Where to start? Monday, I guess. Not such a great day, miserable mood, despite much planning during the holidays I discovered that you can't plan for robots. My kids were themselves. Perhaps even worse because they were so excited about being back at school – weird to be 6, huh? At least I must be doing something right if they love being at school that much. The pool wasn't ready to be used so we missed yet another swim. My community involvement student is ok, and apparently there are worse, but I have had better and in my frantic first day back mood I probably wasn't doing her many favours. Cinderella had a sore tooth and didn't look well. Got the nurse to call home but we couldn't get hold of mum to give her an analgesic. Was grumpy at the Principal (are they supposed to get a capital letter? It'd feel rude not to...) after school. Oops.
Tuesday was better. I had lots of free time to get my shit back together. Sleeping Beauty was sick all holidays and is not herself at the moment. Doesn't run down the corridors, not even throwing stuff around with any commitment. Feeling a bit better about things – perhaps I was just feeling resigned to more of the same and hoping for better time in some distant future that would arrive if I could just hang on. Cinderella much happier, medicated before school! Part of the playground has finally been finished and as it was sunny I managed to cram 5 kids on to a springed see-saw. They loved it!
I don't know whether it is better that I have written this now or if my view of the weeks events is so clouded by the events to be described that I really should have written every day to give each day the truth of how it felt on that day. The first week has just been too exhausting. Maybe I would have if things had been different on Thursday.
Wednesday. Generally one of my worst days of the week, so I was really hoping that admin would come through on their promises to help me out. Ummm... nup. I know they promised me the domestic goddess when she comes back from leave but they didn't replace her this arvo. Cinderella was at the dentist and Sleeping Beauty didn't home for a nap so I had 4 kids at the end of the day with me and the 15yo! The one day I want Snow White to sit still she becomes very active and actually gets out of her chair and interacts with the other kids... by helping them with their drinks like she is feeding a baby and dragging them around by their arms. It was sweet and she was trying but it really wasn't helping me much when I didn't have the good quality help to deal with it. I blame the Krispy Kreme doughnut she had for morning tea! (Ok, she only ate half of it, preferring yoghurt and fruit but it was of great interest to all the big people around. It was iced with brown/chocolate? icing a appeared to have more icing, perhaps, it was white and sugary looking through the centre and dripped onto the bottom. It just looked like a normal choc iced doughnut with extra sugar. Must be great living out that way – may I never have to find out!).
After school I went down to see the psych she was a bit busy so I wandered around getting over the last session chatting to people in the senior school area. One of the teachers up there is a very blokey bloke. We have had some great early morning conversations based around How ya goin? Done this? Nup. You? Nah, not yet. Started it? Na. It's so relaxed talking to him compared to stressy women. He was great! He was so positive! So different to some of the bitter, resigned women working there. He had no reason to get me on his side, wasn't pushing a point of veiw about my situation. Said it was a great place to work better than any other school, that first year teaching was hard, and one day it would be easier, to hang in there because I was smart and creative and the school needed me (Awwww!). A little bit of blokey she'll be right really hit the spot. I hate working in an almost all women environment. A few more can do kind of blokes would make me happier.
Spent ages talking to the psych about the week so far. Decided to do some CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) on the pressure I put on myself by expecting myself to be perfect when it is pretty obvious no one else expects this. I guess it's kind of nice that I work in a job that is support by a psychologist and I have the opportunity to sort my own shit out as it affects my work. Probably be good if more people do it but then we'd have to employ her full time!
Thursday. Wasn't looking forward to the staff meeting, it was a bit tense then the Principal came in almost in tears and took B1 out. Then B2 went out and we knew it was bad news. One of the preps in their class apparently died overnight. The aunt had told the bus driver and he had told staff at school. I'm in tears again typing this. She was such a sweet child that I want to put down the good thing I remember about her that make me so sad she is gone. I guess the first thing is that children aren't supposed to die. Even disabled ones. She was happy and healthy yesterday and walking past in the pony walker with B2 on Wednesday. She was usually the first child I'd see each morning. She would reach out her arm and call out to me if I didn't say hello first. She would be waiting in the corridor and some days if I was trying to get my head together I'd stop to chat to her. When I'd change the hall displays out side my room she'd call out and I'd talk to her about what I was doing and bring her over to see. At lunchtime she'd always rather spend time with you than watch the tv. I didn't get to know her well enough to know much more than her 'come here/hello' noises and gestures and now such a bright little spark is gone.
