Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thoughts from last week:

I still find the principal scary even when she is welcoming and friendly.

I am used to going through channels rather than heading to the top even if it mean waiting for something I need - like help.

People I have spoken to when upset have kept my confidence.

My students are in a special school for a reason.

I still can't be bothered doing my dishes.

Having my car serviced cost $400! I will have to save my pennies.

My foot is not fixed yet :o(

My graduation was on the same day as my pregnant co worker's (for her masters). She said I should have gone. I told her it wouldn't have made it any less boring!

I now have 7 weeks to try and establish some sort of routine in my life. Ha!

My planning still leaves a lot to be desired.

Reading the archives of other bloggers as they started teaching makes me feel a whole lot better, or at least not complete freak.

Did I blog about Goldilocks and the vegemite sandwiches? I can't remember...

I am getting CRAFT disease. Can't Remember A F**king Thing!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Back to bobbing

Am better today for crying at mum and going belly dancing. More relaxed physically and mentally. That said, I'm very tired and intend to go to bed at 9.30 and sod the dishes!

Today was ok with the kids. I had all of them there this morning and we dressed up as Dippy Duck and I got the photo's done. It was very cute.

Finished the boards in the corridors for my kids, might need another picture for the big VELS level board that I have to do with the other prep class with their level 1 kids.

Have discovered B2's evil twin - and I like her! Dolly (most appropriate name I can think of for the teacher who has become a good mate - my kids swim with her class, I would have mentioned her before) said the evil twin was a lot of fun but would disappear when B1 returned. At lunchtime I commented to B2 that I like her evil twin and she said she would go. Later I dug a bit deeper and she said that the extra work with B1 away had made her tired and flippant. I told her I would make it my mission to get the evil twin to come by more often! Geez, she cracks me up when she is naughty though, and gets me good!

She also told me about her first teaching job in a one teacher country school with 12 kids of every grade level, 2 hours from anyone she knew and her first time out of home! I felt like a big wuss.

Everything was ok today, days like yesterday I hope will come and go (quickly, with any luck!) and although I didn't expect this year to be as hard as it is. Well, I did expect it to be hard but I had no idea what type of hard it would be. I thought it would be discipline with teenagers... he!

Love/Hate... nah, it's not hate yet, but it's definitely love!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. Held back tears a lot today. Cried at mum this evening. I don't want to worry people but it's hard. I knew this was a difficult thing to take on and it will take time for me to get used to it - but I want it better, NOW!

Hopefully my 'mentor' will be back next week and I can see if she can do something about the fact that I should be doing less work as a graduate. I have 15 mins less duty time scheduled, which is far less than the 5% of total workload that I am entitled to. I don't want to moan about it but I think it would really help me out to have more time. That is my plan for next week. Get it sorted.

The kids were naughty and noisy today. Got very close to yelling at them. Other teachers reckon I should just do it, even if it scares the bejesus out of them. I would feel bad. It might happen.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm not like them...

... but do I want to be?

Yesterday we had a curriculum day and went to see a psychologist talk. He was alright, I learnt some things about different types of people and spent some time feeling pretty uncomfortable amongst teachers. I don't seem to be like them and it wasn't just that I teach in a different setting or that I was in a minority group in a personality analysis exercise, it was more than that, but I'm not sure how to describe it.

There was a lot of talk about kids needing someone to be the adult, someone who seems through their tricks and attitude and can stand up to it. Maybe it's not so relevant to 6 year olds or maybe it's easier as they are so much smaller, but I'm not sure I am ready yet to be that adult for anyone, even myself.

Most of the teachers were, um, a bit boring. They are such 'normal' people. It was hard being in a huge group of people and feeling that you don't fit in. That and I get bored very easily and there wasn't enough detail on the things I was actually interested in. That, and I couldn't really contribute to any group discussion on our table. I met a nice grade 2 teacher and she had some good insights into kid's behaviour that I learnt a lot from.

Today we had a day off for Anzac day. I went to a mate's place to watch the footy. (Go Pies!) Rode my bike over and it was a good ride. Made my foot very very sore by kicking the footy in the street and in the back yard. The ride home was ok but my foot is still occasionally throbbing today. Taking it easy at work tomorrow will be a bit difficult... It's so frustrating that it's still not right and the slightest amount of increase in activity causes pain again. Not happy!

Only three days left of this week. I think I can make it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Like a tightly coiled spring

I had all sorts of stuff earlier but reading other blogs with similar concerns calms me down so much. I really like the newest posting from Middle School Mayhem, but it worries me that I could be teaching for years and none of this would get any better. I had a chat with the head of the Speechies this evening at about 6pm... We are our own worst enemies. Caring about your job and not burning out - where is the 'how to' manual? Balance. HA!

