Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I am going to copy this blog in case something else weird happens with my computer and my blog today. I wrote one last evening and I wrote one on Monday evening and one disappeared entirely and the other one partially disappeared and frustrated me enough to give up. I don't know if it is because I am running on empty this week or what. After such a nice day on Sunday, I can't believe that I am in this place already. I am wondering if I am in box #ell or someplace similar. They have given me this "magic number" of boxes and it isn't going to work. I don't know what valuable items I am going to have to store--professional books or books for my students. I use them all regularly. I have already sifted out all of my learning activities which is ludicrous enough--and I know I won't be able to take anything like desk supplies or paper or notebooks or the like. What kind of teaching am I going to be doing next year. I have already been told that I am expected to travel from one room to another, so I doubt that I'll be giving up my wheelchair. The new building is supposed to be very large and at my best, I am slow--and by the end of the day, I won't even be at my best.
I am not myself today and I am not sure why. I do think it is the boxes and packing that has added stress, but little things have annoyed me today in a rather strange and negative way. Maybe you can give me some insight into this as I describe where I've been since Sunday. To start with, my packing helper hasn't been with me this week--she is a substitute for custodians, so I'm hoping that she has been working. On Monday, the aide who works with me in the morning was absent and the aide who works with me in the afternoon was absent--and yesterday, they pulled her to sub in a classroom. I have been working one to two hours late every night to work on boxes as well.
Yesterday, I took my lunch time to go over to the pain clinic to get my tens unit. The new ones are really nice compared to the ones I remember--they are also pretty pricey with the insurance companies getting an invoice of $797,00 (if I choose to keep it) My primary insurance company might deny it, but apparently my husband's insurance has the company as a PPO--of course they won't pay so much. It does seem helpful, but I don't know if I should be using them continuously. I had to remove the pad to go to the pool last night and when I got home, I didn't think I should wear it to sleep in. I don't know what is best. I probably should read the books that came with it, duh--what a reading teacher.
Monday night was another nightmare at the pool with this bunch of junior high aged boys whose parents dropped them off to do whatever they wanted--and what they wanted was to argue and scream and yell and be obnixious for hours. They take every single noodle that they have and they wrap them all around themselves and then leave them all over the pool. I use two for my exercises and none are available when I need them--and then, I end up picking them up when I try to do my walking. Tuesday night was much nicer, there were fewer people and there weren't any hyper fathers or adolescent hyper males there either. I realized that I relax when I am exercising at the pool--it was kind of an "aha"moment for me and it came up when I was talking with my youngest son, who always goes to the fitness center with me. He noticed that whenever I have been in the pool for a while, I seem to be smiling. I told him it is because my body feels better and that I can walk and move easier--which is true, but I think there is something soothing about the water that helps me relax too--and the time I spend in the sauna afterwards helps as well.
I repacked all ten of the boxes I packed last week at my afternoon school since yesterday. I was trying to keep them lightweight and organized, but that won't work with the restrictions I have been given. I took each box, emptied it, taped the bottom, then took the books out of the baskets that I use to organize them with, and filled them full to the top with books. that really makes them heavy--if you have ever lifted a box of books, they can weight a lot. I also have to find a way to store them in my room because we aren't allowed to place them in a hallway, My room is quite small, so this has added an unpleasant element to my teaching in this room. I have some pretty needy students academically and behaviorally and this is a big distraction for them. I have all of them except for one of my 5th graders and one of my fourth graders cooperating after their time with the sub--which is progress. I ended up threatening one of them with a referral today and I embarrassed the other one when I went down to walk the kid to my room since I haven't been able to get one to behave and the other to come to class. Hopefully, both issues will be over and tomorrow will work out quite well.
