Tuesday, January 9

Last Step # 342

I signed up to take a CPR class this coming Saturday. It is just in the morning and I'll be certified at the end of it. Hurray! I used to be certified for CPR years ago so I'm expecting this will be no problem too. This is one hurdle on my way to "really" being a teacher that I'm looking forward to.

Another good day at school. Although, I graded tests for my 4th grade math students and it was a really mixed bag. I think it's because it was right before the holidays. Two kids had to take the test today. They did fine. I also had to get mean with two kids and send them to our lunchtime detention. They did not do their test corrections. I consider this part of the learning process so I require them to do it. It improves their grade so most kids at least take a stab at it. One of these girls says she did it but she left it at home -- she does this on a nearly daily basis with her homework. The other one is one that I've written about before. She's having a terrible year. The trouble is that she didn't even try. She's avoiding confrontation so she just handed it to me as if she'd done them. I feel badly for her and we're really trying to give her every break but the fact is that if she doesn't do the work, she won't learn what she needs to learn.

The rest of the day went really well. My tutoring kids were fun -- two of the 3rd grade boys that come to see me used to be really difficult to work with and now they are being fantastic. Really wonderful. They like to come, step up to the challenge, and are doing well. Hurray!

Another boy in that same group really worries me. He reminds of one of my students from last year. He is extremely passive and avoids confrontation by avoiding doing his work. He has a terrible home life and has seen his step-father beat up his mother. She's left him twice, taking the kids across the state before going back to him. I had his sister in my class last year during the time they were here then. She is better adapted but struggles with school as well. This boy has a great deal of anger and when it overwhelms him, he just shuts down and won't interact at all. Scary and sad. Life shouldn't be so hard when you are 8.

I was amazed to learn that being a teacher made me feel better about myself as a parent. No matter what mistakes I make in parenting my children, I am doing most things right and that is a good thing. They'll survive the occasional miscommunication when my husband thinks I'm picking them up and I think he's picking them up. They'll never have to see us fight (well, bickering doesn't count, does it???), never have to see one of us try to hurt the other -- or worse, succeed at hurting one another. So, there's that, right?

Monday, January 8

Back in the Saddle Again

To say that today was mixed would be gross understatement.

Today, I arrived at school ready to teach. But my room was not. The janitor was fumbling for keys at the door to my room when I got there. I went in and my mouth fell open. All my wall decorations were off the wall, there was a thick dust in the air and on every surface. My work tables were covered all sorts of things that belonged on the floor. And, there were paint splatters on every surface, including a big smear on the new counter tops (remember this was a brand new room in a brand new building). It was a mess.

The janitor told me that the room had been painted over the break. No one told me it would be painted and that doesn't explain why no one cleaned it up. So, the janitor vacuumed and I dusted and then wiped down every surface with disinfecting wipes. We moved all the stuff around. I couldn't believe how much dust was around. Evidently, they sanded before they painted.

And, to cap it all off, I ended up getting asthma from breathing in the dust. Delightful.

ARGH! I don't get how professional painters can not use drop clothes when they are painting and why think it's okay to leave a mess when they are done. I don't get why the contractor didn't inspect their work. I don't get why the janitors *who knew it was a mess* didn't clean it up.

We've been having trouble with the janitors and the leadership team at the school did a survey today of all the things wrong with the "cleaning" that was done over the break. Hopefully there will be ramifications. It's very frustrating.

But, otherwise, it was great to be back in the classroom, back with kids. I had a great, refreshed attitude. It was nice to see other teachers and staff. Without the filth and asthma, it would have been awesome!

Can't wait to get caught up on reading teaching blogs -- I pretty much gave myself a REAL vacation -- not work thoughts or anything like that. Relax and play! Awesome!