Tomorrow the assembly will be over and I will go for a drink. Then it is just organising for open day in education week. My room got new tables on tuesday arvo. I have an awful feeling that not only my over attached mums (and families) will attend but also that random visitors and potential enrollees will want to see prep classes... It will be chaos! I hope there will be someone to act as a bouncer at the end of it!

I can't believe how tense I am at the moment. I know I need to swim tomorrow morning but it will be such a struggle getting out of bed. I liked the sun in the morning but hate this dark and rain. No good for my mood at all.

Sigh. No need for pirates either. They are such girls. Cinderella has Mini Mouse on her eye patch and refuses all attempts to persuade her to be a pirate.

Snow White made the sounds of A, B & C today and tried to sing along with tic-tac-toe! She is also using communication books quite well. Wish I had more speech imput for her.

My physio has a bad back and isn't really engaged in her job here. The other physio who has one of my kids is doing thinking for her. I guess it's good that someone is picking up the slack, but then at least she's not ruining herself for the sake of others. Anyway I have to remember to ask her about a corset or something for Goldilocks.

I had a couple of good laughs today which was nice. One was in the middle of the staff meeting and included a snort which wasn't so good, but it was such an hilariously innappropriate comment.

I am going to try to remember to join in for Blogging Against Disablism Day. This link will take you to another site with all sorts of great links on living with disability. If I taught older kids, who were capable of it, I would get them blogging their experiences. It all contributes to the sum of human experience that would impossible to get by simply meeting and talking to people. At least that's one of my excuses.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One of THOSE days

I'm feeling a bit better now. I've been to belly dancing with my mum and talked to my best mate who is freezing her ar*e off in a tent somewhere...

What's wrong? It's hard to say, but after Easter thing haven't been coming together well. I thought I was getting the balance thing happening but I don't seem to have enough time to get things done. The things I think that are getting left behind are the teaching and preparing decent lessons for my kids. That bothers me a lot.

People are looking out for me, which is nice, but I don't know what to tell them when they ask me how they can help. Stick all the velcro on for me??? I don't know! Although if I asked, they probably would do it for me...

I went to the relaxation session that the psychologist is running. It was good, but at the end she asked how I was doing and I didn't manage much in the way of a positive reply. She patted me sympathetically and I, of course, started crying... it was good to get some of it out and have someone tell me it's all normal. Doesn't make it feel much better, but at least I care enough to be worried about stuff... hmmm.

Cinderella was away today having her eyes looked at. They have deteriorated and she has to wear a patch over one eye for 3 hours a day. If she's not feeling too good about it I have got a perfect excuse for doing pirate things and having us all wear an eye patch in sympathy! It even fits with literacy, we can all be Captains!

Sleeping Beauty hasn't been well and is doing half days at school to try to get her enough sleep to stop her seizures. She has been really engaged in some things we are doing and been great at picking the right name when given a choice and asked a question in morning circle. She has also been verbalising a lot too. But the poor popette is so tired that she will snuggle into anyone who is within reach with a soft limb available to rest her head on.

I think Snow White may have had a seizure today but I'm not 100% sure. I described it in the diary to mum as jerky, shaky movement but whilst maintaining eye contact. I'm hoping it wasn't, or that we'll find out if it was. My pregnant co-worker was there and she wasn't sure either. It was definitely different.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Drowning not waving

Easter was nice but after a four day weekend I didn't really want to go back to work. That kind of disappointed me, but a job is still a job no matter what kind of love/tear my hair out relationship I have with it...

I think new teachers should be told to say no to everything in the first year. Tomorrow I am (sort of) co-ordinating the primary teachers doing morning tea for everyone for the month's birthdays. Luckily, I am getting lots of help, I have no idea what I am doing or am supposed to be doing.

This Friday I am doing whole school assembly with another teacher. She had a great idea that we do ANZAC day as she can't remember there ever being one at the school. I have spent a lot of time I had other things planned for today downloading pics and music for a powerpoint presentation. I think I'm into about 30 odd slides now... My partner in crime looked askance at what I had discovered on the net, but she went up to the office and came back with a heap of stuff to give all the teachers as a heads up and to send home to the parents... She is going to do the talking, as I am feeling a bit chicken, and I am making the fancy technological stuff that will make the other teachers go "Ooooohh...". To be honest I am having fun learning all the effects and cute stuff I can do with powerpoint, but this needs to be a bit serious, I'll save it for my play dough presentation... That is probably coming up very soon too...

So, I am feeling a bit stressed today. I'll get over it...