I have made some progress with my son this week and even have him socializing with the others a bit. I am working hard to get him to be more social and more active since I took t he internet away and since he lost his job. He rides his bike to the library everyday--which is no short distance--so he can use the internet there for the allowed half an hour. Things are coming along with some of the chores needing attention here in the house and yard as well--it seems that I have to go get things started and create a mess to get the others involved, but if that is what they want, I can do that, lol.
That brings me to sleep. I seem to sleep about an hour and a half to two hours before I wake up for a while and then I repeat this. I don't seem to get home fromt he pool until ten, so it is really hard to get some kind of a night's sleep in. My legs are aching again--doggone fibro. I am taking my meds at 2, 6 and 10 rather than every 8 hours because itmakes me too sleepy at work. I only take my breakthrough pain meds after 4 because of work as well. It is really hard to juggle what I need with my job--pain meds and sleep are important, but being alert at school is mandatory. I'm counting on this tens unit to take up the slack, if not more.
That's enough of my rambling for now. If any of you would like to travel to western Illinois to help me with the big box extravaganza, you are most welcome. I am maybe three-fifths of the way done and could use some kind of help--I need to figure out how to magically reduce the size of everything so that I don;t go over my box quota--arghhhhhh. Take care everybody. (I think this blog is going to make it, lol.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Hi everyone and Happy Mother's Day to all of you,
I have had a very active weekend and everything going on has kept me from going to school, unless I do it in a little bit. (I'm not expecting it with the guys out planting all of my little plants in the garden. They are mostly too big to call seedlings anymore.) I think that I visualize the garden when it is producing tomatoes and other foods while the guys are seeing it as something else to do. Oh well, they will enjoy the "fruits of their labor" and once the big work is done, I can help with the weeding and watering.
I went with four of the kids tot eh zoo yesterday. Whew, what a lot of walking we did--and it was really blustery as well. We still had fun and saw everything. If I can put a few photos in here, I'm going to share them. I have tried every way that I can think of to add some of these photos, but I just can't remember how I did it before. Oh well...In honor of mother's day, I wanted to share a wallaby with a baby in it's pouch and a wonderful photo of our giraffe with her new baby. I watched them for along time, and I got to see the mama giraffe clean her baby and then the baby nursed for a while as mama got it in a comfortable position. I bet some of you have big zoos nearby, but our little zoo has a lot to offer and they have made it better each year. There were some amorous animals there yesterday as well. It was interesting to watch the other people as they figured out what the tortoise was doing, lol. The male lion was pretty funny too--he let out this strange sounding roar followed by a swerties of short sounds (very loud) and went to one of the lionesses and forced her to move. Then he lay in her place and rolled onto his back. She didn't seem to care much, and she got up and moved away--but he followed her and repeated the same behavior. You could hear him all over the zoo.
The pool was ridiculous Friday night--there were three fathers simply causing problems. One of them arranged a game of team tag with all of the older kids and he had them yelling and over in the lap lanes and running people down. Another guy came in with about a half dozen little kids and proceeded to start throwing them halfway across the pool and chase them and trip them and had them all shrieking and screaming. A third father was lifting his daughter up and throwing her in as she "dove" except part of the time, his actions caused her to "bellyflop" and then to wail for what seemed like forever. If we could have gotten thos 3 men out of the pool, it might have been sane. It took me a long time to get my exercise in because I was dodging all of this the entire time. I am glad that it was quiet yesterday and even quieter today. We only have about 2 or 3 Sundays left before they close on Sundays for the summer season. I will have to find an alternative exercise or place on Sundays then.
I had children's church today. I think I have forgotten how to judge the amount of time an activity will take. I made stained glass crosses with the kids--We cut crosses our of card stock and then cut the insides out. Then we cut up colored cellophane into small pieces to fill in the cross--and we taped them in. Then we put another cross frame on the back and glued it down to hold everything together. We weren't finished when church was over, so parents had to wait for us. They were gracious about it and the kids were proud of their work. It was "Pin a Sister" Sunday in our church today and we have 4 members who are breast cancer survivors who pinned a pink ribbon on each of the ladies--it is pretty touching.
