Saturday, March 05, 2011
It has been another tough week, but good news is lurking in so many places. They finally got the transmission for our car--we have held out for a rebuilt one since the difference in cost was $1300 vs $2800 and money is something we don't ever seem to have enough of. It will be good to get that resolved and make life so much easier for everyone. With so many of us working and going to school on top of my medical appointments that hit at least 3, usually 4-5 times a week along with Megan's 2-3 appointments weekly, it has not been fun to have our reliable little (economical) car down. I won't even worry you with what the extreme costs and the raising prices of gas are adding to my previously mentioned cash flow issues are like. We bought our little car for that concern and then the Suzuki dealer folded and we have to travel two hours to find another....
Big news is that Marshall started working this week. I have made it a point to ask everyone about their jobs and if they are hiring entry level people. He has a job with a cleaning group who I found out about from the ladies who clean at the fitness center. There is an entire change in his demeanor after working since Tuesday. On Wednesday, DHS sent him a letter and has approved him for their program and he will be eligible for assistance in getting back to school and for employment. Hooray--it has been a year now since he so unfairly lost his job.
Things are rattling around with Micah and the unacceptable school situation. I may need to do some damage control over my emotional outpouring on the principal, but I do have his attention. He did send the school nurse to check Micah's arms and she didn't say a lot except to ask him if he thought he might do something similar again. I got a call yesterday from the offending special ed teacher to set up a meeting with all of the staff who are involved with Micah. This is progress and although I want it soon, I am hoping to wait until after next Friday so my job won't continue to have interruptions like the past several days. That will give me time to totally plan out my expectations of them. I talked with one of his doctors who is decreasing his antidepressant because it can cause the self-injury behaviors and some of the negative talk he engaged in. The big revelation came when we saw another of his doctors. After reminding me that this wasn't my fault by either disciplining Micah in a prudent way or by not forcing an issue with that school when Matthew had similar issues 17 years ago, we moved on to construct a plan of sorts. I have some research to pull out and have started that and then, I am going to educate them on what "crimes" my son has committed, how it is part of his diagnosis, what they need to do about the issues to help him grow and get better--and then to give them no more than 30 days to comply or we will go to due process. It is absurd that once again, I am having to do this in that junior high, but as Micah's doctor reminded me, it will indeed be the last time I have to do battle with them. This time, I am going to be a bit more moral and not only work towards something better for my child, I am going to open the door for something better for all children who they are responsible for. Special education laws were created to protect people with disabilities. Micah's diagnosis is one of those particularly important in the school environment, as so many are--autism is pervasive, but Aspergers is one for higher functioning and often kids with giftedness in various areas. However, they do have enough of the autistic characteristics such as echolalia, negative types of talk, poor social skills, repetitive mannerisms, etc... that they need in this case to be protected from people who don't have the patience or knowledge to help but in most cases, to be nurtured to a higher level of functioning. !7 years ago, my oldest son Matthew was in this school. Matthew has cerebral palsy which went through a variety of diagnoses medically until that was the one that made sense. Matthew has had seizure disorders and also AD/HD (which we now understand as an adult was more likely Aspergers for him all along.) We went through trial and tribulations in this school trying to get him preferential seating and help to remember his planner and homework and so on and so on. The kids were encouraged to badger and belittle him as well and it culminated with him receiving a beating by a classmate in the lunchroom that left him covered in blood and significantly distraught. This is a school with an unhealthy understanding of human rights--or as I so untactfully told the principal--that his school was sick and I have come to realize that there is no way to correct that because having new people has not made a bit of difference. I also told him that the things that go on there are unacceptable at every level and that as an educator, I was offended by their unwillingness to do what is appropriate when I do those things willingly and daily in order to give my children success and to help them to grow as developing human beings. (I said quite a few things that maybe I should want to take back because they were a direct response to my emotions over how this all turned out and how I saw my role in it--but then again, if I can make this improve, maybe it was something long overdue. I assume that as I write this, you all realize that my other 6 children between Matthew and Micah also attended that school and none of them were unscathed from my brightest to my most average, from my gifted to my academically needy. I think some of that is the nature of junior high school, but I also don't think that damaging children is the job of any school, even if they are hormonal aspiring adolescents dealing with that unpleasant rite of passage known as adolescent opposition. It is part of the package and if you aren't up for the game, don't work with junior high or middle school kids. I don't think I would do well with it and I am not in such a setting.