Snow White is having a great time on the bus and going home on it every day this week. YAY!

In physical program, without our physio today, I got Cinderella onto a scooter. I convinced her to keep staying on it by nicking it and scooting off if she left it unattended. OK, so I was having fun... She won't balance and turn properly yet but that's why she's using it! It worked well splitting riding with balance/walking things. Not really happy that I had another session without the proper staff, they just don't get as much out of the session with me rather than a physio. I just have to try to go in the same direction and meet some of our goals...

I'm sure I had something else to say but I can't think any more now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Teacher or Case Manager?

Yesterday's blog seemed very calm because I completely forgot about PSGs. They are pretty much parent teacher interviews but with the a rep from the therapists. So, it becomes Parent Support Group meetings. I had two with the kids who had been there a year. Their parents are great and it was all no dramas. I was bricking it before hand though. It will be harder with the prep parents though.

Also forgot that the day would be different because of the PSGs. It worked out ok though because the activity I had planned for this afternoon was set to go in the middle session when we usually have a physical program but today all the specialists were up in senior school for PSGs there. Lucky! We made easter baskets and easter egg stained glass windows with cellophane. They turned out great.

It's so easy to write about my day rather than connect with what I'm feeling at the moment. It's like if I do, I'll be overwhelmed by it. Things are ok, and people keep telling me I'm doing a good job but being a teacher and effectively a case manager for 5 kids daily education and care (eating, drinking, toileting, transport, physio, speech therapy, OT, medications...), being the centre of all that stuff is such a huge job. I am always feeling like I could be doing it better but haven't learned to give myself a break yet. I could do it better if there were 48 hours in a day and I had at least 8, preferably 10, really long arms!

Snow White went home on the bus for the first time today. They changed her bus route so she gets home earlier and leaves later and her poor Mum has had enough of her and is feeling pretty bad about that. I really hope it works out ok. It would make my life easier and hers!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Treading water?

Today was ok except I keep thinking it's a Wednesday and think it's been great for a Wednesday!

Cinderella and I did some math in the morning while the other girls were with the god botherers at RE. She can do most of it with a little prompting but her writing of numbers needs a bit more work so we go back and forward in emphasis between doing the sums and writing the numbers well.

Then we went across the hallway to do some values ed with the other preps. Later in the day B2 went through where they are at with it and I am happy to follow if not quite exactly. I also had time to ask her about how to structure my integrated studies topics which I feel that I haven't been managing very well. I felt better afterwards coz it turns out I'm not doing too badly and now I have plenty of ideas for how to start the next one. I can start a bit of written planning over Easter (hehehe - as if...). I need a new list of things I need to get done in the near future... maybe after I find my desk again...

I am working on the swimming on Fridays plan and my pregnant co worker who has about 7 days of school left took my kids for a while in the library. I got some book binding and laminating done. I seem to spend my life printing, cutting, laminating, cutting, applying velcro and binding books with those weird ring things...

Tomorrow should go ok as there is good stuff in the morning and in the arvo I have prepared an activity that we should be able to get done... It's in the math section... colours is math right? umm... what about spatial awareness of shapes fitting together... I'll try to put a pic up of one tomorrow, no point explaining it now.

This morning I put a few rabbit tracks around the primary school and another teacher - lets call her leopard print lady - put bits of white fluff around like bits of tail left behind. There were 4 today, I will do more each day til Thursday... The kid's reactions ranged from nonplussed to curious to confused.

This week could be a good 'un!

Monday, April 10, 2006

In the swim

Umm... Friday I was tired and slightly wired so after a few of us had drinks. I went out. So no blog. I thought about it on the weekend but couldn't bring myself to write it down. What was I thinking about?... stuffed if I know! Friday was ok for a Friday. Only had 3 by the end of the day so sent Little Red Riding Hood walking, made play dough in a zip lock bag with Goldilocks and let Cinderella choose what she wanted to do... So she played with her play dough and then did something educational on the computer. She has nearly learnt how to log in by herself and will soon be more competent than many teachers... Goldilocks cracked me up as she was wanting to sit in everyone else's chairs today. "I want to sit in Cinderella's chair!", "I want to sit in Sleeping Beauty's chair!" I told her that her chair was just right and that where she should sit.

Got a bit mad on Friday when I found out that my class would miss swimming again because of parent teacher interviews in junior school and miss music and library because of parent teacher interviews in the senior school. I was almost sounding like Cinderella - "but what about me?..."
I found a way around the swimming and today have been looking into alternatives to make up for missing so many swims on a Monday. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty both had really bad nights and went home at lunchtime, LRRH isn't swimming yet so Goldilocks, her mum, Cinderella and myself went in the pool today. Goldilock's mum would like her to learn to swim but she is such a wriggler and won't do as she's told that it will be quite hard. But it's good physio for her legs anyway. Cinderella did really well today, picking up rings from the bottom of the pool, swimming laps and floating for ages.