I didn't cope very well, the others knowing this was my first student death picked up the pieces. Dolly took my class and sent me away with a cup of tea to cry. The new AP took over my class for a bit in the second session so I could go talk to the psychologist. They got our usual one and an extra in to talk to people. I cried at her and eventually found out some good ways of telling the kids and dealing with that. (I still haven't told them yet) I guess it brings it home that these are vulnerable kids and the only thing worse would be the possibility of it being one of my students. It reminds me that no matter how much they annoy me, I love them and cannot imagine how I would manage if it happened to one of them. The intensity and depth of feeling I have for these kids frequently surprises me. It will never be just a job.
Friday. A couple of people who weren't at school yesterday were dealing with the news. I still tear up at seeing pictures of her where her bag went every time I come out of my classroom, then I noticed the pictures of her in the hallway - swimming, watching bubbles and balls.
Admin came through and despite not telling me about it, I got more help. A very experienced OT will be in my first session, taken from B1s class who apparently hadn't been told either and wasn't very happy. I only had 3 kids for the day, Snow White is at integration on a Friday and Sleeping Beauty was going to come in at lunch but had been very tired and was still asleep. After yesterday that was worrying me. My sessions weren't great but the counting by tens book that Cinderella is making seems to be a great motivator and she is happy to do it and learning what I want her to. Middle session we tried to do some math but Goldilocks was being herself very loudly and didn't want to be involved so I sent her for a walk around the corridors. I had to get very grumpy with her after throwing and kicking blocks around.
The student's teacher came to see them and it was cool to talk to her. It's nice getting an outsiders perspective of how nice an environment I work in. I think I get so involved in my own misery that I forget how much better this place is than a grungy high school. The student had to do a project so I set her up with making a big book of the one we are using at the moment. She put heaps of work into it and I was so excited it was hard to write some professional sounding comments for her! It was something I would never have found time for but will be great for reading as a class. I'll take some photos and get Cinderella and the others to write a thank you note to send to her.
Lunch was ok but when I came back Goldilocks was on the floor and her walker some distance from her. Not unusual, but when I went to tell her off she was just lying there. Not being naughty and trying to get away, just a yawn – which I've never seen from her and put her head down again. I tried to get her up and she sat and tried to flap. It was the slowest, most pathetic thing I've ever seen from her. She lay down again. She was hot and clammy. She wouldn't say anything. I was worried. I got someone to stay with her and went to find the teachers who'd been on duty. She had been fine and as annoying as usual. Now I was really worried and called the nurse. She didn't like the look of it either, especially for a child not prone to fits. We got her into her pusher and she actually said something. Now she was looking pale and her eyes weren't moving very fast. The nurse called her mum to see if a sudden tired crash was normal and we took her to the hall to see the circus anyhow. She managed an excited flap for the national anthem but not at her usual speed or volume of comments. She started breathing a bit funny, huffing, and holding her jaw like a yawn but not completed. The nurse stayed in the hall but Goldilocks wanted to be near me no sit with her. I think she just watched my face and when I looked alarmed at the breathing change and then later at Goldilocks saying 'Mm.. It's dark in here.' Then mum came to pick her up because none of this was usual for her. After Thursday I wasn't feeling very comfortable with the situation. But the circus was funny and Little Red Riding Hood even managed to keep herself under control to watch it after a minor scream at the start. She didn't even scream at the fire juggling. Cinderella went out the front to help the clowns. She was great, Hg look at this, look at this!
So now I'm still a bit shaky. Going to see Clare Bowditch tonight with a mate and then to a party if it's still going. Have some fun. I need it. Am glad I have the cat, he is great company and comfort. I should stop reading blogs and get on with shopping and cleaning my house. So much for keeping on top of things this term. It's been a hard week. I think I'm doing ok... And I rode my bike (and took the train) twice this week. That was good maybe 3 times next week.