Finally, I finished--sort of--my first section of National Boards writing yesterday and it needs to get some editing now. I have 2 online friends and my friend and mentor from my first round who are all going to help me with this. It is raw and I have some issues with some of it, but having a document to start working on is a good thing. This weekend will give that project a few hours as I start on another component, but report cards are a big part of the work I must do this weekend.
I also have promised myself some time and am going to lunch with my best friend today--I think we provide some therapy for each other--and she is probably doing more of that for me right now than vice versa, but we have been best friends since I started teaching and she is one of the blessings in my life. I am lucky to have her. I am also lucky to have you all in my world.
Have a wonderful weekend--I've just been informed that it is snowing here. Go figure--we have had every conceivable type of weather this week from 60's to lightning and thunder to sleet, fog, you name it. It has been a tough season and I am visualizing sunny skies, green grass and trees, and beaches that we have none of!! It's not that far off, my friends.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Life has been hectic and I am under the gun to get my National Boards Renewal finished. I have a couple of good dieter friends who are also new recruits to SP who are going to help me by reading and critiquing. I'll have some things ready for them to read this weekend. This is an important project to me, so please hang in there with me. I try to stop by here and I track food and the like each day, but I cannot get enough time to be as sociable as I like.
I am also quite frustrated with my youngest son's school. He has had some bigger issues that are, at the least, law-breaking at his school. Our youngest boy is autistic and makes noises. Check out any info on this and you will see this goes hand in hand. I am not sure if there is a change in the frequency or what, but their way of handling this is office referrals and discipline which isn't appropriate for a disability. (And, it is the special ed teacher who is writing the referrals for this!! It is her job to work with his needs and help resolve them.) It happened again yesterday and I was led to believe that my son was doing something inappropriate. I took away some privileges before I realized it wasn't something he can control, he went into the back of the house and punished himself by scratching his arms bloody. I am so ashamed of myself for punishing him on their word. I have spent many frantic hours with his doctors on the phone the past two days and today, I called the principal there and, well, I told him exactly what I thought of him, his staff and school. I told him that I held myself responsible that my child was taken to that place, but I also told him tha the and his school owned more of it than I do. I told him to take a look at the outcome of his handiwork and suggested that he and his staff aren't professional or caring on their student's behalf. (Remember that this is my youngest child of 8 and I have had issues on behalf of each of my older children in this same junior high. There is a sad, uncaring climate in this awful building.) I told him that I was going to look into due process for a better opportunity for my son to receive the education that special education law says he is entitled to.
Now, I need to take a next step. I am canceling physical therapy tomorrow to get him to the doctor myself. I will make a plan and approach them with an agenda that will not be relegated to silly conversations about absurdities and make specific requests to benefit my child and hopefully other children in his position. I am truly sick of this situation that has been horrible for far too long. As an educator, I am disheartened by this situation coupled with these poor performing people who make so many think we are lazy, incompetent people who are overpaid and who don't deserve to be treated as professionals making a respectable wage, especially when I have almost as much education and training as many doctors.
Anyway, as always, my plate is full--but this is different because my heart is heavy and I don't have a plan for this inappropriate situation. I will get it figured out, but am looking forward to a break from the stress and in helping my son to get past the damage that has been done to him.
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
How is that for turning a particularly tough day around? I came home and was told by at least three people that "Mom, you have a package." I wasn't too curious because I order free things for teaching and an occasional item on ebay, so I get packages fairly often.
Today was really lousy. We are doing standardized testing in Illinois this week--our friendly problem, the ISAT. Besides teaching all day long, before school, after school and through my short little break, I was asked to do some extra work that I have been trying to squeeze in. I also got another call from my youngest son's school--he did some misbehaving (noise-making) in a class and they weren't very nice to me about it. I also had an extra meeting added on both before my before school lesson and after my after school lesson. It was a lot more than I needed on top of a few naughtier than usual children today.
After work, I had physical therapy on my shoulder--and although my range of motion is way ahead of schedule, my strength and endurance is not coming along at an equivalent rate. I went from there to a rather unpleasant shopping trip at Walmart that culminated with me not having enough money on me to pay for everything I selected until I ran over to the bank office located in the store. (Of course, the bank teller was chatting it up with a couple of customers so I had to add in making other people wait because I hadn't planned well enough.)
