Friday, November 11, 2011
This has been a totally stressful week and I have not been as good to myself and my body as I should have. However, today, I want to let you know how I got from a stressful place to a good place over and over again...
We were planning a special Veterans Day program at school yesterday and in order to extend it and add in some reading, we made it a reading day. (If you don't know what a reading day is in a school, it is when normal learning activities would be canceled for a day full of special reading events.) They are motivational, full of learning opportunities and make reading fun.
The problems started when we weren't allowed to cancel music and PE the way it is done in most schools. Usually, the special teachers cover classrooms in their reading activities while teachers get their prep times. Our principal wouldn't make the call and when I asked the teachers, they went to her and complained. Nice teamwork. However, I didn't let that stop me. It was the first time in 5 years that I was getting to do one of these days for our school. Another teacher and I spent hours working out a schedule that fit around the PE and music classes so that each class could have a guest reader, see the program, have their regular lunch and class schedule, and have a partner wring time to tell the story of what they had seen and experienced that day. As soon as I sent out the schedules complaints started in and I dealt with each email and complaint.
When it was time to go over the guest readers, somebody wanted them to be Veterans. I supported that, but I don't know any who are able to read at this point in time. Our principal and librarian told us that they know "lots of veterans" and would take care of it. Last Friday, it turned out that between them, they had gotten 4 readers total. Hmm, we have 20 classes. I worked like crazy, contacting friends of teachers, parents, and members of my church. All of them weren't veterans, but many were and they were all amazing people. I sent out the schedule and again, I got many complaints and I had to switch things for all kinds of odd reasons--and some of them infuriated me. Again, I buckled down and made everyone happy while protecting our day--except for one teacher who was as difficult as she could be. I gave up on her--and lo and behold, she got her own guest reader. (Hm, the chief of police wasn't good enough for her to reschedule an art class with a parent volunteer.)
Anyway, after hours and hours of this type of work, I searched high and low for books to match readers and as many with veteran related themes as I could find. There aren't a lot of books like that and even few of them are very readable. However, i had a stack of books for my readers who weren't bringing their own. They were labeled and in order. I had a schedule that needed one more change at the last minute, but the day was here.
Then--we had an announcement. The school was on a code red lockdown. We had no idea what was going on, but it turned out that some crazy had called several of our city schools and threatened that someone was coming to a school and was going to kill a lot of people. The police locked down the entire city. It was too surreal--as I sat there thinking about all of the guests, our big program, and the school was on lockdown. They changed it to a modified lockdown and allowed people in when they were recognized and identified as belonging in our school. This went on for the entire morning and finally was over after our morning program in time for the kids to have a real recess.
The program was wonderful. We had our most recent member of the Honor Flight along with the unit that escorted him. We had the Patriot guard with all of their flags, We had a group of Korean War Veterans too. We also had a program by our local newscaster who had went on the first Honor Flight from this area and he wrote a children's book. It was high quality as only could be done by a television station. It was moving and thought-provoking for me. I think the children were awed as well
The rest of the day almost went off without a hitch until one of the readers that our principal had gotten didn't "know" he was supposed to read and he simply left. The principal had sent at least 4 emails saying she had gotten him to read at 11. When I went to check on it, she asked me "Did anyone ask him?" Grr-rr. Our wonderful, good hearted school nurse read in his place. Although it wasn't the same, the kids enjoyed her and I think she was glad to save the day for all of us.
At the end of the day, I had to head over to school for our delayed midterm exam. It turned out that it was also our week to present an article, but my partner and I both thought it was for next week. The teacher is so easy to work with, we have to do it then. I will do fine with this and I hope the partner that I was given will do fine as well.
The day--and this week--were a big roller coaster ride. Another of the bright spots was a show choir concert that our two youngest children were in. I am going to post a video blog of Marissa's solo. I have done that before and it is wonderful to be able to share her beautiful voice and talent with you all. That concert, along with pool time made up for a lot of stress that was poured on me this week. We are still working on a few new problems, but as long as I have help with those, we will be okay.
That also explains why I haven't been doing much sparking this week with all of the emails, phone calls, studying and scurrying around--I had to fit in the pool. That water took a lot of abuse this week, ha ha.
Veterans Day is such an important day. I hope that yours has been wonderful and that you have been able to talk to veterans in your life and thank them for all they have done for the rest of us. Somehow, thank you doesn't seem like nearly enough!!
Monday, November 07, 2011
I will complete that sentence--When I think I have got things under control, at least a little bit...
My daughter has some problems with her car, so she takes ours.
The doctor wants to see me today and I find out the car isn't home.
Everyone wants to know something about the guest reader schedule that I don't have ready especially since I have about 4 additions that require me reworking most of what was already done.
The doctor who needed to see me orders surgery and then the date will be December 2, the last Friday of my weekend class.
