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Parents & Administrators: Teachers Need Your Help now More than Ever!

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I have not always felt this way about students, let alone the teaching profession in general, but, if you do not mind me asking…What is up with high school kids nowadays? I wish I could blame the students for their sense of entitlement, lack of respect and misbehavior, but I can’t. There is, however, a very small percentage of students who are respectful, hardworking and well-behaved and us teachers are truly THANKful. The other percentage of students on the other-hand, well, sorry to say, I can thank their parents and the administration for their behavior. Yup, I said it. 

I never realized how much of an impact a parent has on their child’s behavior and education until I became a mom. I reflect on how I have always raised my daughter and provided her with lots of love. I do not mean to be bias, but she is the sweetest, most thoughtful, empathetic and kindest little girl, and I know I can honestly say, that my parenting has played a major part in how she behaves and performs in school. Now if only I could say the same thing about my students’ parents.

I have been teaching high school Special Education for the past 9 years and based on my own experiences, I have noticed that parents have become less involved, care less and enable their children. Parents support teachers less and less each year. In their eyes, their child can never do any wrong. This attitude makes teachers’ jobs very difficult, stressful and extremely frustrating.

This particular generation of teens lack work ethic, do not take ownership for their behavior and expect grades to be given to them. Why did I “give” you a 64 on your project you ask? No, I did not “give” you a 64, you EARNED it.  

The students feel entitled to run to administration with the belief that they can get their teacher fired or complain ESPECIALLY when their teacher is holding them accountable and have to face consequences for their misbehavior. Now you’re the bully. In their minds they genuinely believe, as do their parents, that they can do no wrong. They continue to believe that they deserve credit for work that they did not do and they KNOW that there are ZERO consequences for misbehavior. They honestly believe that the administrators are their friends and they know that they will only receive a warning.

Cursed the teacher off? Warning. Walked out of class? Warning. Slept in class? Warning. Misbehaved in class? Warning.  

Warning. Warning. Warning.

After school detention, Saturday detention and lunch detention have become a thing of the past. Community service has become an absolute joke and they are lucky if they  even show up.

I also place a lot of blame on the administrators for their lack of discipline, lack of support and their deep-rooted belief that the students are always right.

Ohhh, Jimmy..is your teacher really bullying you in class? Let me investigate this teacher’s behavior and question your classmates.  Let’s get to the bottom of this together.

Are. You. Kidding. Me. Right. Now.

Do you know what REALLY gets to me? Like REALLY drives me nuts? The fact that the administrators are afraid of upsetting parents, especially since the majority of the parents TRULY believe that EVERYTHING is the teacher’s fault.

I will give you a prime example behind the reason why administration are afraid of parents based off one of my encounters with a parent. This year, I called a mom because her child was on his cell phone and was texting another student in my class. My conversation with her went something like this:

Please note: The names that I am about to use are fake in order to protect parenting gone wrong.  #sorrynotsorry

Me: “Hi Mrs. S., this is Mrs.W., I just wanted to  touch base with you regarding Jimmy’s behavior in English.”

Parent: “Um, ok? This is the first time ALL year that I am receiving a phone call like this.”

Me:  *pretends like the parent did not just say that*  “I have noticed a change in Jimmy’s  behavior these past few classes. Today, he was on his cell phone, playing games and texting another student in the same class. He has not been doing his independent reading and his behavior has become very distracting to the other students. I had to redirect him multiple times. I eventually had to move him away from the other students and I took his cellphone.”

Parent: “Very sorry to say, but I find this VERY hard to believe. If this is true, then it is only in YOUR class. Did the other student get their cell phone taken away too?”

Me: *contemplates hanging up* Yes, the other student also received the same consequence. I was hoping you could speak to him regarding this behavior in class.

Parent: “Also, how do you know that he was not reading??”

Me: “Um… well, before I took his cellphone away, he was busy texting and the book was face down on the desk. I had to tell him a few times to put the cell away and read.”

Parent: “Let me ask you this…would YOU read if you were constantly nagged to read? I know I wouldn’t. Sometimes it appears that Jimmy is not reading, when he actually IS reading. How do you know he was texting another boy in class?”

Me: *still contemplates hanging up* *clears throat* “Well, I saw them texting and laughing. Thank you for letting me know how he reads, however, as I informed you, his book was faced down.”

Parent: “You seem very nervous and I can only imagine how you react to the students’ behavior. Don’t you think they are doing this to get a reaction out of you? I am looking at his cellphone bill right now as we speak and it shows that he was not on his cellphone during your class.”

