Thursday, June 09, 2011
I envisioned my summer tutoring project as being a time of sharing books, the love of books and skills in reading with children. That is NOT, NOT, NOT what I am getting to do and I am quite frustrated. It has become a nightmare of paperwork and administrative "stuff." A PhD candidate is helping us and has asked for our "strategic plan," "three goals for each of the children," "pre-testing and post-testing," an attendance page, a schedule, etc... It is a 6 week program with me working 4 hours a day during student contact hours ONLY. When am I supposed to do this stuff? Well. one answer to a part of it is the past three days because she/ they decided that we needed a signed permission slip for any child we serve--and they didn't bring them to us to send home with the kids until today. So maybe, just maybe, I can teach tomorrow. Please forgive me for venting but I wanted to do this because I thought it was going to be like my summer reading program and it is far different than that. I am feeling blue because of it and have even considered some "civil disobedience" in not doing all of the extra paperwork.
As for me, I am spending a lot of time with that and getting to the pool to work out. I also have tried to spend some time with my younger kids--they do still need some attention, lol.
Anyway, I am hanging in there--and doing the best that I can with my Spark program. I haven't weighed in in weeks and will do that this week. I will find out then if I have to keep such a tight rein on what I do.
Thanks again for your continued kindness, patience and support. I amy be the most infrequent of your spark friends, but it isn't because I don't care. My life is so hectic and crazy that I do what I can. My work outs take a lot of my spare time and they are so important to me that I won't give them up for anything but important family issues.
You are the best!! Remember that and all of the reasons that you know that makes it so!!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
I think "missing a beat" describes the past several days for me. The end of the school year is a monumental thing for most teachers--besides weighing in on the year and the children whose lives we touch, there are the far more tangible responsibilities in taking down a classroom for major cleaning. I am going to be providing tutoring for children in the park program that is housed in our school during the first 6 weeks of summer break. This is a ground breaking program, brand new as the result of my work with the church and the drive of our pastor. I want to see it work and be successful for the ids who need it. There are over 100 kids registered at our school, so it is a similar story to the school year with numbers and a job that is looking a bit bigger than life. I will get it sorted out.
Wow, Thursday was the last day of school and I have been busier than busy since then. On Friday, I went to the fitness center to work out, a training session for the summer tutoring program, grocery shopping, errands taking kids to work here and there, and then home to find out we could go pick up a couch for my son's apartment and a cookout in the park with everyone who wasn't at work. We went to a park by the Rock River and it was a bit buggy, but so quiet, beautiful and peaceful!!
Saturday was my workout at the pool before we left to go to my husband's cousin's funeral. I didn't expect all of the people who were there, but I didn't realize that not only did Frank have an excavating business, but he was a member of the village board and a volunteer fireman. We got home in time to work on some laundry and some other household chores. Sunday was all about the warm, sunny weather and working in the yard and moving that couch into our house to replace an older one in the family room. (My son couldn't get it into his upstairs apartment.) I weeded and placed mulch and planted and worked like crazy--and after some 6+ hours of work and a trip to Walmart for some paint and other "stuff," I got home in time to fall asleep as soon as I sat down, missing supper and my spark time. I accomplished a lot, but there is a lot more to do whenever I can find the time.
Monday was about the beginning of the summer park program. I got to school around 9AM and left for a couple of hours for a teacher's meeting, then went back to organize and structure my plans. I worked hard on book baskets with a lot of standing and bending and lifting. I left around 6:30 PM and got home, did a few chores and left for the pool. That wasn't my best workout, but it was really refreshing after such an intense day. My body is pretty sore after the abuse I have been handing it. My physical therapist keeps talking to me about the fact that even though I might be feeling better, I must be careful not to overwork my back and body. I don't know how to judge what I can and should do and what I shouldn't, but it is something amazing to be moving around and doing things that other people do for a change. As I work on my impulsivity in managing my eating and exercise, I have to do the same with my day to day activity.
Take care everyone, stay safe in the heat. (I think that I may be one of the few in the area who is enjoying and embracing the temps we are having and not complaining at all.) I really love the fact that I can be outside and that I can move around. I love the fact that the cold weather that started earlier last November and that made me throb and burn and hurt right through April and part of May is over. This makes me energized and I have no complaints about warm weather--it is easy to find ways to cool down.