Our literacy session was good. We did lots of 'C' stuff and read what we found out on Friday was Sleeping Beauty's favorite book - "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" it is great because it has a Caterpillar and lots of counting. Later we coloured Clever Cat with circle sponge stamps. That was fun and Snow White did most of it by herself. Very little help required. Then we cut some coloured cellophane. We are doing some bits of easter stuff but it is all bunnies and eggs from my end and the RE ladies can do Jesus on a stick tomorrow for the kids.

My mentor who has been away a lot over the last few weeks is off 'til the first of May. So much for a mentor. I guess I have been mostly going it alone anyhow. At least now I have a few more people to talk to for back up, but I don't want to take up too much of their time with my needs when it's not a role they have put their hand up for.

Also, on Friday some of my lovely colleagues from over the other side of the courtyard asked how I was going with reports and offered to take my kids for half an hour if I had stuff I needed to do. I thought that was such a sweet offer. I didn't take it up but as my mentor who has vanished was going to look over my stuff I should have got them to proof read it instead. Ah well, too late now.

I got my new computer today. It is very black and sleek but very IBM... Perhaps now I can re do this one with Linux...

I listened to this today. It was linked on Falling Off My Pedestal. It's from BBC4 radio about an oral history project being done by Scope about people with disabilities, particularly CP, by people with disabilities. Very interesting the differences and similarities between lives now and then.

New Acronym of the day...
CP: Cerebral Palsy

Thursday, April 06, 2006

(insert witty title here)

I had time release this arvo and eventually came to the conclusion that there is never enough time so I should probably stop worrying about it.

Today we made play dough. I was always going to be a bit risky given the way my kids throw things around but the OT and I decided what the hell, it'll wash off. It was fun. I took heaps of photos to make a powerPoint presentation for 'sharing' in a few weeks time at our primary school meeting. Some were great blurry action shots as a tub full of flour is pushed off a table... the photo that follows is of my speckled white pants leg and the remarkably upright and full tub of flour on the floor. That student did the rest of their mixing in a zip lock bag, which worked just fine. The other 3 (I had goldilocks away today which may have made things a bit easier...) played in the flour, mixed in the salt, glugged it up with water and chose a colour to add (which is why I now have very blue fingers).

Our playdough in the fridge!

In other exciting news, I will get my new computer next week so I can download my photos, move things by memory stick all to the lap top! They arrived this week but the computer guy has to set them all up (and unpack them all) and then they will go to the office and be presented after you have filled in a mountain of administrivia. I saw it today and gave it a little pat hello. I should get it next week sometime. YAY! I can leave the crappy 98 computer to the kids!

Today on yard duty amongst other things I reset the watch of the boy who has the same watch as me. Why wear it if it doesn't show the right time? It's such a little thing... and now I can check his watch if i'm not wearing mine!

This is a link to a Washington Post article on education blogs that mentioned one of my regular reads. Interesting to see their take on why edu blogs exist.

I think I'm behind and up the creek with my reports... I don't care that much coz I am very confused and it's not as if I have them all done from everyone else either, but better yet, I am forgiven because I am new, inexperienced and confused.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sometimes you just need a chokki biscuit

I've mentioned that Wednesday isn't my favorite day, yes? Ok, so I won't go there again just yet.

Literacy block went fine except for the bit where Cinderella burst into tears because we ran out of time to make the Clever Cat masks. Very unusual for her. Seems sad, tired and out of sorts with the new baby at home.

Physical program is still a work in progress but in the other group Little Red Ridinghood was doing some great walking, her feet are so flat since the operation! In our group we had the usual acting up by Goldilocks and the sudden energy failure of Sleeping Beauty who paid far more attention once she was sat back down in her chair. Snow White got some quality time with a speechy and was a happy little critter today. Seems like she is starting to settle and gain confidence. Did a lot more vocalisation today too.

Math wasn't so great. It was just me for most of the session and all five are really hard for me to get quality work out of. I had a helper in for about 45 mins and she worked with the older two. That was ok. Then we came back to the tables and tried to make some numbers. Cutting, pasting, colouring, scrunching up paper and putting glitter on... The place was such a mess afterwards but I learnt some important lessons. Give out less glitter, don't expect independent work from many of them. Change the structure so we all do the same thing at once but take turns - i.e. now we are cutting, now we are pasting etc etc... It is hard work by myself which is also why I don't like Fridays much either.