Our oldest son locks the only keys to the other car in the car when he takes it to my husband at work so he can pick our youngest son up and take him to a doctor appointment.
I get to miss my appointment with my psychologist that I am thinking I really need so I can hear that I need to tell people no and reduce my load because vehicles seem to be working against me today.
Oh yes, and I found out why I couldn't get to my online class over the weekend to post my assignments. The tech guy in charge thought that the class ended on Friday the 4th and he deleted it.. My instructor got to the bottom of that and got things fixed for me and obviously everyone else.
Anyway, I just posted 4 assignments and am taking a quick break right now between finalizing the reading day plans to the best of my ability and working on studying for my exam on Thursday. I thought I'd spark for a bit of a break.
I sure hope that the stars, or whatever, got all of this junk out of its system today so that I can function and maintain my sanity this week. I sure haven't cared much for this day and don't need a repeat.
Well, I am going to go spark a bit more and then it is time to answer the study guide questions about assessments, validity, reliability, and other good topics that I know, but need to review a bit. I might also rest a bit and do my traction tonight too.
Take care of yourselves my friends and if you find a few spare minutes this week, could you send them my way??
Sunday, November 06, 2011
It's my anniversary today and we have tried to have some special moments, but it has been tough. My husband bought two dozen roses--red and white--that were on the alter at church today and are now sitting next to my chair. the guys have been working on winterizing and I went to the pool and have been doing homework. We might really celebrate this 24 years by going out together next weekend.
I am trying to be in control but the fact of the matter is that I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed in many ways...
1. Work is a problem. We are having a big day for Veteran's Day. The principal planned a program with a newscaster and a book he wrote about the Honor Flight. We are having a special all-school reading-writing day in conjunction with that (I have been trying hard for 4 years to get a few special reading days in!) the principal and our librarian said that they had it covered To make a long story short-the two of them only had signed up 4 "veterans" to read and we have 20 classrooms. I don't know any veterans, so I have been scurrying and I found 3--now I am just asking great people like my pastor and a retired biology teacher to read... This thing is Thursday and she won't answer any of my emails--but she sent one to everybody to tell them I would send a schedule of activities to everyone. Hmm, it isn't ready--and she wouldn't reschedule PE and music so I am having to work around their schedules because they"don't want to participate," Grr-rr add to that that I am teaching before school but I am scheduled for playground duty on one of my teaching days and it is my job to solve that.
2. Home--there are a pile of financial issues and things going on here. We got a letter from the IRS about back taxes that we didn't know we had. The people with our 2nd mortgage that is now paid off sent a letter to the IRS and said we paid less interest than they told us and we claimed it. It turns out to be almost 2000 that they want. That adds onto a bunch of new dental and college costs and I am going nuts.
3. Medical stuff. Now I know that I have polyps and will need the D&C and a "hysterscope" to clear them out. I know I need another surgery on this carpal tunnel for my hand that has been numb for 2 months. My neck is starting to have significant pain and that diagnosis must be on target--the doc caught it in time to help me start treating it. Finally, I know I need cataract surgery. My eyes are getting weirder and weirder. I cannot drive at night because the lights are a nightmare. However, I am not sure my body can handle a third surgery in this particular time frame--so I am waiting to deal with it. I also don't know how I can manage any more medical appointments on top of the gazillion that I have been dealing with for the past three seeks to get tot he bottom of all of my grief.
4. My classes both have about 6 major assignments coming due in the next three weeks and there is a problem with the online part of things where we submit our assignments. I have 4 things done this weekend and I cannot submit them because that class is gone. I have an exam on Thursday (note the Veteran's Day reading day is the same...) I also have three chapters to read by then. On Saturday, we are meeting to plan our "evocative" presentation about a chapter in another book. I love this stuff but when you look at the rest of my pile, I think it might be a bit too much. I do know that the instructor will be understanding with me.
5. By the way, I am still a wife and a mother with 6 kids still living in my home. Besides umpteen school activities, concert season starts this week and we have show choir on both Tuesday and Wednesday. I am going to go with Mitchell and his girlfriend, Laura on Tuesday night for sure. We are reorganizing two of the room here for a few very good reasons, so I have the corresponding clutter thing with rearranging. We have 2 fundraisers going right now as well. On Friday morning, we have a special meeting at our church by the Child Abuse Council to certify everyone in our church to work with children safely. I expect it to be like our mandated meetings at school, but I will attend that anyway because I love my work at the church.
I will do all of these things and I will do a great very first Reading Day for the kids in our school. I will not be sidelined by anyone or anything in doing what is best for kids. I will be ready for my exam and have my homework done. Most of all, I will get my pool time and my neck traction in because if I don't take care of me, nothing else really matters. Keep me in your prayers though, and if you miss seeing me as much, I hope you understand.
Have a great week. Celebrate my anniversary with me!
