Saturday, November 01, 2014
I got a job. Accidentally. Never applied. It came to me and I don't know if I deserve it. Okay, let's go back a few steps and explain.
June 2013: Little one and I move back up to the area where I grew up, 30 miles from where my mother still lives, 6 miles out of town - the one where I went to high school. While I was thrilled at moving home (it was the first time I've moved TOWARD family since I was 18), there were some definite drawbacks.
1) My husband still works 150 miles away from where we now live so he stays in our "old" home during the week, traveling to us most weekends. The budget cannot handle the cost of that round trip every weekend.
2) While I have been in education/teaching since 2003 and have my credential, I did all this training, networking, and getting known 150 miles from where I now live. Here, I'm starting over when it comes to getting known as a good choice as a teacher.
Last year I spent as a Special Ed aide in a tiny mountain school. I enjoyed it as I got to meet kids at their personal levels and, being such a small school, I actually ended up teaching writing to everyone 4th-8th and assisting everyone. I didn't have a classroom of my own. I didn't have a grade book. I had a single shelf on a corner shelving unit to store anything I didn't want to be hauling back and forth though. Unfortunately, this job actually set me back a little ways as "classified aid" is one of those positions where, once you work in that category, it's difficult to get seen as anything else. This year, I interviewed and interviewed and interviewed, to no avail. I ended up as a substitute teacher for the local districts, slowly working on getting known as a good, reliable choice with both teachers and administrators.
Then Wednesday I got what seemed a random phone call from my daughter's school who is also principal of my old high school. Due to a family emergency type of situation, they were suddenly and urgently in need of a 6th grade homeroom teacher and upper grades (6th-8th) Language Arts teacher. I have discovered in our discussions since this call that said principal mentioned the impending sudden need while talking with a former student at the high school who taught there for a while and is now principal of a local public middle school...and was immediately given the suggestion of my name. Another teacher at the high school - who was a sophomore there when I was a senior - piped in and reinforced the opinion that I was "a little crazy, but oh so perfect for the job."
Those who know me and teaching know that, having experienced teaching every grade and subject from Kindergarten through 8th grade, I feel most at home with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Also, while I can and will teach any subject, my strongest gifts lie in teaching Reading, Writing, Grammar, Spelling...etc.
Now, starting Monday, I have my own classroom, teaching middle school students, teaching them Language Arts, and I will have consistent oversight and support from the principal as I adjust to the new school community. I have been told I don't have to stick with the pieces of the curriculum I don't feel are right for the kids. The principal made it clear (with no solicitation from me) that, if it worked out, even if this position was not an option next year (they have a contractual set up with a credential program to have student teachers working in the school and I'm replacing one of them) there would be another opening coming open next year.
Something tells me there must be a catch. It feels too good to be true. A friend told me I need to look at it as a well deserved reward for paying my dues for a long time and not look the gift horse in the mouth. I'm trying. I swear. For now, I'm going to focus on enjoying it and getting to know the kids.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Yes. I know squirmily is not a word.
Those who know me know I'm a teacher. Am I employed as one right now? No. Does that change the fact that I AM one? No. For the past school year, I was employed as a Special Ed aid in a tiny school in the Lassen foothills...because that's the job that was open and available.
Because of the levels of resources available in the boonies with under 20 students in the whole K-8 school and with me having all of one semester of general instruction in special ed under my belt, I did a lot of trial and error built on my personal instincts as a person and as a teacher.
Patricia Polacco, author of Thunder Cake, My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother, Chicken Sunday and dozens of other amazing children's books shared this link on Facebook today:
What a thought. Kids fidget because sitting still for hours on end is not a normal human condition, never mind a normal developing-child condition? Wow. Who'da thunk it?
Seriously though, as a special ed aid with one of my students needing occupational therapy but not having it in her IEP, I can tell you this blog is dead on. Does this mean there's no such thing as ADD or ADHD? Heck no! Does it mean there are a whole lot of kids who don't have these conditions who not only learn better if allowed/encouraged to involve their whole bodies in the process but really have fewer activities in their lives that keep them able to do so? You bet your sweet bippy!
Is this all the parents fault for not getting them active in a variety of ways? Not ALL. I've had families where each parent worked two jobs to put food on the table, there were no parks nearby and there simply wasn't enough available time and space to give them the opportunity to move! For the record, these were often the parents who would hang out after school with their kids so the kids would have some more active play time on the only playground/grassy area they had in their lives.
I don't do the blame game, folks. I've been raised to do the what-can-I-do-to-affect-it game. As a parent, this means my kids get to parks as often as possible, have some guided play but a lot of free time, and are encouraged to try things like rolling down a hill, climbing a tree etc. while they're there.
As a teacher it means my class learns to record/analyze data like how long each student can stand on a balance board each day and how fast they can completely cross a balance beam. It means they learn vocabulary by wandering the room to music with a list of words in hand, looking for posted definitions. It means my youngest students have to apply physical labels to the room, sticking my laminated "door," "window," "library," cards to the appropriate places in the room, reinforce counting with hopscotch, dance the macarena to memorize the months of the year and many other things. It means my classroom library reading space has both a beanbag chair and a therapy ball chair. It means sometimes I read a story to sitting children, and sometimes I have them move puppets to act out the story.
