This Side of Third

…and second

March is Music in Our Schools Month


When I was a freshman in college, in order to blow off steam, my friends and I gathered in one of our rooms at 3:00 every Friday.  We danced on desks, chairs, and beds to Madonna’s “Where’s the Party” and Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” (No old jokes, please).  We blasted the music, danced out all the stress, and got ready for a Friday night of serious studying.  😉  So I had an idea.

Since it is Music in Our Schools Month, and it’s been a stressful year, and I have 4 hours and 16 minutes of dance music on my iTunes, I thought I’d open my room to everyone interested and have a dance party at 8:30 on Fridays this month.  Come in, hang out, get rid of some stress, and get prepped for the weekend.

I can’t provide the collegiate beverage; however, if you arrive with a solid drinking vessel that no one can see into, I have a DADT attitude about that. 🙂

Many teachers use music in their classrooms throughout the day for various reasons.  Being the “band geek” that I am, I love that!  It helps the kids concentrate and calm down, as well as exposes them to genres they may not hear anywhere else.

Don’t forget to promote music in your schools.  It really is a vital part of a child’s education.  Rock on!

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21 Days


Forgive me blog, for I have laxed. It’s been about three months since my last post. In that time we’ve had Thanksgiving, Christmas, a cancelled 5k that may have been a scam for money, a cancelled 5k due to bad weather, the New Year, 5 new pounds, and about 27 snow days.

As if that wasn’t enough, the last three weeks in my life have been In(bleeping)sane. I’m not one to bitch and complain about things. I was brought up in a family of “suck it up and move on.” However, we all have our limits and thresholds. Apparently my threshold is three weeks. It’s a bit of a wordy tale, but there’s a point. Trust me. Let’s begin…

It began on the 17th with a feel-good trip to the church to help with the food mission. We packed up tons of food for the needy and organized it all by type. I spent time with my sisters-in-law, and I was able to help bless others in need. I should’ve seen it coming. My principal says that no good deed goes unpunished.

Week one began with MLK, Jr. Day, which was by all accounts a great day. I stayed in bed all day with Stephen King. Sigh. If you like creepy, if you liked The Shining (the remake, not the original. The remake is so much creepier.), you need to read Doctor Sleep. Grab your Kindle and download it. I’ll wait for you.

At the end of the day, the Hubs ran out to do me a favor and ended up crashing my mother’s car. He wasn’t hurt, but the car was totaled. Awesome. They already aren’t the best of friends.

That night and the following day I lost it on him. I let words fly that should make me ashamed. I really didn’t think we could come back from that. It was on. To top it off, we were now snowed in for the next two days. No school, no plows (dead end, backwoods, last-on-the-list road).

We’d already had 5 missed school days this marking period. The final day of the MP was moved; however, that extra time was now eaten up by those two snow days. The last two days of the week were two-hour delays. Teachers had no choice but to cram tests down the kids’ throats to get grades done. In addition, I had 3 students that had IEPs due the following week. Before I could write them, I had to test the kids. When?! We never have school! So there I was, furiously testing kids with the Brigance for two days. Huge test. Great fun for all. And one student was absent the only two days we had school that week. Additionally, that Thursday night we told my mother about her car. She’s in CA on a trip. It went better than I anticipated, but I still felt like utter crap.

So that weekend I spent writing two IEPs and visiting my father-in-law in the hospital. He’d been there a week already, in and out of ICU, with no real sign of improvement. We also spent time with my mother-in-law, making sure she had everything she needed. She’s not the most…stable…person, so having her husband in the ICU for a week was quite difficult. For everyone.

Week two began with me finally getting my third student tested and her IEP written, and assessing my students on their goals for report cards. We were all exhausted at the end of the day. We had another two-hour delay that Wednesday, but I didn’t care. I had my grades done. And then my principal came to see me.