Me: *Fights the urge to hang up* *Patience continues to dwindle* “ I understand your concern, however, I am only informing you of Jimmy’s behavior based on my observation in my class, and I  hope that you can speak with him. I suggest checking the cell phone bill tomorrow morning as it takes about a day to show activity.”

Parent: “Oh, I will and you will be hearing from me tomorrow.” *hangs up phone*

This was one  conversation that I had with a parent VERBATIM. Give or take some other snide remarks that were, I’m not going to lie, quite hurtful!

I am not sure why or when parents began to feel entitled to treat a teacher this way, but sadly, the reality is that 75 % of them do. I can understand why administrators have decided to become more “supportive” and “understanding” but they are truly enabling the parents’ behavior.

Now, I can and probably will eventually write a MUCH more detailed blog post about the how the administrators have contributed to this ongoing epidemic, but I will save you the headache and will only briefly touch upon it. It has become such a problem that I honestly do not know where to begin yet here is a prime example of a conversation I had with a vice principal.

Me: “I was just checking to see that you received my write up for *student’s*  behavior last week? I noticed that he has not received a consequence.”

Vice principal: “Yes, I did receive it and coincidentally just spoke with him today.”

Me: “Oh, ok. Great, thank you. How did it go?”

Vice principal:  “Well, I just gave him a warning. Now,  I know he was disruptive, disrespectful and walked out of your class, however, it could have been that he was having  an “off day. Oh, and before I forget, he said that he felt like you singled him out. Try to be easier on him and reprimand him in private. Let me know if this behavior continues.”

Rigghhhhhhhhhht. An. off. Day. You hit the nail on the freakin’ head.

Note to self: Writing a referral is a  Waste. Of. My. Time. 

Teachers: YOUR TIME IS PRECIOUS.

And THIS, my friends, is exactly WHY teachers are no longer respected, student misbehavior and sense entitlement continues to be an ongoing epidemic.

So, dear fellow teachers, first year teachers and those who are considering entering the teaching profession; it is NOT YOUR fault. You are NOT the problem. NEVER forget all of the reasons why you became a teacher. Most importantly, make it a point to thank the really great kids, supportive parents and administrators. We truly need them the most!

Sincerely yours,

A very frustrated teacher.

 

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Family, Life!, marriage, mental health, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

The Struggle is Real: ADD & Motherhood DO NOT MIX!

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted for my blog and I have a very good reason, I promise you! My very last post was approximately written about 3 years ago, yes, I know unacceptable. But please, I beg of you, there is a valid excuse. I became a mom!  In addition to that I have ADD and to throw another responsibility into the mix, I teach Special Education at the high school level. I know, I know, I’m not the only mom out there who has to juggle a multitude of tasks, but to be honest, it’s fucking hard, time-consuming and stressful as hell and I have the utmost respect for those moms who have their shit together. I would give my left leg to have my shit together.

I’m sure many of you non-super-Pinterest-moms out there most likely cannot relate because you are simply amazing, but at least I know that there are other ADD moms out there who can. I’m really going to focus on maintaining my blog because I really need some ” me time.” I honestly don’t care if that sounds the least bit selfish because as a mom, you need that time. My “me”time usually consists of spending time in the bathroom until my three year old, Emma,  begins banging on the door while screaming          “DON’T LEAVE ME MOMMY!” On the top of her fucking lungs! Like seriously I can’t get a moment to breathe. Where the hell does she think I’m going to go? I’m in the bathroom that’s less than a foot away from your room!

I know being a mom with ADD can be super stressful sometimes, (O.K.–most of the time!) but to be quite frank, I would not change it for the world. I love being a mom and the craziness that comes along with the job keeps me on my toes. My daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

Here is a list of my top ten struggles that I face as an ADD mom!!! I hope many of you can relate!

1.I tend to lose a lot of things! There have been MANY instances when I was supposed to fill out a form for Emma’s daycare and I lost the paper–not once, but a few times! Lets just say that I lose my cell, debit card, keys and anything that is considered important on a daily basis. This is an extremely touchy subject for me because losing things causes so much stress in mine and Emma’s life.

