All Play, No Work

My conference in Chicago was surprisingly disappointing. I was hopeful about the sessions we (my colleague and I) had signed up for. But if the sessions weren't agonizingly basic, they were completely unnecessary. Did my school really need to pay 800 dollars for us to learn that the letter "B" has its sound in its name whereas "H" does not? Was it relevant when a two hour workshop on teaching students with Asperger's Syndrome spent the whole time talking about the history of the syndrome and how to diagnose it? That's not practical!!!

There was only one session that redeemed our conference. We high-tailed it out of there several hours/sessions early. (We were also trying to beat the freezing rain in the forecast on our drive home).

Despite all of that, my friend and I had a BLAST. We stayed at the Hilton and our room had TWO complete bathrooms! We breakfasted at the Cafe Baci, lunched at Eleven, and dined at Gino's East. We took taxis around the city (which are so much safer than the ones in downtown Cairo!!), and shopped with the best of them. I bought a quarter of a pound of handmade soap at Lush. Apparently Max thought this was unnecessary, but he forgets that hygiene is important to some of us!

Lucky Me

The school is sending me and the other resource room teacher to Chicago for a conference hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of America. It's international. And in Chicago. And we're staying at the Hilton. On the "magnificent mile". On the school's dime!! We'll get to learn some (hopefully) useful strategies on helping our students succeed, and then we'll have some of the world's best shopping right at our doorstep for our free time during the evenings! Should be fun!


I got a whole box of business cards in my school mailbox the other day. There are at least 500 of them, and they even came with a blue plastic carrying case. And they're in color!!

So I'm officially official.

I'm not really sure what to do with them now that I have them. Teachers typically aren't in the kind of profession where a business card would be needed. I mean, should I give them to my students? "Here you go. If you're happy with the services you received today, tell all your friends!" Or maybe they're for parents: "Here you go. Here's my address, my email, my phone number, and my fax number so that you can get a hold of me at any time of the day to discuss any amount of problems you are having". Or maybe I can give them to strangers: "Here you go. Should you ever have a child with special needs, look me up!"

I think I'll just carry them around to drop into those containers you sometime see in restaurants and cafes: "We randomly pick one business card a week, and you can receive a free meal/cup of coffee/flat screen TV/new wardrobe!"

In the meantime, I'm getting a lot more use out of my new tangle. As it turns out, I fidget more than advertise.

Ignorance is Bliss

Today. In my office/room. 9:36 AM.

Student 1: "What kind of teacher are you? I have my class teacher, and my speech teacher, but what teacher are you?"

Student 2: "Yeah, there's supposed to be 25 kids in here, but why is it just us?"

Me: "Well, what kind of teacher do you think I am?"

Student 1: "The teacher I have fun with!"

Boy, I didn't have the heart to tell them that I was the Special education teacher. For a second I was completely speechless.

One day, soon enough, they will realize that no one else from their class comes down to see me. They'll figure out that there are certain subjects they feel like they "can't" do. They'll feel different from everyone else. People might call them "stupid". The walk down the hall to my room will become a "walk of shame". They won't look forward to seeing me, because I'll be a constant reminder that they're different from everyone else.

But for now, they're just happy third graders.

So I said: "I'm just a teacher who gives some kids some extra help"

Sick Thoughts

There's nothing like being sick to make you wish you could go back to work...

Spilling my Thoughts

During the times when I'm not scheduled to see kids:
"I'm bored. What should I do? I could do this.... noooo. I could do that... hm. I don't feel like it. Did I get an email? I have to do this by tomorrow, maybe I should do it now... naw. Will there be a snow day tomorrow? Let's check Did I get an email? Wait I should really do that thing... wait I don't feel like it. Is it time for another hot chocolate break?"
Right before it's time to work with kids:
"Maybe they'll be absent today; maybe they won't come. Maybe they'll be doing something special in class; maybe they won't come. If they come, what should I do with them today?"
When I'm working with kids:
"How much time do we have left? What should I do in that time?"
"Ten more minutes till they're done. Seven more minutes. Five more minutes. Two more minutes. Whew! They're gone now. Wait. I'm bored again."
On the car ride home:
"Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet? How 'bout now? Now? Now?"
Upon arrival:

Kindergarten Komments

"You are pinching my butt"

This statement marked the official start of my day. Two aides (or paraprofessionals as they are called in Michigan) were out sick today, which meant that I had to clear my morning schedule so I could be the aide for a kindergartner with high-functioning autism.

We were sitting on the floor for carpet time, my little (but heavy!) charge in my lap. He likes to sit in my lap, and he likes to have his shoulders pressed down because he has sensory issues (like many kids with autism). So we were sitting this way, and I started to really feel his weight. When I readjusted my criss-crossed position, I must have caught his little behind in the crease of my bent knee, because he looked up at me and said, slightly reproachfully: "You are pinching my butt".

Later that day, he was coloring a pattern of various shapes: green, yellow, red. He has fine motor issues, so he "let" me color the red ones when he got tired. Now, because this little guy has fine motor issues, he made great big strokes with his crayon, completely disregarding any lines whatsoever. He frequently ran into the other shapes even. I colored the red shapes pretty well for him, but after I had finished one near the end, he pointed at it and said:

"HEY! You colored outside the lines!!!"

I didn't have the heart to show him the mess he'd made of his shapes. That would have been, well... childish :)
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