So that brings me back to getting home in time to a chorus of "Mom, you have a package." I looked at the nice little box and thought that I recognized the brand name "Attune" but couldn't recall purchasing anything named "Attune." On the inside of the box was 3 bags of Attune probiotic crunch and 4 boxes of Attune chocolate bars along with a nice handwritten note: Sylvia, Congrats on winning the Attune Chocolate probiotics $50 giveaway on Daily Spark. Enjoy!"
Wow, what a way to change the day!!
And--I wrote this to share the fact that random members really do win these prizes, so hang in there and keep signing up. I have only won one other thing in my life, so this is awesome.
Thanks, Daily Spark!!
Gentle hugs Everyone!!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
This week has been a doozy!!
Besides being sick with pneumonia, I have tried to do all of my work, extra duties, and a lot of extra curricular stuff. I don't know when life will loosen up a bit, but I am worn out. I know that I am often my own worst enemy, and this week is a shining example.
I started back to the pool on Monday after taking the weekend off to rest. My doctor called me Monday evening and again tried to get me to go in the hospital, but I just couldn't do that. You cannot rest in the hospital and it is impossible to get the care when you need it, especially things like pain meds. I promised him that Id take my temperature twice a day and that I'd call him if things got worse. I haven;t had a fever and I am not worse. I just wish I was better. I get winded so easily and cannot do my work out at the level I am used to doing it. I'm pretty sure it is the illness that is causing this.
I haven't had a moment to get to the phone to call my doctors and am supposed to schedule a follow-up with both my PCP and my back doctor to get results of my tests. I did get to use the phone a bit on Wednesday, but it was to call a couple of parents about their children who weren't cooperating or behaving the way I expect. That took all of my free time for two days and now I am doing some extra stuff per the request of my principal. It never seems to let up. I worked until 6:30 tonight and still have three big things to do on my list at school. I do plan to go tomorrow but that is to work on my writing for my National Boards renewal.
Next week is the ISAT testing in IL and I am going to be missing some of my lessons in order to help give the test to special kids. It is easy work, but frustrating, when I have so many students that I am responsible for,
I need this weekend, I know that... I got to go to my 15 year old daughter's play on Thursday. I cannot go to the other performance tomorrow because my 13 year old is in a bowling tournament out of town. This is a problem because our car broke down and is int he shop getting a very pricey new transmission. I don't even want to think about how we are going to pay for that.
I think I need Calgon to take me away--but until that happens, I'll just keep venting here and praying. Those things help me out of these tricky moments.
Take care, one and all.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
As an educator in Illinois who is fully aware of the atrocities that can happen to public employees, I am totally dumbfounded at the state of affairs in Wisconsin. My grandfather fought hard and sometimes violent battles during the turn of the century for laborers to have the right to collective bargaining. In one fell political swoop, Governor Scott Walker is trying to steal that right from anyone in the public arena who didn't support his campaign and I am horrified that he has made such an obviously biased move as this. By taking police and firefighters who supported him out of the conversation, he has made this an act that is singling out anyone who didn't back him as a candidate and dissolved any credibility in his actions. As I have been ill today and catching up on the news in my neighboring state, I am feeling disbelief that this has gotten this far. I am so glad that the police and firefighters are there along with the teachers and other public employees stating that they will not allow this divide and conquer mentality. I am so glad to see families who support the good people who work hard to keep Wisconsin such a lovely place to live so visible. I am glad to see educators joining with road workers and nurse's aides and other affected people. I am proud of the educators from IL who are there to support you as well.
I am certain that you are all uncomfortable with the press and the situation that has caused this. I am equally certain that it is a difficult time for you to lose benefits with the recession hurting everyone--but you have come to the bargaining table and offered to play nicely with the political bullies who aren't playing nicely at all. I read the support that you have been given from the White House (although my husband is a Federal employee who is now living with a wage freeze that wasn't bargained for either, so I am unsure of this trend.) I am proud of you for being professional, caring people who have learned from Dr. King and of the value of peaceful demonstrations. I wish you success in maintaining the fair, and equitable right to bargain collectively that is the mainstay of fair employee treatment.
I am nervous that your situation is the beginning of a frightening political trend to destroy the system that my grandfather worked hard to help establish. The middle class workers in this country deserve better than we typically get. Best wishes to you all, whether you are in Madison or at home. I hope this works out in support of the hard working educators and state employees in Wisconsin.
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