Gentle hugs everyone,
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
beginning a summer??
I don't quite know what to say. We have tomorrow left, but it is an hour of student contact time, working on folders and end of the year paperwork, cleaning up rooms, and probably a meeting of some kind. I begin tutoring during the summer park program for four hours a day for four days a week. We have a "training session" for this for 2 hours Friday morning at the fitness center. After that, I'm going to enjoy the pool and do some working out. This program will be a great deal different than when I have done my own program at the church. My son will be doing some teaching there this summer.
Speaking of my son--he got notified today that he has a position teaching fifth grade next year. His pink slip has been rescinded. Yippee, good news--he seemed to expect this all along. I am so glad for him. He is moving into his own apartment right at this minute and over the course of however long it takes, and I am glad to see him coming into his own. I will miss him, but his apartment is only about 4 blocks from my school so I don't think he'll be too big of a stranger.
Anyway, as I reflect over this school year, I served almost 80 kids and some 30+ got their reading up to grade level. Of those who didn't, the older children have multiple issues and I think need more help than 40 minutes of reading instruction daily to solve them. (One of them was very close...) Of the younger ones who didn't make it, I made two year plans for most of them and most of them are where I thought they would be by now and just need more time. There are a few of them who I also have identified (to myself anyway) as having multiple needs that reading support isn't going to resolve. I have done a lot of good work with children and their families this year. As always, there are a few things I wish I had gotten done, but I think I have done far more than anyone could have asked for or expected this year. My biggest concerns are about my co-workers and the general attitude around me. Again, there is little I can do about this--that issue belongs to the administrators to straighten out and work with. It makes me sad to be in a new building that has this type of problem at the end of its first year.
However, summer break is here. I have the first class in my ELL program in July and a four day out of training during the last week of June. I have a big household job in mind that should result in switched bedrooms and a better use of space around here. The rest of the time is for being in the pool or at the fitness center and in their pool or out camping. I plan to have some rest this summer along with everything else. To wrap this up, I have some photos of the fitness center where I spend so much of my time:
This is the front desk and the place where I swipe my membership card when I come to the pool. Then I usually come in with my swimsuit on under my clothing and if I am not starting out on the bike, I cut through the girl's family locker room and head into the pool.
Here are the tools I use when I am working out in the pool:
I generally use a band to warm up when I walk. Then I come back and do some squats and some other band and stretching activities before I put on the bubbles and do some kicks. Then I use the weights--particularly on my right side to strengthen my shoulder. I move on to some pushes with the noodles and then some leg lifts with them. I wear my swim gloves to work on my arm extensions and stretches. Then I do some aqua jogging before I do some balance exercises and some knee stretches. I do some walking and then some actual swimming before I do more stretching before I get out and see the following view of the pool.
If I don't go to the hot tub, I head to the shower and then the sauna to soak up the dry heat before I get dressed to head to the bikes or home. I have one more photo to share--
This is the sign I got placed to mark the accessible shower for those of us who need it.
I'll share some other fitness center photos in a later blog because 1) this blog is plenty long enough and 2) I am wearing my swim suit and am ready to go for a good workout and some relaxing, soothing pool time. Thanks for hanging in with me. I am kind of all over the place in emotions and well, directions in general. I'll get over all of this soon!!
Monday, May 30, 2011
Hi all and Happy Memorial Day,
I wrote quite a nice blog complete with photos on Saturday and instead of deleting the "upload photo" box as I finished, I closed the blog and lost it. That's the way things go sometimes. I will add some of that today and save some for later.
Yesterday, I went with my husband to go to the hospital to see Frank, his cousin who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last week. He is very ill and it was not a comfortable place to be. I feel deeply for the people who are close to Frank because they are basically watching this come to a natural conclusion. He is lucid and spoke freely of "waiting to die" when we were there. I won't describe the details because you are all capable of "getting this situation." The interesting thing in my thinking was watching my husband's family avoid the conversations that Frank and his wife both wanted to have. I will be thinking about this for a while, and I need to explain the situation to my older kids as well. My husband was not comfortable with taking the trip and avoided it for a while. He wanted to go by himself and then he wanted my company--I have simply listened and waited for my husband to come to the decisions he needed to make. I don't think we stayed as long as we probably should have, given the travel time it took to get there and the likely outcome of all of this. There was no optimism in the air with the nursing staff or the family who had been there. It is all very sad. That is the one thing I can state honestly.