2.I am very forgetful! I might forget to bring something to a party at Emma’s school. Sorry kids, I know I signed up to bring in the juice boxes and plates, looks like you will be drinking tap water and eating caveman style! #bannedfromclassparties.  I tend to forget to sign her in and out on the computer at her school in the mornings. I can’t tell you how many times the owner reminds me how this is a safety issue in addition to his way of tracking whether or not I pick her up later than I am supposed to so that he can charge me an additional 5 dollars. I am living off a teacher’s salary for christ’s sake, can’t you cut me a damn break? Those 5 dollars add up quickly. Oh, and filling my gas tank? That is another nightmare. I found myself stranded in the middle of a major highway most recently because I forgot to fill my gas tank!

3.  Did I mention forgetfulness? Don’t get me started. This causes me to be late for EVERYTHING.I lose my keys, forget to grab Emma’s lunchbox or backpack on our way to school in the morning. I have caused us to be locked out of the house for hours. Then when I go to get the spare key that is hidden outside (which my husband hid purposely to prevent this), I suddenly remember that I forgot to put it back in the hiding spot! I forget to pack certain things that Emma may need for school (show and tell items, bathing suit, etc.). Thank god my daughter has a much better memory that I do, she is always there to remind me! “Listen Em, during show and tell, just show everyone your imaginary toy. Then when they say that they cannot see it, tell them they’re nuts). LOL

4.I tend to let her down sometimes. I  forget making promises or plans with her. I am lucky to have such an understanding three-year-old who has developed empathy for my disability.

5.My disorganization and messiness is rubbing off on my daughter and I fear this will continue as she grows up. I have gotten much better over the years because I have learned to stay on top of my piles. I started to put things away throughout the day. However, Emma does not understand the concept of putting her toys away when she is done playing with them nor does she understand the concept of  keeping her room clean. It looks like an explosion went off in her bedroom. There are piles everywhere. Can you say recipe for disaster?

6.Sometimes, I am easily agitated (especially if I forgot to fill my prescription) and when I feel that way, I tend to ignore her or get mad at the smallest things. Especially when she hangs all over me or asks me for something a million times. I fucking LOSE IT!

 7.I tend to lose interest at times when I am engaged in an activity with Emma. This causes her to feel like I am not interested in spending time with her. “Ok, mommy will color with you for a minute.” (one minute into coloring)….. “How about a puzzle now? I have to go do laundry. Sorry kid, looks like you’re on your own.”

8.She really wants a brother or sister, and although I would love to provide her with that, I know I won’t be able to handle the responsibility of having two children. “Sorry Em, it looks like you will have to rely on your cousins for companionship.” Thanks ADD!!

9.Food shopping & cooking!!! I am having some serious anxiety just thinking about this! I could write an entire post solely on the hatred I feel towards food shopping and cooking. THANK GOD my husband is the complete opposite and is like Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen. #lovemyironchef  I fucking hate food shopping and cooking. I just vomitted a little bit in my mouth thinking about it. My heart is literally pounding as a I write this post. When my husband tells me to go food shopping (after we have literally eaten everything in the house), I grit my teeth, nod and smile forcefully. As soon as I enter the grocery store, I am overcome with an instant feeling of panic and confusion. Feelings of anger consume my mind and I shoot nasty texts to my husband. “Why are you making me do this? Is this some sort of punishment?” He has learned to ignore those texts because it is my way of coping. Since I have no system or sense of organization, I just start tossing shit in the cart. When I go to checkout, and the cashier asks for coupons… my answer is always the same “yea.. uhmmmm, I really have to start using those.. if I could only get my shit together”then the cashier asks if I have my savings card… I realize that I lost that a long time ago so I plug in my old cell phone number to retrieve it… because I was too lazy to update the account. And cooking? Do not get me started… Lets just say, it is an absolute nightmare.

10.The one thing that really SUCKS about being a mom and teacher with ADD is getting myself and a toddler ready in the morning, oh, and FORGETFULNESS. Can we say fucking nightmare? My morning consists of hitting the snooze button a thousand times (literally) and rushing around the house like a madman. Dressing my daughter when she is half asleep and having to run to Wawa to buy Emma’s lunch because, well, I didn’t stay on top of the food shopping. On my way out, I realize I forgot Emma’s backpack and run in to get it only to realize I removed my key off my key ring the other day so that I could allow my car to run while I just ran in for something else I forgot. I then go to grab the spare that my husband hid only to find that I forgot to put that back. Sorry Em, looks like you won’t have your blanket or spare clothes today…. make sure you don’t crap your pants and maybe wearing your winter coat is a nice replacement for your blanket during nap-time.

And so here you have it! Just a list that I hope many of you can relate to so that you know you are not alone and that the #struggleisreal

Never forget: You are wonderful and you are doing an amazing job!!!