I have been very happy with today. I received a few nice gifts, but most of my kids have been doing things to help me out. My oldest daughter is doing my laundry right now. My youngest daughter cleaned up the kitchen. All of the guys helped with the garden and two of them also cleaned up the dining room. I cleaned out the trunk of the car and several of them came out and took over because, as they told me--"you shouldn't be doing this kind of work." It's too bad there aren't more Mother's Days throughout the year--I could get used to all of this!!
Gentle hugs everyone,
Friday, May 07, 2010
The packing of our classroom is moving along slowly but surely. It was a day of gaining information with a promise of support. I found out that my new classroom in the new building is beautiful with an entire wall of cabinets and drawers and that it is bigger than the room I have right now. My friend from downtown administration seems to be advocating for me at every turn, in spite of some people who would make me a bit miserable. The gal who is helping me to pack is working very hard--she is going to my 2 classrooms opposite my schedule so that she can work without disrupting classes. She is very careful and conscientious. She told me that if I needed help to unpack and if she were authorised that she would help me unpack too.
My biggest issue is the complaint from my current boss that I have "too many" things to mover into their new building. I teach 7 grade levels for the love of mike--and the administrator friend gets that. He told me that the average teacher has 40-50 boxes, and that he told them that he expected me to have more than that because of the nature of my position. I'm lucky to have him in my corner. Anyway, I am glad to have him on my side and the help with the packing. I am still having to do some lifting and moving. We have a special coral dot that I am putting on things to let her know that they need to be packed. I have been moving out things that will go to our church this summer for the summer reading program.
My friend went to see my "new classroom" at the new school. (The ribbon cutting ceremony is May 27th, I believe.) He said that the room is larger than either of my current rooms and that there is one wall of cabinets and drawers I haven't had a room with a cabinet or a drawer in a long time--everything I own is out in public display, so this is exciting. We will be moving all of my bookcases and file cabinets too, so I expect that I will have plenty of space, in spite of what I've been told. I'm as worried about the physical act of unpacking as I am about the act of packing. It's a big job in any case. We have to be out of one of the buildings on our last day of school, June 2--so that is my goal to be completely packed by then. They will start moving things that day as well, apparently. With all of this going on, I am also still teaching my students and am preparing my end of the year progress reports and mandatory paperwork. It is going to be a hectic and crazy time.
I have managed the food fest in honor of teachers pretty well. I skipped the breakfast provided on Monday. On Wednesday, I had a slice of pizza and none of the creamy soups or cookies and desserts. There will be donuts and I don't know what tomorrow. The massages and "healthy snacks" will be on Monday. I am going to sign up for a massage--they are being done by a chiropractic service. I haven't cared much for the massages in the past because they make my body throb and ache worse, but hopefully this will be different. If it hurts excessively or requires me to get into some awful position in an odd chair, I will politely decline the opportunity.
I see my pain doctor right after work on Friday. I am hoping that he has a suggestion for my pain issues. I am nervous about the idea of any injections, but my physical therapist and a couple of other people have suggested that these are something that could help me. I just know that it was impossible to give me an epidural due to the hardware in my back, so I don't know how an injection can be done for the same reason. I guess that I'll find out soon enough.
It's time for me to get off of the computer and get going, so I'll talk to you all soon. YAY, the weekend is upon us. Keep your chin up and reach for your goals!!
Gentle hugs, one and all.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
I need to get my body to bed here pretty soon, but I thought I'd stop by and let you know that I am really struggling over the packing ofmy classrooms. Yesterday started with a rude enough email suggesting that I "discard" my books and teaching materials. One of the downtown guys is working hard to make things nice again, but what was said was said. I worked like a pack mule packing boxes and moving them and came home damaged from all of that. Today, the helper that they promised came and worked all day. I cannot give it that much time because I am still teaching full time. I am supposed to have another visit tomorrow with info on the true size of my new classroom in the new building. They have dut all of the paraprofessionals in the new building with well over 500 students except for one who is asigned to special ed. It will definitely be a thin amount of resources for the staff. I wonder if I will be appreciated or receive more criticism and difficulties.
