Life is hectic. I rarely screen phone calls, rarely forget to call people back... but on Friday I missed a call... from my best friend from high school, Todd. We have grown apart like we swore we never would... but we still talk once in a while. When my mom died, he came... so Friday I missed his call... and he didn't leave a voicemail... in my head I told myself I would call him when life settled down and I had more time to talk with him... Saturday it slipped my mind as I was in my classroom finishing up things for the school year and then I worked on the turnpike... Sunday I returned to my classroom and didn't think about it until later in the day on Sunday when another friend emailed me and asked if I had heard that Todd's mother in law had died... WHAT?!! Oh my god... I felt so bad... soooo bad... what an ass I am to not have stopped the little, minute things in my life to call him back. I called him last night, and his son answered the phone... asking who I was and then proceeded to tell me his Gramie died and that his mom and dad were at a meeting... out of the mouths of babes... so I didn't get a chance to talk with Todd... I called this afternoon and after briefly talking with Todd he asked if I wanted to talk to his wife... and I did... I apologized for her loss, told her how sad I was for her and her sister and her dad... and I did not do it gracefully... I cried and she cried... and I told her that I was sorry that I was upset, that she should not have had to have gone through it... Her mom had battled Crohn's disease for a long time...and in November developed an infection that led to leukemia... had been in and out of the hospital with treatments and then decided enough was enough and wanted to go home. About 48 hours after being home, she died. She died with her husband and daughters and sons in laws with her... I hate, HATE that Todd's wife has been inducted into the club... HATE it... and I hate that I am not at a point where I can offer any kind of comfort to someone about losing their mother... it brought a lot back to the forefront of my mind... remembering losing mom, that process... and leaving my dad... yuck... I should have done better...
School is ending next week... well actually I should clarify that... the school in which I work starts summer vacation next week... for me school will continue with the completion of my summer graduate class on the horizon and will continue with my internship work... but, I feel like I will get to have a break soon... and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This year has been a difficult one for me professionally. My job involves difficult kids, usually more difficult parents, and paperwork...lots of paperwork. I HATE the paperwork... and to add to it I get frustrated at times with the way in which two of my supervisors operate and being my passive aggressive self, use a passive aggressive strategy to try to rebel against them. I delay my paperwork, which really only end up hurting me because it reflects poorly on my professionalism, but I do it anyway... I did not become a teacher to do paperwork... I became a teacher to help kids. And, with the demands of paperwork I have a choice, bring the paperwork home every day and stay up late doing it or give up time in my classroom teaching kids while having someone else cover my classroom. I have a really hard time giving up time with my students to do paperwork.. a really hard time. As a special ed teacher I have heard about people in my profession getting burned out... and now, more than ever I understand that.
Part of my passive aggressiveness this year also stems from being in meetings and feeling that the administrators at the meeting are not acting in the best interest of the kids... for whatever reasons, political or financial... and it really upsets me. Some of my colleagues have been put in awkward situations by being told or strongly encouraged to avoid saying things about students... because it may make the district look bad. Yet... it is putting people in situations, asking them to be unethical. Another aspect that has been growing is that we have these outside consultants, professionals if you will, who are hired to work in the district to help solve all of our problems... or, I say cynically, to keep kids who need alternate placements in our school to save our district money. These 'consultants' come to meetings and offer their professional opinions about the students and how to change/improve their behavior. The problem, and it's a HUGE problem, is that these consultants, in most cases, have NEVER even met the kid, NEVER even seen the kid... and based on paper in a file, they offer their expert opinions... which is bad enough, but the way in which they deliver their expertise is dismissive of all the work that the teachers do with the kid. These people do NOT work with these kids on a daily basis... their suggestions are things that have been tried and haven't worked, or haven't been tried because, knowing the kid it won't work... It is so frustrating... sooooo frustrating.
I have always prided myself in my ability to work with kids and to advocate for kids... and my instincts about kids are usually right on target. And to be treated like I have made no effort with kids, that my colleagues who work as hard as I do, have not done enough for kids... is such a slap in the face... when we know, KNOW, that the kids for whom these consultants are called upon need MORE than what the school can provide.... these kids are in need of mental health treatment... I have 2 kids in mind with whom I am directly involved and two other kids with whom my colleagues work. The feeling of helplessness is not something I handle well. ... interesting.... just realized that maybe my feelings about that stem from that... helplessness... that word...that feeling... makes me remember how I felt with my mom... and it makes me so angry. So angry.
I always told myself that when I got to a point where I felt like I wasn't able to help kids in the way I thought I should/could... I would leave...without being told to do so... and I think I am getting close to that point. Not leaving education... but...the classroom... Mt. St. Paperwork...
The good part about getting to this point is that I am more committed than ever, to move on, beyond my classroom, to take on a leadership role in education as a building administrator... where the optimist in me says I can make a difference, for kids and for teachers which in turn helps more kids...
ahhh... so.. I have to make it through next week... have to finish my summer class... and then focus on my future goals... and do it.... If I was allowed to have a margarita right now... you can bet your ass I would be raising my glass and saying CHEERS to that!
On another note... I went for a short bike ride tonight with Suellen... about 3 miles... and felt pretty good. We did some small hills and I do think I am in better shape than I was a year ago. Yahoo!
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Posted by TallGal at 7:46 PM
Yesterday I had my blood drawn....again. I am not enjoying this routine of having my blood tested and taking blood thinners each day. I feel like I had the clot I gave myself shots (from which I still have a few bruises I may add) and have been on this medication for over a month... and I don't want to have to do it anymore. I don't want to take medicine every day... it's frustrating. So yesterday when I was having my blood drawn I mentioned to the man drawing it that even though the people at that lab are nice, I was hoping to not have to see them for too much longer... My doctor had told me that I would be on the blood thinners for 3-6 months... and so far it has been about a month... so I said I hoped I only had two months left of the medication. He smiled... I am sure he hears that kind of stuff all the time. Then he said... "the other day a woman was in here having her blood drawn, she comes in almost daily, and she was complaining to her husband about the process and all of her bruises... and he looked at her and just said... well, since it's keeping you alive...I'd say it's worth it..." Perspective. There it was. I'm not sure what condition this woman has, but I got the point... While I feel good right now... I am still at risk... and I NEED to be on this medication to make sure I AM healthy... and if I have to get my blood drawn here and there to do what I have to do... then I need to suck it up and get over it...
Posted by TallGal at 6:08 PM
I got to work a little late today because I had to have my blood checked... once I got to work I was given some bad news. A former colleague, 37-38 years old, passed away yesterday. She began teaching in my school 4-5 years ago, spent 2 years in my building and more recently has been at the high school. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, had treatments and was given a clean bill of health... until a little over a month ago. Not only was the cancer back, it had spread...she was placed in hospice care a couple of weeks ago and lost her battle yesterday. She leaves behind a husband and two young sons. It breaks my heart.
Part of me feels like I should be able to offer some wisdom to her husband, some advice to make it more bearable for him and his kids, but I don't even know what to say. I know losing a parent and losing a spouse are two different things...but watching someone die from cancer... there is commonality there, within the heartbreak. I bought a sympathy card this afternoon... and it's sitting her beside me without any of my writing in it. Losing someone is awful... I remember how hard it was to receive and read all of the cards... but it was also amazing to see how many people thought of our family and sent cards...
Posted by TallGal at 5:20 PM