Apparently, two brothers went home the prior night and told their parents I had yelled and pulled another child’s hair and they were very upset by this. I’ll cop to the yelling all day long. I did it. But don’t you DARE lie about me touching a student. Are you *&@$$% kidding me?! WTH?! I was floored, and really hurt. My principal, being the pal that she is (see what I did there?), made some calls, talked to other kids, and told me not to worry. It was a misunderstanding, apparently. No apology from the kids, though. Thanks guys. Fortunately, a friend who’s out on maternity leave came for a visit that day, and I was able to hold her three-week old girl. I don’t care how crappy life is; hold a newborn. Your life will instantly improve.

The Hubs and I continued to visit my in-laws in their respective places (MIL had a raging head cold and couldn’t go to the hospital). I also had more conversations with my mother about the car, including the one where she told me the repairs would cost $13,000. Excuse me while I go throw up my guts. A call from her on Friday night let me know that they are totaling the car on Monday, and that I needed to go clean everything out. The body shop is closed on weekends. Great. Call for a sub and write plans. And go to the hospital and my MIL’s.

Guys, I thought for sure this was the end of my FIL. He was grey~sweatshirt grey. It’s one thing to watch a family member at possibly one of his last moments. That’s just a part of life, and I’m OK with it. It’s another thing to watch the other members of the family watch their father. That’s what bothered me the most.

And now we’re on week three (are you still with me?). Monday I went in early to set up my substitute’s plans and activities. The school had called a two-hour delay but I wouldn’t be available to go in later. Just as I set my pile in the center of the desk, the call came in that they cancelled school. I wish I was lying.

Hubs and I cleaned out the car Monday in the pouring rain. I was just happy it hadn’t turned to ice yet. Tuesday, after our trip to the hospital (I’m VERY happy to say he was a different man that night. A complete 180.). We stopped by the MIL. I stayed in the car (headache~can’t imagine why) and let Hubs take care of Mom. Remember my comment from earlier? About her stability? Well, because I didn’t come in to see her, she told Hubs that I never cared about her anyway. So twice in two weeks I had people saying things about me that weren’t true. Deep breath. Suck it up and move on.

Another Wednesday, another snow day. Next! Thursday I was observed by my AP, and my SpEd program facilitator. I don’t know about you, but getting observed is the LEAST favorite thing I do as a teacher. I can’t tell you how much I hate it.

I then spent six hours that night writing a submission for a part-time position I’d LOVE to get. It’s a great opportunity to facilitate an online community in special education. So excited! I sent that out first thing Friday morning. Whoop whoop!

Friday morning I was asked to stop in and see the AP after school. That’s usually not a good thing. It wasn’t. Apparently my observation didn’t go well and I now have homework over the weekend. I need to critique my lesson against a rubric, and then we’ll have our evaluation meeting after school on Monday. I now have three days to obsess over the state of my observation. I did my homework, and she’s right. I suck. Sigh.

That was the last straw. I couldn’t be strong and suck it up anymore. Three weeks of this was enough. I was trying to keep it together for the Hubs, but I was just so mentally and emotionally tired. I cried as soon as he said, “Are you ok?” I’d kept the house in order, and dealt with the car wreck, visited my in-laws, and dealt with job stress (I haven’t even mentioned the fact that even though we’ve had 8 snow days, the MD Powers-That-Be aren’t moving the deadline for AltMSA submission.). I couldn’t keep it together anymore.

Remember when I said there was a point? Here it is:

This is us. This is teaching. This is what we do. This is everything that doesn’t get mentioned, as we focus on our job of nurturing our students. We hide ourselves, our home lives, when we’re in front of the kids. We don’t want them to worry. We don’t want them to know anything is wrong. So many of our kids come from homes where things are CONSTANTLY wrong. It’s our responsibility to be there for them, and to give them a safe, stable environment. We don’t want our babies to be concerned about anything else.

These are the things in our lives that the parents don’t see. They send their kids to us assuming that we’ve got our act together, and because we care about the parents, as well as the kids, we act like the only concern in our lives are their kids. The parents trust us with their little one’s lives. We can’t show them we’re vulnerable.

These are the lives of teachers. For the benefit of our students, we suck it up and move on. We often put ourselves last, whether we like it or not. I wish more people understood this, and that’s why I put all this out there. I wanted to let other teachers know that at least one person understands. One person knows all the other stuff that goes on behind the scenes. This one person is behind you all the way, and wishing you a peaceful second half of the school year.