Things are going slowly but surely here at home. I have made it to the pool each day and I now have my youngest son swimming well enough that he passed the swim test. He is so proud of that. I wish one of my older sons was doing so well. Oh well, I will keep at it.
Thanks for being such good froiends and so understanding while I am so busy these days. I know that I am only getting to some of your blogs and some of my team messages on the weekends, but I am trying to prioritize how I use my time.
Take care, one and all!!!
Monday, May 03, 2010
It's Teacher Appreciation Week and we will be rewarded with food at every turn this week. Today, somebody provided a breakfast, but at my morning school they have to use the teacher's lounge for a class--so the breakfast was in the principal's office. That pretty much kept me away from there, lol. I know there are some luncheons to come, one will be pizza. Next Monday, a chiropractor's office is providing us with massages and "healthy snacks." The problem with that is that I think I miss them by being in the other building at that time. I will try to fit that in because a massage by a chiro might actually be good for me. In any case, I stocked my mini-fridge at school with fruit, veggies, nonfat milk, and water, so I can take care of myself no matter what.
I have been in contact with the downtown administrator about my packing help. He is going to bring this person to me on Wednesday or Thursday and look over my sthings to let me know if I am going to have to find a way to store some of them. I'm guessing yes because I don't think the principal wants all of my wonderful books around. She likes things (and people) thin and new and cute. I am not sure what I am going to do about that because our house is full of people and their things. Since I won't be getting paid, I will find it hard to pay for a storage unit. I guess I'll just wait and see. Moving a classroom is almost as awful as moving your home--and for someone who has limited mobility, it's a nightmare. I began packing a few boxes today and I've been paying for that activity. I'm looking forward to my help!!
My principal was contacted by another school that is considering multi-aged classrooms like we have. She was looking for some teachers to be a part of a panel discussion on the topic and I volunteered. She sent me an email today telling me "no thanks" because she had enough people. A couple of weeks ago, she sent out a request to have someone serve on a district committee to revise the discipline code. I volunteered and she sent me an email telling me that she already had somebody. Hmm, I answered that email within a minute of when it came. I am guessing that I will not be given any leadership responsibility ever again. I need to renew my National Boards and I put it off this year because of my health issues. I guess it is lucky that I can go back and cover the time before I worked for her.
I am going to plan the summer reading program at our church again for kids getting out of kindergarten and first grade. This summer, I will have to organize volunteer help because the grant that paid for my helpers doesn't exist anymore. I can use this program as a way to show leadership for National Boards. I loved doing it last year and only one of the children I worked with during the summer needed any extra help this year. That was a pretty storng way to help children who were identified as being needy by the staff at their school. I am also signed up to take a week long training with the National Boards people on mentoring. I had the training last year, but since I wasn't allowed to use it, I thought I'd repeat it for the coming year. I work with a teacher that I'd like to lend a hand to and it will give me a way to do it without being intrusive.
My husband is baking chicken breasts for dinner--yummy. Then I have to go to the pool to get my exercise in. I have been waiting until the afternoon to take the first of my 3 daily meds for fibromyalgia and anything for pain--that keeps the drowsiness away. However, it makes my evenings a bit odd. I am still experimenting because it is my hope that I'll get adjusted to the meds and be okay at some point. Sleep was hard last night though, and I am not sure why. Oh well, it gave me a chance to catch up with a lot of my Spark Friends. I am missing keeping up with you all on a regular basis.
Have a great evening and enjoy something special. I think there should be a "Spark Friend Appreciation Week!" Maybe we could make that happen and we wouldn't reward our friends with food, but love and support!
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