Save the Drama for Your Mama

I had a meeting with our school psychologist today. He tried to recruit me into his field, saying I'd be "great" and that I have "the right personality for it". When I said I wasn't sure about that, he encouraged me to at least think about it.

I wasn't planning on thinking about it, but after the kinds of drama I've had today, I'm wondering if being a school psychologist would be easier ....

Feeling Peevish

My room is the only one in a small hallway that connects the middle school wing to the main hallway. I have a nice little window in my door so I can see who's knocking before they come in (not that I can stop anyone from coming in!). My room is also right across the drinking fountain and the bathrooms. It's a nice little setup. The only thing that I don't like is... the middle schoolers. They think it's so hilarious to knock on my door as they walk by. Every time it happens, I swivel in my chair to see who it is only to discover that it's just some lame middle schooler who thinks he's funny. This happens at least three times a day, usually at the end of the day. This has become my ultimate pet peeve. Every time it's happened, I've resisted the urge to come flying out my door and grab the nearest pre-teen by the collar and give him a good shake. Instead I just stare at my computer and focus on not giving them the satisfaction of turning around and checking to see who it is.

One of these days, I'm going to inadvertently ignore the principal. I can just see it coming...

Just Your Average Monday Morning

Sunday nights are bad. Sunday nights after a long weekend are waaaay worse. Last night, I laid in bed for nearly two hours, trying to keep a rising wave of panic from overtaking me. As soon as I my head hit the pillow, I thought of about a million things I needed to do today and NOT FORGET. Then I thought of a thousand other things I needed to do THIS WEEK. Then I tried to sleep, but couldn't.

I must have dozed off at some point, because I woke up twenty minutes before my alarm with the most deafening crash I'd ever heard. It sounded like an entire bookshelf and all of its contents had tipped over. I rushed out to see what the cats had done now. I looked in every room. Nothing was out of place, except the guitar (and the crash didn't sound like it would come from a guitar). I was so confused. I decided to get dressed and ready to go. When I walked outside, I realized that there was snow on the car. When I had scraped it off, I sat for a minute in the car in order to let it warm up. As I sat there, I saw Mrs. Hufflepuff DART AROUND THE SIDE OF THE HOUSE! I freaked out IMMEDIATELY as any indoor-cat owner would do. Especially our indoor cats. They think cars are their friends.

So I turned off the car, and ran out after her. She dashed into the darkness. I spent six minutes circling the house calling "kitty kitty" and feeling the kind of fear I imagine parents feel when they've misplaced a child. Before panic could completely overtake me, I decided to open the door and make sure the other two cats were in. As soon as I got in and closed the door behind me, ALL THREE OF OUR CATS came sauntering down the stairs, all calm and collected, and with no regard to my hysteria. I was this close to crying, people. THIS CLOSE!

After I snuggled them goodbye, I got back into the car. Lesson learned: don't forget the neighbors have an outdoor cat.


Our two day conference ended up being a LOT of fun. There's just something about getting forty teachers together that makes everyone explode in conversation and laughter. I spent hours both nights getting to know these three Christian girls (all my age)--which was a lot of fun! Day one of the conference was useful and I got a lot out of it. Day two was boring as all get out--basic "intro to educational psychology stuff". Stuff that if your college didn't teach you in your teacher prep courses, they should have their accreditation revoked. Stuff so basic and instinctual, it was like being told how to breathe. People were dying of boredom. I made 99 different words out of the phrase "Merry Christmas" (I challenge you to do better!).

The value of the conference wasn't so much in what we learned, but it was in who I got to know better. I'm finding more and more that I can't be a resource room teacher without having a good relationship with the other teachers... and that has been difficult so far because I started here in October, right in the swing of things, and there hadn't been a whole lot of opportunities to get to know people! But I made a concerted effort to hang out with the teachers from the grade levels I didn't know well, and now I feel like I can do my job 100% better. Also, I really like the staff here!