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Another Day, Another Injury


Wow.  What a morning.  Yes, I know it’s only 10:30, but it’s already been that kind of morning.

The classroom teacher, my GenEd co-teacher, is out today so I spent part of the morning getting her stuff set up.  No biggie.  I got her day together, I got my day together, I got my one particular student set up, I watered the hermit crabs.  All’s well.

The kids came in so I wanted to be sure they knew what was going on so I called out directions, reminded some students that they had work to catch up on, answered questions, and generally had a good opening.  One student had his hair buzzed down over the weekend and also arrived wearing a small tank top.  It was 34 degrees this morning.  I had him take off his Michelin Man coat, and went to the nurse to get him a better shirt.

While there, I was reminded that I was supposed to cover a classroom for Extended Team Planning.  Totally forgot.  I only needed to cover from 8:45-9:00.  It was now 8:59.  Ran there to cover for all of one minute, apologizing profusely to the girl that covered for me, then I went back and got the boy a shirt.  He was very happy.  🙂  His smile made my day.

My student, “Steve”, has not been feeling well for almost a week now.  He’s snotty, stuffy, coughing, etc.  He maxed out today and had had enough of this cold.  He was able to articulate, “My head, my nose.”  Then we really let me know how he felt.

His cereal went flying and Steve refused to clean it up.  And by refused, I mean hitting, scratching, attempted bites, scratching (repetition intended), and yelling.  Alrighty then.  Like any other SpEd teacher I spelled out what was going to happen next in kind, quiet words and visuals.  One finger up (no, not that finger) “First you’re going to help me clean up, ” second finger up, “then we’re going to go to the nurse.”  Nope.  It became necessary to call for backup who helped me help Steve clean up the mess, took him for a time-out, then to the nurse.  Love my back-up!

So there I was this morning, at the nurse again.  Thankfully it wasn’t a bite this time, only a few scratches.  Our nurse wiped me down with 2(HO) and I was good to go.  Until I decided to take another precaution and wipe it all down again with Germ-X.  For the love of God, don’t ever do that to yourself.  Holy crap that stung!

So my guy is gone for the day and probably tomorrow.  I miss him already but glad he’s home resting.  :\   On the plus side, the Hubs bought me a sports bra yesterday as a running gift without me being there.  It’s not sturdy enough for running, but kept the girls firmly locked down through the morning’s activities.  Awesome!


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Another Lesson in Perseverence…or Stupidity


It’s probably stupidity.  Honestly, it’s me.  Maybe I shouldn’t say stupid.  Let’s call it strong-willed, hard-headed, or even prideful.  Stubborn?  Whatever.  It’s me doing what I know I shouldn’t do, and not doing what I should do.  Le’ me ‘splain.

I am a runner in the loosest sense of the word.  My best 5k time is 37:00.  That’s roughly a 12-minute mile.  Certainly not a Boston qualifying time.  I typically don’t enjoy running; I force myself out the door.  I do it because it’s healthy, I give myself goals to work toward (races), and it’s helping me to lose weight.  I’d much rather be at home reading, knitting, cross-stitching, or writing.  Sadly, none of those will help me tighten up that which jiggles.

I went for my run last night, slogging through the first intervals on my 10k app (apparently, I’m not happy enough running only 3.1 miles).  I got through the first two 8-minute sections and headed down the last hill for my last 8 minutes.  I realized I was actually enjoying myself…for the first time, ever.  I was loving this!  I’d broken through that proverbial wall and was in the zone!

CRASH!  My left ankle rolled, sending my left foot inward, landing me on my right calf, hip, and hand.  OH MY GOD!  I rolled over on my back, threw my arms to the side, and lie there in the middle of the road.  My iPod took a hit on the way down, and that stupid stick I run with (my husband thinks I’m going to be attacked by bears when I run) was the only sound in nature as it continued to roll down the rest of the hill.

The first thing I did was to see if I ripped my capris-they’re my favorite.  Then I limped to the bottom of the hill, caught my breath and ran back up, cursing at myself the whole way. If Kerri Strug and Joy Johnson can carry on, so could I.  I will triumph!

