk, because i get tired of hearing me talk…so, this was the way to go. i wish that i could have gotten it on tape. Andrea across the hall tried my suggestion of doing a chalk talk with her bunch of kids because they’re less talkative, and it worked smashingly for her. Goodness…i actually feel like an education specialist!
My academic success class is currentlyw atiing for 9th graders to be scheudled into it, so i’ve been working with my 3 10th graders, preparing them for when the 9th graders will arrive, as well as for how they’ll tackle this next year. it already feels so different…for them and me, so i had them identify an ally on campus. someone they can go to when things start to feel tough. i don’t care or mind if they don’t choose me as long as they have someone to turn to. they all like their humanitas courses (english 10 and world history) and those teachers. one student, who struggles with math, actually did pretty well on his algebra placement test, testing better then half the 9th graders. so, he took the class twice (once during the year, again during summer, failling both times), it still an amazing feat for him! I am so proud of him, and made sure that he knew. its awesome seeing how some of them have changed.
My class at Mount St. Mary’s is really great as well. I really like it. Right now we’re focusing on collaboration adn consultation, which is exactly my focus for this year! I like how these last class sessions have been on inter-intra personal communcation. I can’t believe i didn’t take this course in college! I remember it being offered to comm majors…i took public speaking instead (key: project, and know what you’re talking about). i know this class will improve the ways i work with my coworkers…hopefluly for hte better. I ordered my text books the other night, which has put a dent in my banking account. i’d rahter have put tha tmoney in savings. and since i’m in the last months of paying off my braces (if i don’t pay them off by october 10th, then they tack on a hefty financing fee that was waived for this past year) I haven’t put a dime into my savings account. Goodness. In october I’ll have paid off my braces, in november i’ll have paid off my car…and then i can save, save, save. I’m pretty sure I”ll end up increasing my 401k deduction because its easier to do that gradually then to do it all at once. And I need to pay off my library fine…eeek. I’m babbling. There is a lot going on. I asked denise to give me the nameof her therapist- who apparently helped her out A LOT. Real life is catching up with me, and my parents acting like adults is certainly making me happy, but also really causes me a great deal of panic. I want to be make sure that I am okay. It will be good..i know it will. I should go to bed…its 12:14am…do you know where your ed specialist is?