Saturday, November 05, 2011
I thought I'd take some time for sparking this morning after falling asleep early after a fairly grueling week. I was exhausted after I got home from work last night around 7 and I fell asleep early, with my clothes on. I have been reorganizing things in my classroom and trying to plan our special building wide reading day. We had a half day away from instruction yesterday and the team (of 2) that I was on had that task to work on. It was complicated because we didn't have enough information to do the job well. That made things a bit frustrating, but I will handle this too.
My gynecologist called me this morning. We have been playing phone tag for two days. It turns out that I have some polyps that are most likely causing the issues with my "female plumbing." That is why the ultrasound was important. Anyway, since those are predecessors to cancer and most likely have been causing the bleeding issues I have had, they will need to be removed. They do that during a D&C with a hystascope (sp?) and will require a day for the procedure and a second day of "resting." I have to call the gynecological surgeon on Monday morning and set that up. That will be my first surgery this year--I thought I might get through a year without one. My second one will be scheduled after I see my orthopedic doc on November 15.
The folks from the foundation that I wrote my grant for came to our school yesterday to take photos. 3 other people from my school also wrote grants from them and got them. I know that they weren't able to give everyone what they requested according to the chairperson. I should be able to order my big teaching cart/ easel. I know that it is going to save me a lot of grief over collecting materials I need for my push-in lessons. Just thursday, I got to a classroom and found that after grabbing all of the "things" and my bottle of water that I had forgotten the folder with those children's guided reading books. There is no way that I could do the lesson without the books so the ids had to sit and wait while I went back for them. I have forgotten materials before, but never, ever the books!
My shoulders are doing better, less tense, tight pain. I got my traction machine Thursday and was going to use it Friday, but oops, I fell asleep without doing anything that I typically do in an evening. My lower back is back to its old, familiar tricks. I can only stay on my feet for a limited amount of time before the pain starts and it escalates until I have to stop what I am doing and sit. My brace helps some and being in the water helps a lot. I have been trying to tell if the source of this pain is my hips or my back or both. I think I will have my doctor help me to figure this out when I see her for my next appointment in a couple of weeks. If I could get rid of this issue, I would be able to have a frustration-free day. I know that there is little chance of this, but my summer spoiled me. Between the shortened work days and the sunshiny, warm weather, I was able to do basically whatever I wanted with minimal pain. It was so nice to be in that position and I would like to have it all of the time.
It is good to have answers and some relief. The nature of a body that has arthritis in all of its big joints and most of the smaller ones is complex. Pain is a part of my life and efforts to reduce it seems to be my ongoing hobby.
Today is the day for my lunch date with my best friend. I look forward to this peaceful time when we spend a couple of hours visiting and catching up with each other. I go to the pool when we are done and then I will need to go grocery shopping. (I sure miss the summer fruits and veggies!) Then the rest of my weekend will be about finishing a lot of homework, especially preparing my exam on Thursday. That is the same day we have our Veteran's Day program and our first reading day at school. Planning for that is not finished because of some issues with gaining information that we need. I am confused why this is such a problem. However, we are going to make the day a successful reading day for all involved. The purpose is to be motivational and educational, and we shall do exactly that!!
Have a wonderful weekend--I hope to spark some, but I am promising myself that I will get my classwork caught up as a priority.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Isn't that a wonderful title for me? I have had no outrageous medical issues, work events, family uprisings (knock on wood) and the week is over half way through. I am so excited to be working and doing what I do without having all of these other things pushing on my mind. It is awesome--as is that pool that I am back to enjoying. I lost a bit of endurance over the past week and am working to build up the number of laps I can swim. (I break them up with exercises because I am not a strong swimmer--but a year ago, I couldn't swim a half a lap, so I am coming along nicely in my book!!)
I have started doing my very first ELL assessment with one of my students today. It isn't that different than any other testing that I have done and all that I need to do is have some experience with this material so I can juggle it with some level of expertise. I am so happy to be back at school, learning a new facet to my career. It is really good for me in many ways, except for all of the homework that I am behind in right now, lol. I am in the middle of 5 big assignments--an report on the district ELL program, a brochure about the church program, a midterm test that we can prepare before class, a presentation of an article, a group project, and of course my weekly stuff (article readings and reports and my tutoring journal which is now finished and just needs to be posted online.) I am getting a lot out of this work. I am learning that good teaching practice is good practice and from my tutoring, I am learning that I already know how to teach ELLs because I assess and instruct to kids' strengths. My instructor is so positive that I get a lot of positive feedback that counteracts the destructive kind I get from the building administrator.
So, I am a bit off of my spark plan with the end of the big week. I think all of the steroid injections have played with my eating needs. I am having more fruits and veggies, but a couple of Halloween treats found their way in my mouth before I could give them away. I will do better tomorrow because I have given them away.
Take care my friends!!
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