I have a race next Saturday, a race that I think I have a chance to finish strong.  It’s a very small field, and I think it may have more walkers than runners.  I may have a chance to place better than 13th in my age group!  I’m so irritated!!!  I was finally enjoying myself!  I broke that wall and left it in the dust!  I have a race in 9 days!  WTH?!

The first thing I did when I got home I iced the ankle with a bag of pierogi for a few minutes and tried to stay off of it.  The Hubs gave me a bag of frozen bananas later to use, but that just annoyed me.  I was fine.  It’s all good!

So today I’m wearing a skirt and slippers.  Mr. Blackwell is rolling over in his grave.  The skirt is not to show off my battle wound.  I’d rather hide that.  The skirt is because I can’t wear pants.  The slippers are because I can’t wear a shoe on my left foot (my ankle is the size of a tennis ball).  I look lovely.

So here I am…swollen, in (some) pain, scratched up, and irritated.  I threatened the students with showing them my ugly leg if they don’t behave.  I hope my silent lesson in appearances and perseverance get through to the kids.  I may need to teach a specific lesson though.  I don’t have the most, um, aware students.












Writing is Fundamental


This Side of Third is sitting at a table with her peers, waiting to begin a training titled “Fundamentals in the Sentence Writing Strategy-Part 1 Sentence Composing” Zzzzzzzz. I can’t imagine how this is going to go. My degree is a B.S. in English-Writing. I think I may be a bit bored. Do I want to say bored when I know countless hours went into this training? I think I do. At least I’m with friends. Everything is good when you’re with friends who can appreciate your sarcastic humor. 🙂 I’ll let you know how this goes….. OK, here’s how it goes: I’ve already missed the first five minutes of the introduction because I tuned out.

Aaaaaannnnnd we’re back. Wow. What a training. I was both bored and interested. How does that happen? I appreciate the message the training team was sending, and I can tell they really like what was being presented. It’s just that I felt like I was back in grade school learning the basics of writing. I realize that not everyone is the same and we haven’t all had similar education; however, I do believe it was a bit (wait for it) fundamental.

A light bulb just glowed over my head. I think (duhn, duhn, duhn) I’m a writing snob. I’m not saying I’m a genius, or even Nobel prize worthy, but I am able to throw together the written word pretty successfully. What kept me so engaged was the opportunity to point out (politely and under my breath) the errors in the presentation. In case you don’t know me, or haven’t noticed, I can be a bit…snarky.

I know the training was not geared toward older students/adults, and that it was a FUNDAMENTAL thing, but the Grammar Nazi (Grammar Bitch?) in me reared its ugly head so many times. Passive voice, infinitives, misinformation about sentence structure… I have a friend who is a GN as well. I picked up my phone to text her at least 6 or 7 times to tell her what was going on. I refrained. She’ll find out for herself when she has her training. Why give up the spoilers?

I don’t know this annoyed me so much. Maybe because writing is something I care about. I love to write–I have since I was young. I don’t share myself, or my thoughts and feelings well. I’m not a talker. I’m not one to open up. Give me a pen though and I can write it down and get it all out. Even turn it into a book.

No matter what happened at the training today, I have something new to use with my kids. Hopefully it’s a tool that will make them better writers, or think about what they write instead of just getting words on the page. Time to bust out my Writer’s Workshop binder and add today’s training into the mix.

No matter what your next training, may it be fruitful and give you the tools you need for your kids. 🙂



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Wow.  Watching the NYC marathon today was very inspiring.  I am a fledgeling runner who has never run further than 3.15 miles.  My best time is 37:00 minutes.  My love for running is almost non-existent.  I do it because it’s healthy, helps me lose weight, and is something I can personally do to reach a goal (no matter how small or goofy; like getting to the next stop sign, or not throwing up at the end of a 5k.).

Today I watched Tatyana McFadden complete the first-ever marathon grand slam.  A grand slam means that she won the London, Boston, Chicago, and NYC marathons this year.  A-MA-ZING.