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, blogging, disabilities, Life!, Uncategorized

My Real Excuse for Lack of Blog Posts….

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I apologize to all of my followers for my lack of blog posts, but so much has been going on in my life that posting has been the least that has been on my mind. It is crazy how much your life can change so drastically in the matter of a few months! But what is my real excuse for my lack of blog posts you ask?

Well, as I have previously shared with you on here a few months ago… I was diagnosed with Bipolar and ADD about 5 years ago, and was on medication during that time frame. (Yea, yea, I am crazy and proud of it!) After I lost my job and was beyond depressed (which I did not think was possible since I was on damn antidepressants!), I found out I am pregnant! Yup, that is right! As of right now, I am 19 weeks pregnant and am due at the end of April! Back in August, I was feeling nauseous and tired as hell and I just figured it was because of my depression. That was until I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive! The next day I stopped taking all of my meds cold turkey!!! I know that is dangerous to do, but there is no way I was going to be taking Lamictal, Vyvanse and Lexapro while pregnant! I would be a horrible mother if I fed that to my fetus!! lol. I made the decision that it is more important to have a healthy baby born birth defect free rather than give birth to a baby who is dependent on psychiotic drugs with birth defects. That would absolutely kill me inside!  I have decided that I am strong enough to fight my depression for 9 months for the sake of the baby’s health.

I am not going to lie though.. Not being on my medication has changed my life drastically. Not only does my body have to fight having a mental illness and adjust being med. free… It also has to adjust to the rollercoaster ride of emotions and the crazy change in hormones that coincide with pregnancy. Talk about a freaking nightmare.

As you can see, it has been about 5 months since I have actually posted, and this is because my days pretty much have consisted of sleeping, eating and crying. When you are not on medication when your brain really needs it, it is definitely tough. Medication makes me normal. It also gives me my life back, When I was on my medication, I looked forward to blogging, knitting, photography and creating jewelry. However, when you are a bipolar pregnant woman, you could really care less about anything. The only thing I really cared about was taking care of my growing baby inside me which I truly feel is a gift from god. You know what? I truly feel that god gives us the gift of a child when we truly need it. I have seen this happen so many times to a number of people in my life. It took my husband and I one year until we got pregnant, and it could not have been at a better time.

After losing a job that I loved, I was fighting depression, and knowing that I have something to live for truly gives me a reason to wake up everyday.This baby gives me a reason to live, to take care of myself and to keep looking forward.  I thank god everyday for this blessing.

I only have about four more months left until I can truly feel like myself again, and I am proud of how far I have come. Having a mental illness is definitely a daily struggle, and I have to fight it in order to have a normal day. I never realized that until I saw the sadness in my husband’s eyes when he desperately said to me ” I miss Jess. I miss your smile, your laugh and your happiness.” “I am proud of you for fighting your bipolar and ADD without your medicine, but it has been so tough.” He even made a good point. He said “You cannot stop living your life. You used to laugh so much and smile. You used to enjoy posting on your blog!” He continued, “You are stronger than this! You cannot just sleep all of the time and do nothing. Whether you like it or not, you are a mother right now.”

I looked down at my stomach and it had not clicked in my mind before that moment. He was right. Although the baby is not physically in my arms just yet, I became a mother the moment I conceived and what kind of mother just wastes their days feeling sorry for themselves? I made a promise right then and there that I would fight harder for my husband and our baby.

And so, here I am feeling better after our chat and finally accomplishing a task that I would have normally done when I was feeling like myself. Although I still have a few more months to go before I am myself again, I think the more I fight my illness, keep a normal routine, and do the things I once loved, I will be able to find happiness again without having to rely on medication to alter the chemicals in my brain. Well, there you have it. Prior to this post, my real excuse for my lack of blog posts is all because I have been fighting my depression and Bipolar, but obviously not hard enough. I think this blog post truly shows my commitment to fighting this illness on my own while I attempt to become normal again and gain my life back.

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Life!, mental health, Uncategorized

Some People Call me Crazy

Throughout my life, I have been called crazy, nuts, and a head case–not only once, but multiple times. I have been told that I am “not all there” and  am “off my rocker.” I used to be very offended by those statements, however, presently I do not take the comments personally. I actually consider them to be compliments and I feel sorry for those people who do not understand mental illnesses or disabilities.

