Sunday, May 29, 2016

Closing up for the year....

Hey Ya'll!

WOW! Can this year really be over? And end this way? For the first time ever I am unsure of my teaching future. There are so many things swimming in my head and I'm not sure I want to spill them out of my head but I also don't know what to think.

Let's roll back time. This has been absolutely the hardest year in my teaching history. I had some of the hardest kids and the class dynamic was HORRIBLE. I taught "friendship" lessons right up to this last week! I've never had to do that. I've never deal with the attitudes that I did this year. Talk about an "oil and water" class. You couldn't break them up enough to keep the peace. EVERY time I had a sub my class went crazy and the sub would leave me a note saying how horrible the whole class was. My favorite note was the one where the sub said that she would pray for me because of how horrible my class was. And that she would NEVER sub at our school again. Oh yea! My kids ran off a sub. I can't begin to say how many times I cried and cried over things that I knew I would never get to change. Here is the break down of this year.... 20 kids (I started with 21). 7 of them were girls... of the girls 3 had MAJOR attitude issues. I'm talking teenage mean girls kind of attitude. One little one started the school year with answering a question with "bitch please". Yep that was how my year started with the girls. Then there were the boys. 14 boys who were ALL boy! Of those 14 boys, 4 of them received behavior services for aggressive behavior (one of them came from a behavior based pre k). Then you have those with ADHD. Or the ones who's parents refuse to see that their child needs help... stomping your foot and throwing things is NOT a normal reaction 173 days into the school year. But heaven knows I couldn't get anyone to hear me.

I won't go into the attendance issues or the fact that this was the LOWEST group of children I have ever worked with. The year ended with one child still not being able to identify the letters in their name. They learned to write that name around February, but mom wouldn't let us test. I promise you this child has a processing issue but I can't get mom to do anything. UGH! We fought in our building being a distressed school and were questioned on EVERY thing we did. We were forced to write ridiculously long lesson plans... which took away from me being able to research or look for help for my struggling kids. And yet every chance we had teachers were scolded for not moving kids farther. I mean really! UGH!

And then we were emailed that there would be staffing changes next year. There is a really good chance that I won't know what I'm teaching until late summer. And that I might not be in K. I have not been quiet that I want to move to pre k, but I doubt that will happen unless I look for work elsewhere. So how do I feel about changing grades? Not sure. Some moments I think that I would be happy moving but then I start to panic. I love working with the little ones, but is it time for a change? UGH! I'm really not sure about all of this. And worse is that I am such a planner and not being able to do that has me worried. We are also on the states distressed school list and get lots of suggestions and people watching what we do. I fear that if I move grades in a critical year with the state watching every move we make that I won't have the ability to make mistakes. Like I have no room to breath or be creative. This is where the fear comes from. 

Honestly, there has been a lot this year that has forced me to a place where I am almost unsure of who I am. I remember once hearing that so and so had a mid life crisis and I thought... really? a mid life crisis. They must not have been very sure of themselves. And here I sit wondering if I am having the same thing happen. No I'm not out buying sports cars or chatting down men. But I do wonder who I am or better who I want to be this second half of my life. And no a potential grade change isn't the only thing that has me thinking this. I started loosing weight in February and am 32 pounds lighter than I was on Valentines day. That is enough of a loose that I don't recognize myself in mirrors. I mean if I'm standing there looking, yes I know it's me. But say I'm at a public bathroom and catch a sideway look at the mirror. I have to take a second look to see who it is. That my friends is a little unnerving. And I've had to downsize ALL my clothes! So I'm trying to limp to the end of the school year on 1 pair of work pants, that are really too big and that I have to wash nightly. I'm wearing a size that I haven't worn since before my kids were born, and I am able to walk in to Old Navy and buy clothes. All of this is SO different, not bad, just different and it's enough to make me off kilter.

Don't get me wrong, I love this. I love what is happening to my body and lifestyle. But I am not one who does change well. And I feel like there has been almost too much change thrown at me at one time. You also have to know that NOT a single coping mechanism that I used to use can I use now. That is dr pepper and surgery sweets are out, so I'm struggling to find balance without them. I don't write all of this for anyone to feel sorry for me. I need a place to process and this is it.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Changes....

UGH! Change is not my friend. My friend Alice LOVES change... lives for it. Me not so much. So teaching in a district where everything is in upheaval this time of year is a nightmare for me! And then the news happens... district cuts classrooms. I am so thankful that we have teachers retiring out of our building but when your heart is in early childhood education (think Pre K and K) and you are told that unless we get a section back that you will be moving to upper el you panic. Then cry. Then talk to everyone you know who teaches that grade. Then cry some more. And then you reach were I am.

And where is that? Well it's somewhere between the rock called "you can't change a damn thing" and "get over it". So what do you do when you find yourself in that valley? Once the tears dry up you start moving forward desperately looking for all the good things for moving to that grade level. You pick up the pieces that you left all over the floor and you try to be more like Alice.

So as of now, I am most likely not teaching K next year. I'll be changing grades. No I don't want to really, but there are possibilities. LOTS and lots of possibilities. I was once told that life is like a chess game. Each day you get to re position your pieces according to what changes have happened. I guess when it is all said and done, that is where I am. I am looking at pieces and trying to decide my next move.

If you are in my same boat, I feel ya. It's hard, it stinks, and it can feel like the world is working against you. But at the end of the day I am still as awesome as I was yesterday. That doesn't change. And if you are facing a grade change, one you didn't ask for, let me say this. I know we can do this. I know we can teach ANY thing! I believe in you... even if right now you don't feel it.