Tatyana is a MD girl who was born in Russia and left in an orphanage by her birth family.  Her American parents adopted her, brought her to the U.S. and immersed Tatyana in a world of sports.  I can only imagine the training that went into her daily schedule for her to accomplish this feat.  Not to mention the tenacity and self-confidence that’s required to pull this off.  I’m now training for a 10k and I can barely get myself out the door, let alone feel good about it.

This is the kind of perseverance we try to instill in our students on a daily basis.  We are always encouraging our kids to stick to it, keep going; applauding their efforts, no matter how small they may be.  We also push them to be better than they think they can be.  Even as a special educator, I am very hard on my kids and have high expectations.  I had one administrator say that I almost come across as being mean to the kids.  I’m not, and I’m lucky the students know me better.  They know I want their best, I’ll do what I can to get them there, whether it’s tough love, or show tunes.

Handicapping conditions are no reason to expect any less from people than their best.  Physical handicaps, intellectual handicaps, or both, never underestimate someone’s ability.  We don’t know what any of us are capable of until we try.  Be an encourager to all, regardless.  Case in point…

Tatyana was left in that orphanage most likely due to her Spina Bifida.  She is now a Paralympian athlete, completing marathons in a wheelchair.  She’s won 4 marathons in a wheelchair.  That’s 26.2 miles x 4.  I teared up when I watched her cross the line to capture the grand slam title. Then I got off the couch, got dressed, and went for a run.  I am nowhere near marathon level, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give my little run the best.

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NaNo Begins Today!


According to Wikipedia, “National Novel Writing Month, shortened as NaNoWriMo, is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30. Despite its name, it accepts entries from around the world. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing, no matter how bad the writing is, through the end of a first draft. The idea is that many people are scared to start writing because it won’t be any good, and if there’s a time to celebrate length, rather than quality, more people will write an entire first draft, which they can then proceed to edit if they wish.”

This is my fourth year doing NaNo (I won last year!), and I’ve never started Day 1 so late in the day.  It’s 1:30 and I’m just writing my first words.  I’m totally pantsing this year, as well as being a rebel, and it’s throwing me off my game.  I also hand write my NaNo attempts, and this year, I’m typing.  I miss my pens and my fancy notebooks.

I started this blog three months ago, and I’m woefully behind on the number of posts I’d planned.  The school year is kicking my butt and I can’t seem to keep up.  I have a blog planning calendar and planning layouts all complete, but I still am floundering.  So, that said, I’m trying to get this blog caught up.  That’s how I’m rebelling.  I really haven’t decided on a goal.  Probably should do that, considering it’s 14 hours into kickoff.  Do I want to do a number of posts a week? Month? Number of words per post?  I’ve never rebelled before so this is a bit unsettling.

I’ve even thought about hand writing all of my posts prior to writing them, just to keep some sort of sameness.  I’m not counting every letter, or word, or line.  It’s just weird, but I couldn’t imagine a November without doing NaNo.

So, I should set a goal.  There are four Tuesdays this month for my #POTW, and if I write a post every other day (OMG) that’s 15 days, bringing me to 19 posts.  As all special education teachers know, OCD and autism are contagious, and I can’t leave it at 19, so I’ll round up to 20.

Oh look!  This post is done!  Only 19 more to go.  🙂

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To Thine Own Self Be True


“Don’t post things that you think other people might be interested in.  Post things YOU’RE interested in.  True passion is infectious.” ~Ricky Gervais

I have a blogging calendar that I try to stick to for posts and the Pin of The Week.  So far, the POTW is the only thing that’s been calendar-faithfull.  I’ve fallen short on the posting thing.

It’s been a combination of time, topic, and me trying to be something I’m not:

*Time: Who the hell has time? I see all these awesome teacher websites and Pinterest boards and think, “Do these people sleep?! They must have laundry piled up all over the house.  I suck.”  But while I do think I’m lacking in the teacher-creative area, and maybe even guilty of not at least trying to have a Teachers Pay Teachers store, I can tell you that my laundry is caught up, I made homemade soup this weekend, taught myself how to knit fingerless gloves (OK, really not that difficult-basically just a cylinder), and got an early start to my progress reports.