Throughout my entire life, especially during my teenage years, I knew that something  was not right and  I just could not put my finger on it. I struggled with depression, bulimia, anxiety and anger. I just thought it was a normal stage to go through in one’s life or that all teens experienced it. When I was 18 years old, I got so depressed to the point where I was desperate to escape the pain that I was feeling. I know that this may sound completely nuts, but sometimes the pain would be unbelievably unbearable that it seemed to be the easy way out.

As an adult, I would never even consider doing that and it has never once been a thought that has crossed my mind.When I was admitted into a hosital at 18, for a program for teens who struggle with depression, I can definitely say that I  learned a lot there. It was definitely a learning experience that I will never forget.

What contributed to my road to recovery was getting to know the other kids that were there and listening to their stories. I realized that I was sane, and that I was not the only one who was going through this difficult time. I also realized that my situation was not as bad as the other kids’ situations. Although some of the kids had better home lives than I did;their depression was worse because some of them would cut themselves. .

This experience made me realize that certain events that I had experienced in my life triggered my depression. I could not deal with the fact that I was adopted, that my parents got divorced, my mom’s death, and the neglect and abuse that I had to deal with from my adoptive mother. I also had to experience being kicked out of my father’s house after my mom died. I look back and see everything that I went through and am very proud of the obstacles that I had overcome and the accomplishments that I acheived on my own without the help of any parents. Many people doubted me, but I wanted to prove them wrong.

I ended up proving those wrong who doubted me by putting myself through college, graduated Magna Cum Laude, paid for my own apartment, worked my butt off and saved $30,000 dollars from waitressing ( I became obsessed with work, especially since I have ADD). I was sick of feeling sorry for myself, worked hard to fight my depression, and kept a positive attitude that life is worth living and that I will be successful one day. I even paid for my wedding, got married and bought a house at 25 years old.

One important lesson that I learned throughout all of this is that if you want something bad enough you can achieve anything. All that you have to do is  set your mind to it. I did exactly just that and became a certified Special Education English Teacher, got a job at a high school, and held the job for three years. I was able to help many of my students who were going through the same experiences that I was going through as a teen. I even saved some of my students’ lives.

Although my job unfortunately ended in the way that I did not want it to, I will never let that get the best of me. It only makes me want to work harder towards my new goals. This is because I know that I can do anything despite my disability and mental illness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to help so many of my students’ realize their strengths and that their life is worth living.

This takes a lot of courage for me to write about this online for all of the world to see, and you can think I am crazy if you want..lol…However, if there is someone out there who reads this and it helps them realize that they are not the only one who experiences this, then I will know that I have helped someone. I get very disappointed in those people who associate mental illness with being crazy or a disability with stupidity. What makes me even angrier is when people say to me, “you graduated college, there is no way in the world that you have ADD.” OR “That is just an excuse for not being organized and your inability to complete tasks.” Well, as far as I am concerned that is complete bullshit. I would do anything to be “normal” (whatever that is!). No one chooses to have a mental illness or disability, and I am not ashamed of it.

When I met my husband, that is when my life started to get better and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. He has always been supportive and has always believed in me. He has accepted me for who I am and says that he loves me “craziness and all.” In my early twenties, I refused to go to counseling or take medication, this is because I was in denial that I had bipolar and ADD.

During my first year of teaching at the age of 25, my ADD and bipolar took the best of me since my workload increased. You see, being a first year teacher is difficult in itself, now throw on having ADD and bipolar! Talk about total chaos. The workload caused me to have bad anxiety, which led me to becoming depressed. On top of that, I dealt with criticism from my coworkers because I was “always on the go” and spoke very fast. I hated the fact that they would always tell me to “Calm down,” and asked “are you ok?”I just wanted to scream “I am fine damn it! And I do not want to f*&*Ng repeat myself!”

I would consistently be gossipped about and received dirty looks. When our budget did not pass during my first year, I feared losing my job. I even heard that teachers were saying that I should get fired because I am unorganized. I thought “wow, that’s low. They should get fired for being complete As#$*&#@.”  Thankfully getting fired did not occur and it was my breaking point. I would not let my coworkers’ get the best of me because they do not understand mental illnesses and disabilities. I truly felt sorry for them because they never EVER tried to get to know me as a person. I thought to myself, “How the hell can they be in the education field when they do not understand differences?”

With the daily stress that I encountered as a Special Ed. Teacher and my own struggles, I needed someone to speak to. I used to speak to the school psychologist for advice when I was dealing with anxiety and depression. He would always be there waiting to listen with a box of tissues. He was the one who said “Jess, do not take this offensively because you are a hard worker and outstanding teacher, but were you ever diagnosed with ADD?” I told him that I was not but informed him of my depression, anxiety and struggles throughout my schooling. He said “intelligent and creative people such as yourself, struggle with these symptoms as well” He then suggested that I speak to a psychologist outside of school for a diagnosis.