The Mother of All Meetings

Tomorrow after school, I head out to the west of the state for a thrilling, two day professional development conference with the entire staff. They are even putting us up in a hotel, no less! A cheap hotel, but still. While I'm looking forward to getting to know the other teachers better, I'm not looking forward to spending two days discussing assessment. I feel good about what I know about assessments and how I use them. If I have to sit through two days of meetings, I'd rather it be on a more fascinating topic, but I was not consulted on the matter. My interests are just too specific. Or maybe it's because I teach special ed., and everyone else is general ed. I've never had to work through an entire pile of paperwork to grade. I don't own a red pen. I don't even have the "gradebook" system installed on my computer like every one else.

When I (tactfully) inquired about the relevance of these meetings for me and my special ed. colleague, I was assured by the people in charge that no special breakout sessions were needed for us--that the general topic would be appropriate for us as well. If I find out they're wrong, they'll be getting some pointed looks, and some pointed yawns...

We shall see, my friends, we shall see!

Mischief, Mayhem, and Medicine

Lots has been going on with our kitties. First of all, they are still sick, despite over one hundred dollars in medicine since September. When they started puking snot and spit when I gave them their new meds last Friday, I knew something had to be done. Thankfully, our vet was concerned as well, and said he would see them again. So we all piled into the car after work today for the 25 minute drive to the vets' office. Mrs. Hufflepuff REALLY does NOT like the car. She meows constantly, and freaks out the whole way there. She was downright frightened of the windshield wipers...

Anyway. It turns out that all three of them have this rare bacteria thing called Pasteurella. New rounds of medicine for all! I just know they will be so excited to have more stuff shoved down their throats. We'll also have to decontaminate the entire house in about two weeks so they don't reinfect themselves.

But despite being sick, they are just as rambunctious as ever! Their new favorite toy is toilet paper. We've tried lots of ways of hiding it from them, but they are determined to do whatever it takes to find the toilet paper, and kill it to shreds. I have evidence to prove it:

Notice how they were nice enough to pose. They really didn't care that they were about to get scolded...

They stood proudly at the end of their trail of destruction.

"What, me? I would never do such a thing..."

Die, Germs, Die!

A whole week has gone by since my last post. A sick week. A sneezy, coughing, tired week.

As I was laying in bed a few nights ago, tossing and turning in a futile attempt to get the right amount of air into my lungs, I started wondering why it was that I never got sick while teaching in California, and yet I haven't been at school for one month here, and I'm already hacking.

Here's what I came up with:

1) I don't have a classroom aide sanitizing every hard surface at the end of each and every day like I did in California.

2) Michigan schools are INSIDE. There are hallways connecting every room and every office!!! In good ol' CA, everything was open and OUTSIDE. You had to go from portable to portable to get anywhere. There was no place for germs to hide, unlike my new school where they gather at every opportunity, waiting for you to walk by so they can maim you.

Well, there's not a whole lot I can do about being cooped up inside all time, but I did decide to be more vigilant with the Clorox wipes. I used them today. It's the same kind my aide used to use, and it makes the whole room smell like my job in California.

It's a good smell.

Just as long as I didn't catch something from our cats

I'm having a good week; no really, I am. It's my first real week, and I'm servicing kids which is great. In fact, that's the easy part of my day! It's all the other stuff that becomes overwhelming. Tracking down teachers for meetings, keeping on top of the paperwork, observing potential special ed. students, advising the special education aides, calling parents, setting up meetings, going to meetings.... I am still adjusting to this new role. So far, it's been more administrative than what I'm used to. And that's fine; I surprisingly don't mind... As it turns out, meetings are fine with me if 1) they have a point, and 2) they're not before school or after school. And so far, so good!

Today in particular was a good day because 1) I got my first paycheck (woo hoo! We'll eat tonight!), and 2) my health insurance started today. I normally wouldn't have cared much about the health insurance, but guess who's getting sicker by the minute? I don't even know if ice cream is such a good idea tonight (and now you know I'm serious). Here's to hoping I can make it to the weekend without feeling worse!
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