*Topic: I found this one idea on, where else, Pinterest.  It’s a goal poster for teachers.  I scoped out other websites and lo and behold, other teacher websites had this as well.  OK then.  I’ll add it to mine.  Do you know how many weeks age that was?  JULY.  I keep putting it off, moving it around, ignoring it.  It’s all cutesy and stuff, and lets you know where you are in your teaching life, etc.  I know where I am. Procrastinating writing that goal poster on my blog.  But everyone else is doing it…

*Trying to be something I’m not: I’m just not cutesy.  Have you seen me?  Have you seen this blog?  I don’t do cutesy.  And there’s the problem.  Me trying to make this blog like all the others.  Do what everyone else is doing.  I’ve never fit in; why start now.  I need to remember that quote above, and stick to what I know best.  Me.

Given that this is Bully Prevention Month, we need to remind our kids of this very thing.  They need to know it’s OK to be them; to be who they are.  It’s OK to stand up for themselves and for each other.  It’s perfectly fine to be different from everyone else.

Sixth through eighth grades were the worst three years of my life.  I was picked on daily by both the boys and the girls.  I was called names, laughed at, etc.  I was different from them, and I don’t think they knew why.  Much of it was even mob mentality.  The insecure kids didn’t want to be lumped in with those being picked on, so they joined in the picking.

I adapted and coped.  I thought I was doing OK, until one day my mom told me she’d thought about taking me to Friends Hospital for a visit.  I don’t remember it being that bad, but maybe I was repressing.  Who knows, but what I do know is it got better.

We need to remind our kids of that, too.  It does get better.  Check out this site.  It’s geared toward LGBT teens, but the message is universal.  Or Google “it gets better” and you’ll have a plethora of websites letting kids know it’s OK.

Also, check this post out.  It’s Wil Wheaton (Star Trek TNG) telling a fan’s newborn daughter Why It’s Awesome to be a Nerd.  I wish I’d heard this when I was in middle school.

Always remember to be yourself, and to let your students see you be you.  Let them know it’s OK.  Tell them to be passionate about what they like and not to worry about others.  You should always be you.  Unless you can be Wonder Woman, or Tony Stark.  And if you are Tony Stark, call me.


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Teacher Stress…Causes? Solutions?


I saw a Tweet earlier today from @HuffPostEdu asking teachers about stress and what their districts do about it.  Only 5 people responded to the tweet, but the combined answer is a resounding “NOTHING.”  It seems as if nothing is being done at the distract level to help teachers relieve the stress of teaching.

What stress?  There’s no stress.  Just ask a non-teacher. Many think our job is a walk in the park.  If that’s so, I invite the non-teacher to Google stress support teachers (just as I did) and watch the plethora of hits that pop up.  Here are a few I found:

Teacher Support has a few good articles about the stress of the job and ways to handle it, including self-hypnosis and how to balance work and life.

Social Support and Work Stress Among Teachers is an article I found on  It discusses the causes and the impact of teacher stress.

My favorite is Teacher Stress by Ken Mrozek.  His piece includes a stress self-assessment, methods of stress management, common stressors teachers experience and even the 10 commandments for reducing stress.  I highly recommend reading this article.  I’m printing out a few copies tomorrow to leave in the staff lounge.

Speaking of my school, we have have a Spirit Committee that works to boost morale in out school.  It’s staff driven and includes activities like Secret Santa, holiday party, theme lunches, grade-level decorating the staff room in different themes.  We’re attempting to host some out-of-work activities such as bowling nights and a hayride. But like I said, it’s staff driven, not district driven.

What are the causes and solutions to your stress?  Does YOUR district do anything to help?  What would you like to see happen?  What do you do to make your day a little brighter?






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Pass the Paxil, Please


I am four weeks back into the school year and already looking forward to Christmas break.  I haven’t felt this overwhelmed by a school year in a very long time.  It’s disconcerting that after almost 20 years of teaching SpEd, I can get this rattled.  I’ve actually been working on this post for weeks.  In my head.  The stress and anxiety are always present and I’m able to keep the bulk of it at bay (mostly through denial and food) so I’ve been unsure how to address (confront?) these feelings in person.