Last Thursday was the music awards at my daughter's high school. It came as no surprise that she was acknowledged for all that she participates in. It was not really much of a surprise that she was selected the "Top Notch Sophomore" choir student either. She is such a capable musician in many ways. I am sorry that others from our family weren't there to see her receive awards. I'll share some of my photos with you all.
Marissa is receiving an award from the choir director (who is also a member of our church and is the handbell choir director.)
Marissa is with the other sophomores who were recognized.
This is the plaque on display in the choir room that has the names of the "Top Notch" sophomores listed. They also select "Top Notch" freshman and junior choir and band members. Seniors are recognized in many ways that includes scholarships. Megan won two of those when she was a senior and that is a very helpful recognition!
I think my daughter is going to be really blue over the seniors moving on because they have been such a tight-knit group of friends. It will be important for my family to recognize her feelings at this bittersweet time of the year. She did try out for show choir and made it. I was far less surprised by that than she was. Marissa seems to be unaware of the range of her ability and passion for music and what it means to those watching her perform. I have some other photos but I cannot seem to locate them--I will share them later.
Mitchell got the keys to his apartment yesterday. I am happy that he is at this place in his life, but this is another of those bittersweet moments. He and I share a bond that connects us as mother and son and teacher to teacher. I know that he will do well in his career and the only real job I have left to do for him is to continue to pray that that pink slip is rescinded soon and that he has a position for the fall. He is a great guy and will be a good role model for male students who don't have many men in their lives.
I want to express my thanks to each of you who served in the military and gave of your own life for all of us. I have struggled in a very selfish way as our 6th child and 5th son gave a great deal of consideration to enlisting last year at age 17. I was opposed to that for the reasons one would expect of a mother, mostly because one is not able to make those decisions at age 17 and that the inevitable tour in Afghanistan was unacceptable to me. I do not believe any American should be in that awful place where they aren't wanted by the people who are there and where we trained the people who are now the "enemies." I am so glad that my son found a different opportunity. In the meantime, that makes me appreciate each of you who served even more--and for those of you who have a loved one serving in the military or who has lost someone dear to you, this day is too little in giving you the respect and recognition you deserve. God bless each of you. My father was a Korean vet and when he passed away, we became aware of the medals that he won for acts he never spoke of. That makes me understand the depth of what our military people do to protect us all. Again, I give you a big "thanks."
Have a thoughtful day--and for us--maybe there will be no rain to darken this day.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I want to share the issues of this week in reverse order--and then I am going to give myself a shake and share the things that have made it a good week. I can get past this junk!!
--Right now, there is a flat tire on my car and I just learned that the guys didn't have the spare I bought mounted.
--We had a horrible storm last night.
--Micah had a panic attack during his concert and fled the stage during a song.
--My dental work is going to cost over $7,000.
--We had a horrible storm Tuesday night.
--I yelled at a third grade child over not doing his homework for 11 days in a row and sent him back to his room for a "field trip" across the street to play baseball. He cried and his teacher came and yelled at me--then I got called on the carpet by my principal. The child succeeded in playing "divide and conquer." I am now a pariah.
--We had a horrible storm Monday night.
--The other dental clinic that I decided against gave me a hard time when I asked for my x-rays and I ended up quarreling with them twice on the phone and once in person.
--We had a horrible storm Sunday night that included sirens and tornadoes in our area.
--I spent an entire evening doing yard work and cleaning up in the back part of our property that was a mess other people made. I was shocked to find it out there and nobody who was home would help me with all of that work. I fussed at my family over this.
Here is the flip side and the reason that I should let this all go:
--I did buy a spare and my daughter can drive me to work and take one of her brothers to have the new tire mounted, problem averted.
--No damage was done and no lives were in jeopardy because of the big rain and gusty winds last night.