It was beautiful and sunny 'til lunchtime when the weather turned foul. I'm not a fan of winter.

Yesterday I forgot to put in the funny story - I remembered it about 5 minutes after I'd turned off the computer. So here goes...

It got back to the computer guy that I has a picture of him on my notice board coz I knew he hated the pic and so then I drew horns on his head and dubbed him the devil with this hordes of evil computers. Next he brought some darts at recess. We threw them until I finally got him through the forehead... I had to focus on my crappy computer and the blue screen of death to do it though. Later he asked if he could have that pic for knife throwing... and I'm like 'What the?'. So as I got to lunch he takes me to see the board the boys (the maintenance man, IT guys, random young guy & part time computer helper) have made. It has the IT guy traced on to it and now had his face at the top. I was offered the double ended steak knives that the maintenance guy had made... The best I could manage was to bounce one off his face... nothing stuck. Then he had a go and was just as bad! Today he tells me they have made a spear... Boys!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Not sure I have much to say today.

Went in early. Missed my 5 pm leaving curfew and stayed til six. Got stuff done which made me feel productive but quite tired.

Had good interactions with Snow White's mum today. She wrote in the diary and was great on leaving. She may even let SW swim by herself next week. I will try to reward her by sending home some pictures I took today.

I joked with lots of people at work today. I like that I work in a place where I can just be myself. People are giving it back to me now too...

The aide I had at the start of the year is back after breaking her pelvis. She is great, has kids of her own and is quite easy going. I am glad to have that bit of stability back.

My speechy seems to have disappeared entirely. I am told they are looking into a replacement coz my kids sure could do with the input. Snow White is getting better at letting things be known though and Cinderella will point out to someone in charge that SW needs to tell them something. Usually it is the toilet but I hope in time there will be more. Today she signed toilet and was taken to the loo where she sat and went! This is a huge achievement for one of our kids except she was a bit confused, I was told, when the toileting ladies were clapping and cheering for her. Mum thought it was great too.

My physio was away today but I took my remaining kids (Sleeping beauty had a neurologists appointment in the arvo) bike riding. 1. They are easy to manage and are strapped on to the bike - I like it. 2. They love bike riding - can't ask for more than that! What a winner! Little Red Ridinghood being post op couldn't ride and being a bit emotionally delicate at the best of time and more so now was unhappy she couldn't ride. I tried to include her and she was being pushed around but then I had better thought and we went back to the room and set her up with a motorcycle cop's helmet a bit of wood for a radar gun and put a siren noise on the big mack so she could push the button and get a wee-oo wee-oo type noise. She loved it! It got her involved but she didn't have to be on a bike to be a part of it. We chased after the speeding Cinderella at one point and she rides faster than I can chase after her running whilst pushing a wheelchair... I was tired at the end. Goldilocks tired early. Cinderella was sweating but wanted to keep going and SW had a great time - but thought the wee-oo noise was too loud and said/signed so (YAY!).

Inclusive ed is something you have to work hard at, but when it works it's magic.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Week 8 begins...

I didn't blog on Friday as I went away for the weekend. I didn't do anything for school. It felt good. Though made me a bit anxious this morning, but it was all fine.

Recap from Friday... Odd day with kids all over the place started with 4 and finished with 2. Got some good one on one stuff done and it was a better Friday than usual.


Sleeping Beauty had the snuffles and stayed home.

Snow White had a good day (and her mum wasn't too annoying either – I could have strangled her on Thursday...).

Little Red Ridinghood was back again for the morning, tiring easily but doing well post op. She was back on Friday as she was bored at home and mum had had enough too. Is managing longer periods in her standing frame but changes back and forth between chair and frame improve her disposition. She is in for half a day so far but we'll see how she goes by the end of the week.

Goldilocks was a pain but continued to be so when mum came to swim with her – at least it wasn't just my classes being boring then. I suppose I have to accept that they have moods and off days too.

Cinderella was subdued but only a little whiney and we had a good swim at the end of the day where she worked really well and put a lot of trust in me and tried hard at the scary things. She can float well with a little build up and managed over 20 seconds worth today. She did some great almost freestyle and is starting to remember to breath and keep going. I was very proud of her fighting panic and keeping going in the deep end.

One of my mates is in a similar mood to mine last week. She is teaching high school science and math so our problems are similar but different, however, the emotion is all the same. First year teaching doesn't appear to be particularly good for anyone.

[That's 50 blog posts... I never expected to keep it going for this long... or have 3 loyal readers! - even if one of them reckons it's all boring...]