For the last 7 years, I’ve had multiple grades.  When I was told I only had third grade this year, I was a bit concerned.  How does that work?  Only one grade?  Not running around like a chicken with her head cut off?  I wasn’t sure how to act! Well THAT didn’t last long.  Cue the stress and anxiety!

Also, for the last 7 years, I’ve shared a small classroom with one or more SpEd teachers and a few assistants.  It’s been something that’s worked quite well for us.  There were people to bounce ideas off of; an extra hand in all situations; someone to cover your groups when you had to pee.  Now, I would be housed in a classroom…a general education classroom.  I was to become (duhn, duhn, duhn) a co-teacher.  What the?  I’ve never been a co-teacher!  Holy crap!  If I wanted to be a general ed teacher, or in the general ed classroom, I would’ve gotten my general ed certificate.  I’m not dual certified for a reason! I don’t want to teach GenEd!  OK.  Breathe.  Administration knows how I feel and sent me to a workshop.  Workshops cure everything.  I don’t know why doctors don’t go to more workshops.  *To be honest, it was a good workshop and I’m glad I went.*

I have 11 students on my caseload.  That’s not really too bad, as many can be grouped by similar IEP goals.  These 11 kids are placed in 2 classrooms, not all four, so that I’m not running around to all the classrooms trying to see my kids.  So far, so good.  Not to mention that I’ve had most of these guys in PK, Kindergarten, and first grades, so I know them.  Then there’s Steve (name changed to protect the innocent). He’s new to our school, he is on the spectrum (so are three other students of mine-NBD as they’re my faves), he’s physically aggressive (I now have the bruises to prove it), and he gets 2.5 hours outside of the classroom per day.


Let’s break down the hours, shall we?  6.5 hours/day – 45 mins. for special – .5 hour for lunch – Steve’s 2.5 hours of pullout time – .5 hour intervention block – .25 mins. for recess = 2 hours for working with my other 10 IEP kids.  Oh yeah.  I feel really good about that.  And that’s if everything goes to plan.  If Steve has a meltdown…sorry other students.

Steve has adult support throughout the day due to his behaviors, among other things.  The assistant   I have, Joan (again, name changed), that works with Steve has never worked in the elementary school, only high school…two entirely different settings.  It’s like I have two students I have to manage.  Joan is an extremely nice person.  Would give you the skirt off her thighs if necessary.  She just doesn’t have a clue yet.  Not only do I have to set up Steve and two other students in the morning, I need to get her ready as well.  I realize it’s the beginning of the year and she’ll get the hang of it, but honestly…*sigh.

I know I’m probably rambling at this point.  I’m so tired.  All this is just the tip of the iceberg, as any teacher will tell you.  I haven’t even brought up the CCSS, the awful Student Learning Objectives (new teacher evaluation system), twice/month Extended Team Planning in the mornings, SpEd teachers covering other grade levels’ ETPs, once/month full team meetings on certain IEP kids, IEP and SST meetings…I need to just stop.  I’m annoying myself at this point.

I am at work an hour+ early everyday, stay late occasionally, and bring work home every night and weekend and I’m still not caught up.  All I do is run the halls like a crazy person, and feel guilty that I’m not doing enough for my teammates because everything else has me so busy.  I really feel like I’m letting them down.  I know people say that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  I don’t see it.  Unless it’s behind that train that’s barreling down on me.

I took a half of a personal day this Friday.  I’m headed to Ocean City, MD for their Sunfest.  I’m extremely fortunate that my parents live there!  By Friday 2:30-ish, I’ll be hitting the ocean air, the wine slushy kiosk, and my mom’s cooking, all in an attempt to catch a break.  Of course I’m bringing work with me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it while sitting in a sand chair. 🙂

To my fellow teachers who are overwhelmed, just remember to take a break.  Take care of yourself.  You are no good to anyone if you’re in Friends Hospital babbling about chevron patterns and DIBELS.  I hope you all have a school year you can look back on and say, “Yep.  I rocked it.”




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