Little bits count. Life keeps moving all around us. We'll learn more from it if we learn to move with it.
Just my two cents of the day.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
I keep coming on here and saying I'm going to blog every X (week, month..etc) and modifying this promise when it doesn't happen. Let's get real here. When I originally started using the blogging side of Spark, it was an experimental thing with no promises made as to its regularity. The benefits of the act of blogging itself were what lead to it EVENTUALLY becoming a regular and consistent thing. Why I've been trying to force things to occur that have only happened before when allowed to do things on their own schedule I don't know but I've had enough of it.
Yes, I've gained weight back. Yes, I'm unhappy with my current health level. I'm not happy with the numbers on the scale but not horribly bothered by them. What bothers me is the general well-being side of things. I'm in the middle of spring cleaning on an acre and a half that has had 30 years to accumulate stuff and wear things out. Hubby and I loaded, hauled, and unloaded concrete at the dump the other day (they measured it at 1780 lbs. total). I felt like garbage the next day. Falling asleep on my feet all day! Yesterday I dug a hole in good old fashioned California clay with my pick and shovel, raked 9 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and mulch, planted a bush in the whole I dug and pruned a bunch of shrubs. Hubby hurt his hand in the middle so all pick and shovel work is mine for a while. Dug up half a flower bed. Had to go to the chiropractor to get my lower back in order and, again, wiped out today.
I have to go back to work on Monday and, sad to say, it'll be a physical relief. I used to be able to do all this and more and now I feel like I've been run over by a truck. If I hear one more person say, "It's hard to come to terms with our bodies quitting sooner and taking longer to recover as we get older.." I'm going to throw something. It's not my age people. I'm only 39 and my mother, who is turning 64 on Monday, can kick my butt at this stuff and recover in 1/4 the time. It's me. It's me not taking care of me.
I'm going to focus on the positive feeling of how much we got accomplished while my husband was on Spring Break with us. I'm going to look at the pictures and videos from taking hubby and little one to their first rodeo, taking little one mini-golfing for her first time only to get "help" from the neighboring pet store's calico cat who felt we shouldn't have to play with a dead cicada in hole 14 and tried to clear it out for us (I laughed so hard I was tearing up). I'm going to list out everything we've gotten done and remind myself how great that is. I'm going to do at least one thing on my never-ending "take care of the place" list a day, even if some days it's a little thing. Not every day has to cross out a "pick and shovel" entry on the list. Long day? I can pot that plant. I can haul half a dozen bricks to where they're being staged for future work. A baby step is still a step.
I hope this is not too rambly for those reading. This blogging thing has always been just kind of a place to sort out the rambles that are always running in my brain.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
As usual, my depressions come and go. I've had a week off work and, for most of it, I've had the freedom to workout and done so. Yesterday and today I've been sick. Stupid respiratory virus (thank you older child o' mine). Anyway, I'm sticking with strength training today as my chest is full of gunk. If it were just my head... Oh well.
At least hubby finally put my Coach Nicole DVD onto the server so I can watch it through the Apple TV. My point of pride for the week was when it WASN'T on the server, I couldn't get to YouTube and I couldn't make the DVD player work. Rather than use the excuse, I hooked up my laptop to power right in front of the TV (the best place as far as having space to exercise while still being able to see the video) and streamed a couple Spark Coach Nicole videos through there.
I am trying to figure out how to get my work life balanced (Special Ed aid being expected by the head teacher to pick up said teacher's slack in the classroom but said teacher being chided by Curriculum Director for using me this way but me having to work with both of them...and not getting full IEPs on my students in a timely manner...etc. etc. etc...) and make some sort of personal life that isn't completely wrapped around my 9 year old. I don't have a social network here. I don't have a network of friends nor do I have activities I regularly do here. None of the easy go-tos of the city - zoos, museums, etc. Don't get me wrong, we have a couple of museums, good ones. But I can only go so often and after you've seen them a few times...
I need to build myself a life though. I want to get back into running but I'm not sure how to get regular childcare going (personality-wise, the 9 year old is not leave-home-alone safe yet) so I can. I'm in crappy shape right now but the kid still can't go as long as I can eight now, partly because she has no desire to. I do need to get her bicycle fixed up since you really can't keep up in a neighborhood where neighbors can be 1/4 mile away without wheels... I wish I knew what I was doing when it came to fixing it up though.
I'm trying to schedule more times to go roller skating with Mom and the kid but the apathy that comes with the regular depressions is not helping there. I would like to get back into singing again but it's not the same singing alone and there aren't local choirs that sing the kind of music I like to sing that meet and perform on days/times I'm free. I know. Excuses excuses. Hey, I never said I was doing well at the whole trying bit. I have a lot of work left to do both on me and on my life. If I were doing well at it, there wouldn't be so many, "I need to" and "I'm trying to"s in my blogs.
I know I am motivated by fun workout outfits and I have been finding some fun running shirts online at onemoremile.net/ that I want. I like sleeveless ones best and I've been having a lot of fun looking at the slogans. Here are a couple of my current favorites:
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