Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I am sure there isn't anyone out there still checking my blog, but just on the off chance that my mom hasn't quite given up on me...here's a new post!

What's been going on since September 3, you ask? Oh, not much. I've taught two full quarters of writing to special ed students, given tests, grades, discipline, praise, and hired the occasional sub. I got a couple of birthday presents, several Christmas presents and the occasional complaint that class was too hard, too easy, too boring, too stupid, too cold...you name it, and it's too much of it. I took (and passed with A's) four classes in my graduate program, which really should be against the law. On Monday and Tuesday nights, I went to work at 6:45am, only to return home by 10:30pm most days. Then, since I didn't have time to do any work after school, I was up at 4am to work and then back to actual work at 6:45am again. Can I tell you how happy I am to have all of that over with? Well, until January 18 when I have three more grad school classes to manage. Thankfully, one of them is online, so I will only have to go to UNLV from 4-10 on Monday nights.

As a teacher, one thing I have discovered is that most of the assignments I give are too boring. Unless they are too hard. :) I've discovered that most kids don't do homework. Even if it's assigned. Even if I make them write it down in their planners, even if it's only writing three sentences on a piece of paper and bringing it in the next day. Even if it is for a grade, for heaven's sake. So, I don't really assign homework much. I have gotten some grief for that from parents, but interestingly enough, those parents who complain are parenting the very kids I can count on NOT to bring the homework in. I think that's weird. I have attended more PTC's than I can count (teacher-speak for parent-teacher conference), but rarely for the ones who actually NEED a PTC.

I have written six IEP's and subsequently held six annual IEP meetings. With varying success, but none were disasters. I was very nervous for the first two or three, but have felt more in the swing of it with the last few. I have learned how to write present levels, accommodations and goals...and I've learned what happens if you don't plan ahead for a month in which you have three IEP's due back to back as well as three long weekends.

I have learned which students I love. And how to love the students I really don't love. I have learned that sometimes the student you love the least needs love the most. And I've learned that that is hard. I've learned to ask forgiveness instead of permission (most of the time), and I've learned to lean on my colleagues when I need to. I've learned that I married very well, and that my son can make it through the day (or several) without seeing me and still survive. I have also learned that a healthy dose of humor in a difficult situation can be life-saving.

I don't know if my students have learned a thing from me, frankly, but I have to be given credit for effort. It's a strange thing to be responsible for teaching students with special needs...but not given the information or tools to do it. It's a strange job where you have several AHA moments every day as you discover what you've been doing wrong. It's a strange job when you are given a class that no one has ever taught before in our school, where there is no curriculum, books or guidelines at all, and told to "have fun and be creative." Um, HUH? Can I tell you how much I hate my study skills class? HATE IT! Picture a class bulging at the seams with every single behavior-problem in the school and picture how hard it is to teach when there is no curriculum and I just have to make it up. Oh, yeah, and it's last period too. Give me English any day of the week!

So, that's what has been going on. I have been working myself to death, crying a fair amount, making wonderful bonds with an amazing group of friends, writing papers, doing projects, tutoring, taking tests, writing lesson plans, IEP's, modifying tests and homework, attending PTC's, grading, entering grades, creating tests and writing assignments, all while attempting to take 12 hours of graduate-level work and oh, yes, be a wife and mom.

I still have a 4.0, by the way... :)


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Susie. You're doing important work.

Tom Spencer

Shelly... said...

I'm still reading! I have missed seeing you this past year but know you have been very busy and boy have you!! Great job on the 4.0 too! Enjoy this time off with your family and Merry Christmas!!