--The junior high concert was really quite good and Micah made it through the entire thing until the last couple of lines of the final song. We talked and he finally agreed with me that he needs to talk to his psychologist about anxiety issues.
--The new dentist that I saw is interested in me and was very sweet and kind. Every step of this dental work was explained and why the choices were made. They are going to help me spread this out so that we can get the maximum dollars out of my dental insurance and he gave me some choices for both my comfort and to reduce costs. I really like this dentist and his staff.
--The Tuesday night storm filled our basement with water, but the sump pump is doing its job and my garden needed some good rain--nothing was harmed by the winds, nobody was hurt. I got to go to the pool and relax.
--I defended what I did with my student and told the people who were fussing that if this child cried, maybe that means I finally found a way to get through to him. If this type of person wants to gossip about me and do whatever, these people aren't people I need in my life. The principal also turned the complaint session around to tell me that I am competent, respected, needed, etc... I didn't let this become a session of her talking down at me.
--Monday night's storm was another "gully washer" as my husband says with no particular damage, just a lot of rain.
--I got my x-rays and they "waved" their ridiculous fees when I told them that they belonged to me and that I had an attorney who would help them to figure that out. I also got to tell them all publicly what my issues were. It was a bit rewarding to get all of that off my chest.
--Sunday night's storm caused a lot of problems in our area, but there was no loss of life. We only had damage that needed cleaning up.
--I got a lot of exercise in cleaning and working in the big mess I cleaned up. When the rest of my family came home, they did give me a hand and commiserate with me over the issue that caused the problem. I don't think anything like this will ever happen again.
--Sunday night's storm caused a lot of problems in our area, but there was no loss of life. We only had damage that needed cleaning up.
--Marissa's spring concert was amazing. We went right after church and I forgot to go get my camera/ video camera, so I cannot share with you. She did the female solo part in the gospel song "Just Tell Jesus." We were stopped by several people giving her accolades--one was a college music director telling her that she "would go on to college in music." She just glowed. (So did I!!) I promise I will get something she sings recorded to share with you!!
In all honesty, I am feeling pretty defeated right now as I try to muddle my way through the end of the school year and all of the stress that goes along with that. Today is "Lunch on the Lawn" and the big "Talent Show." I am not going to participate in the former because I didn't have time to go shopping for my meat to be grilled nor did I have time to prepare a dish for the staff potluck. I am not going to the latter because I am totally unable to participate in the staff dance portion and this is time I can get my extra paperwork done to meet the Title 1 part of my job--that nobody else has to do. Stress is not a good thing.
As for the big (hurtful) thing--I did yell at this kid who keeps manipulating and lying. Is there something wrong in holding a student accountable or even in a teacher raising their voice? Hasn't that happened since the beginning of time in schools? I am not going to let myself dwell on this--I am not sure that even now, knowing what I know, that I would do it differently. I was really upset when the principal told me that there was "only 6 days left" and that I "couldn't do anything now." Hmm, in 6 days, I can raise a first graders reading level by 2 and I can teach a wayward child that honesty is important and that trust is a valuable thing that one does not want to lose. I can teach kids all of the jobs of the letter "y" in phonics and give them another strategy to help them decode. I can give them new stories to understand and enjoy. I don't mark off days of school--I give the kids everything I can give them every day that I teach them. That is what I am there for.
As for my colleague--hmm, yelling at a teacher in front of students is inappropriate ANYTIME, no matter what. Tattling is childish. She needs to look at her role in all of this--like calling a ball game a field trip to get her students out of my class and this child out of his obligations. There are several things in our collegial background that aren't right and I am not going into them here--but I know the kind of person that did all of this and I am glad to not be like her or to need her approval for anything. She kept him out of my class yesterday, probably to console him and whatever--who is she really helping??
I need to get ready for work--I have a half of a day to work with my kids and make a difference and a half of a day to do the extra work placed on me. I don't have any prep time as a rule because I use school hours to tech children--so I am going to look at this day as a gift to me as I avoid the social stuff.
Happy Thursday everyone. I am better now that I vented and found my silver linings!! Thanks for letting me sound off. Time to go to work.
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