Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Sh*t, where to begin?

Things have been going down hill this year. Friday, I took the day off to get myself organised and try to feel like I had my sh*t together. Then I get a phone call that another student has died. This time it was expected but it doesn't make it much easier. This sent me into a nasty downward spiral.

The weekend wasn't pretty and I am having most of this week off work to get myself together again. I don't know how this started, maybe the stress of a new job in a stressful field, lack of support when I started, difficulty of dealing with very emotional circumstances and connections, exhausting my natural reserves of coping ability... I don't know.

What I do know is that last term I made the decision not to run away from this. So, it has lead to me needing more help to get through it but I think in the long run it is a healthier option. I could keep running all my life, when I hit that wall, but for some reason I don't want to this time. Under all the pain that may be circumstance, maybe my biology, I like the job I have and think things will get better.

Maybe I'm foolhardy?

PS: Sleeping Beauty is in hospital again. Same as last time, well sedated. I am not hugely worried but long term it's not a happy senario.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lice not so nice

It's been a good weekend for washing... I've done all the bedding etc and really hope that I've caught the little beasties before they can consider a full scale outbreak! Yep, one of my kids has head lice and after itching at the thought, I decided to take steps to eradicate! I only found a couple of dead adults and maybe a few eggs - once you start scraping cells from your scalp it's a bit hard to tell and really hard to check your own hair to see if there are any still clinging on to your hair... Sigh. The joys of working with children. At least now they have stuff based on essential oils available and preventive sprays with less of the same stuff... I think I'll keep using that on a regular basis as this is the third time kids in my class have had head lice given to them by siblings.

Other things this week...

Felt great this weekend as my week was quite quiet. Goldilocks was sick and off school for three days making my life very quiet. Snow White had an appointment and then was off sick and Sleeping Beauty is barely there anyway.

To be honest I had a bit of a sook this week and it was all about me... I had a wee freak out about maybe, perhaps, possibly teaching actually being what I am good at and enjoy and something I may want to commit to for a bit... It's hard to give up being directionless after so many years, it requires angst to make a big change like that. I hate this growing up thing.

Erk... my cat has bad breath even if he is adorably cute.

The change in my self doubt level and sooky-sooky-la-la level occurred with two events. The Domestic Goddess, whom I admire greatly as a teacher, says she always leaves my class on a Wednesday feeling inadequate... This wasn't enough in itself to shake me from my self doubt, because I didn't understand why. When, with great exasperation, she gave me a run down of my lesson in edu speak I suddenly thought, wow! I did all that? I did, didn't I? My lesson was pretty good. It hasn't done me any good people telling me I'm good when I can't see how. As I still feel like I don't know what I'm doing, the compliments were defeated by my self doubt. The concrete evidence worked. I can make things good instinctively, I just need some more knowledge to see it. Yay for having a mentor type person able to do that for me! I must remember to tell her this next week and thank her.

The sook undoer was talking with the school psychologist. The important bit I took from our conversation about growing up and direction was the thought that even tough my job has presented good and bad sides, I really care about it. This has got to be better (even the bad bits) than all the jobs I haven't given a stuff for. I've been good at them, but never really cared. Good and bad has to beat apathy and boredom.

Had a meeting with my new official mentor, the new AP, and the principal during the week. It was good even though I was still sooky and full of self doubt, I have no concerns about having a job there next year and they seem very keen to accommodate my desires if I wish to move to a different bit of the school. Good to know... although at the time when they asked directly what I wanted to do next year I just whined that I didn't know.

I bought a dishwasher on eBay and my life feels more in control already and the house is tidier, the garden is blooming and the sun was shining. All good.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Because she is 6.

That is the most common reply to any questions I ask about the behaviour of my students. However, it may also be the reason that last Friday Cinderella brought me a posy of flowers in from lunchtime play. Awwwwwww!

This week has been a bit of an exhausting blur. I probably shouldn't have gone back on Wednesday. Not really well enough to face the demands of a day at school. All teaching is hard work but mine is physically very demanding. By Friday I was zonked and got quite cranky at assembly. Made Little Red Riding Hood cry by telling her to be quiet when she was already in a fragile state, rather than just being naughty, will have to have a chat to Cinderella about being rude by not clapping other people's achievements etc., and on top of that had to wrestle Goldilocks for at least half the time. She was quite good and will improve, but it's not that interesting and she needs more physical stimulation than sitting for 45 minutes will give her. I hate being Ms Crankypants!

Snow White only managed one day this week, being sick herself and Sleeping Beauty was only in for half a day on Wednesday and a third on Friday. SB did well though, was very excited to be back and very vocal. The use of PECS is going well despite very little input from my speechie (yeah, I'm a little disappointed about that). She was getting grumpy at the computer, so I handed her the book and she grabbed a picture of her lunchbox. I undid her seatbelt and told her to go to her table and sit down whilst getting the trainee who helps in that session to get her lunch out. SB sat and ate some cheese sticks - no dramas. It was great that we could make that progress without too much of a issue. I hope we can make it work with toileting too. I hate having to put the seatbelts on any of my kids but I don't have enough help to do otherwise in the classroom safely. At least this gives her more opportunity to tell us what she wants.

The cat is the best addition to my life this year and we are learning ways of sharing the lap between the computer and the snoozing cat - with me still being able to type...

Another thing I am thinking about this weekend - other than making books about recent events that reinforce Dolch 1 words - is the emotional cost of teaching in this environment and whether it is worth it. I hear so much about how crap first year teaching is, from so many sources, that I think (hope) next year will be better. This is assuming with 18 kids leaving the senior school and only a handful coming in that they will have a job for me when my contract ends. I think no matter where I taught, even if it were at a high school teaching science, I would be plagued with the want to be better at it. This can be a good thing in that I will continue to learn and improve, but I need to find ways of lessening the self doubt and damaging perfectionism. If there is a job, I will give this another year to improve. If they want to keep me, I am going to push hard for them to make team teaching happen for me so I have someone to learn from and to take some of the pressure off. That's the plan this week.

I haven't even started dealing with my registration dramas yet... won't think about that now.

The Domestic Goddess reckons I should have a school free Sunday. I'll try, but if I catch up with friends they always ask and if I'm at home alone it just creeps in. I will try.

PECS: Picture Exchange Communication System

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Ok, so this happened last Thursday and I was so happy I could have burst! It's taken a while but after my grumpy episode, it feels like a big bright yellow up yours! It goes all the way around the primary school and just beyond our doors. It has so many great possibilities for mobility and left/right concepts. Everyone was buzzing when it suddenly appeared. I feel really proud that I have been able to make change.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Took my first sick day yesterday (and did it again today). I should have done it last term but at that point I was worried that if I took a day off I wouldn't come back. After a weekend on the couch, it had to happen.

It's hard leaving the the kids to someone else. Really hard. I guess I'm just a big control freak or really believe that they (they who?) will find out I'm no good and any Tom, Dick or Harriette could do my job better.

What I really wanted to write about today was the emotional journey of teaching... but with the antibiotics and painkillers my brain isn't working quite as it should, so I won't. If it were just a sicky I was taking today then I would feel justified in taking the time to reflect on my teaching practice.

What I did do today to get off the couch and convince myself that I was well enought o go back to work tomorrow was drive out to Monash and get some info on applying for a Masters of Ed in special and inclusive ed. I must be mad!