Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Today was a day of reckoning for me. I have been awful to myself because I am stubborn and I work too hard too often. I was blessed with a new doctor who is competent, capable, and kind--and I let her down.
On Monday, I had to move all of the materials I need to tutor for the Room." Along with the para who is helping me, we are tutoring 58 students. I create a personal reading basket for each child and those baskets start out with about 20 books in it. This is a vital part of my program because I really get to see how children read when they are selecting their own books and are really reading. I also provide at least one hands-on activity where we work with words or play word games. The meat of my lessons is the guided reading portion of things where I sit with a small group of children and they read books. That is where I teach comprehension, the most important function of reading. I do other things in the guided reading group like teaching strategies for problem solving and developing fluency, but comprehension is big. I use a lot of charts and do writing activities using graphic organizers. This turns into a lot of "stuff" that needed moving. And, I did it. I didn't realize how hard I was working and how much pressure I put on my back until I finished.
I was dripping with sweat in a way that I have never sweated. That's a big deal considering the building was air conditioned at that moment, My shorts were soaked with sweat from my waist down to my thighs. My back was aching in a way that I cannot understand that I didn't realize it until that moment. I am stubborn and I kept pushing myself, ignoring the important messages from my body. I was also teary-eyed when the reality of what I had done hit me and I was ready to quit the tutoring job. However, the little boy I have been tutoring since January came with his mother and they helped me to understand why I took this position and why I love my work.
I had my follow-up appointment with my back doc at the end of the program. The fact that I was miserably in pain did not escape her. She wanted to get right on the phone and call my employers about the restriction list she sent to the. I took responsibility for what I had done and promised her that I would talk to the people in charge about how the things I moved would get taken back to my room and be put in their appropriate places. She determined that there were some problems with my back and my left hip. she increased another of my meds and then she ordered two more sets of injections to deal with the bursitis in my left hip and to deal with the pain in my left lower back.
I went home with a handful of med samples that she gave me to boost the level and three appointments. The first of those was today for an injection in my left hip. It went like the other injections she has give me, but I noticed trouble in the first step I took when I got off the table. She told me to go home and put ice on it, which I did. The water in the pool was chilly as well (because they finally fixed the air conditioning in the pool area of the fitness center.) I took it easy as I went through part of my routine and did things with less intensity. However, it hurts to walk and sit right now. This could last a couple of days.
I will not work extra hours and I will not hurt myself again. That is my promise to myself and those around me. I have to quit being a "workaholic" and I have to pace myself. I am in position to have the least pain I have had in a decade and I cannot jeopardize things. That is more valuable than any amount of money. I am dedicated to my students, but when my position becomes unreasonable, I have to learn to say "no" to the people I work for. I am not someone who generally does that kind of thing, so I will have to work at it. I guess we all have to learn new things and add them to our tool boxes of life skills.
Gentle hugs to all as I muddle through more life issues!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I really need a good week in many ways and I have decided that I need to make that for myself. I have been awake for hours because of pain. I realized that my pain patch was missing and that strong medication generally keeps me nestled somewhere in a normal life. Three companies make it and one of them makes it in a way that stays secure for me--however, I haven't been able to get that brand for about 4 months now. The others are smaller and less noticeable, but if they come off, they aren't worth much. Actually, the good news is that my pain levels have been better--I think that the warm weather combines with all of the ways my new doctor is treating my health is all working on my behalf.
Anyway, I am making a commitment to myself this morning, at the beginning of a new week. I am going to take the time I need to do what is best for me. I am going to eat carefully rather than in the rush in my life. I am going to get back to my plan of 6-7 servings of fruits and veggies each day because I feel better when I do that. I am going to stick with 10 glasses of water and daily exercise because I know it helps me. I am also going to work harder at having more than one serving of dairy each day--this is one of those tough things for me because although I love milk and yogurt and cheese, I hate the calories that they involve. I am kind of odd in that although I am a chocolate lover, I have a far bigger issue with cheese than chocolate. It is a trigger food for me along with chocolate chip cookies. I will work on managing this.
As for stress, I am going to work 4 hours a day--and they will get what I can do. I am not going to overdo things at all. If they want these hours of paperwork, they will have to accept that I won't serve children for four hours. I cannot do everything and I anticipated my summer break to be a break. I anticipated this summer program to be a true summer program with the variety of children who attend each day to be given the opportunities to read and to enjoy literacy events when they are present. That is how summer programs work--they are inconsistent as children have opportunities to do a variety of things. Attendance varies and we just run with activities with who we see. Asking for goals and strategic plans assumes that a child is in attendance each day and that the program is consistent. I can only do what I can do when I am in attendance. As things are, I am having to move all of my teaching materials and books for the summer program from my room to another room in order to work with the custodial work. I also did not sign up to put physical stress on my body.
There are a few other things in my world right now that are adding stress to my life. I am not able to share much about them at the moment, but I am lifting them up to my Lord to deal with. Some issues on earth simply need heavenly interventions. I am glad that I have the Lord in my life to help with the big issues.
The old, often over-used quote about today "being the first day of the rest of" our lives is very true in it's simplicity. This is what I am using for myself on the start of this week in June.
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,
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