At first, I was offended and thought to myself “who is this guy to tell me that I should get a psychological evaluation?” “What does he think I am, crazy?” That night I put a lot of thought into it and realized that I was in denial and that he was only trying to help me. I knew that he was always there to support me and helped me to believe in myself. It was the first time in my life that I chose to seek help. At 25 years old, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ADD, and Bipolar I disorder (manic depressive).

I then was put on an antidepressant and ADD medication. I have never EVER believed in medication, but let me tell you, it has changed my life. I can achieve more throughout my day. I do not care what other people think of me, and I worry less. My mind was always consumed with thoughts of worry, suspicion, hopelessness and anxiety.I always told myself that people were out to get me and that they did not like me. On the medication, I started to take better care of myself, became much more confident, and my depression and anxiety went away. I even stopped crying at the drop of a hat.

Medicine has changed my life completely and it has  helped me to feel “normal.” For once in my life, I  can actually say that I love my life and look forward to the next day.  It truly has changed my life and solidified that I do have a mental illness and disability. Although the medicine does not change my rapid speech, inability to be organized, and arriving to places on time, I would take that over anxiety and depression anyday.

I am extremely thankful for the day that the school psychologist gave me that advice and for my husband for dealing with my angry outbursts and the days where I went “Crazy” and cursed at him and punched walls and threw things. Not at him of course. LOL. I know…. pretty nuts right? He is a gem among gems and I can never thank god enough for having this amazing man enter my life. For the past 9 years he has supported me and is the most loyal person I know. I hope that if there is anyone out there who is reading this that does not understand ADD and mental illness, I hope this gives you some insight and a better understanding. I also hope that some readers find that they can relate to this, and  that it helps those think twice before calling anyone crazy.

Well, this took a lot for me to share, but if I can help one person out there, then it is worth it and I have achieved my goal. Thank you to those who took the time to read this post. It means a lot to me.

OH, and by the way… You are not crazy! lol

~ Jess ~

Life!, Uncategorized

Any ideas for working online?

 

I have been interested in working online. Does anyone on here know of any paid online jobs? Since I am a certified English teacher, I was looking into online teaching/tutoring. I would also like to sell my homemade jewelry online too. If anyone has any or knows of any online jobs, please let me know. Or even if you know of any good sites for selling handmade jewelry/ crafts. Sometimes it is difficult to weed out the scams vs. legit sites.

I am interested in online jobs for : tutoring, teaching, writing, selling crafts or blogging

I am kinda desperate for work since I just lost my job! My ideal situation would be to work online so that I can start a family.

I hope some of you bloggers have some suggestions! Anything would be greatly appreciated!

Life!, Uncategorized

My dream car…….

I have always loved the old Volkswagen Bugs…..I have been searching online for one that I can afford, and that I adore.. If anyone reads this, will you be so kind enough as to keep an eye open for me? I am looking to spend between 1000-2000 dollars. I know, I most likely will not find a great one at that price, but you never know! I especially like the convertible style…

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, disabilities, Life!, mental health, Teaching, Uncategorized

A Blessing in Disguise?

Ever since I received notification of my non-renewal and not being granted tenure, I felt sorry for myself. I have felt like a failure and depressed; especially since these are feelings that I have dealt with throughout my entire life. When you have
ADD, you always have to prove yourself, work harder than most people and have a difficult time fitting in.This has always been my experience, and I feel like that may have contributed to their decision.

Since I was not given a reason for my nonrenewal, and being that I have to finish my contract until June 12, I become more and more sad as the year comes to an end. This year, was by far my favorite year. I love my students and have an excellent rapport with them. They are definitely an amazing group of kids. Being non-renewed with excellent observations, and no negative letters in my file, has left me surprised beyond belief. As well as numerous parents, students and faculty.

I saw this coming when a director, out of nowhere, told me I was screwing up, and that I need to learn how to listen and stop interrupting people. I took it upon myself to tell him I was diagnosed with ADD. Then a coworker of mine was spreading rumors that I showed a parent her negative comments about students that she posted on her Facebook Page. First of all, I do not have Facebook and second of all, I have better ways to use my time. This particular teacher made my life miserable my first year as my mentor and continued to do so during my second year. I know for a fact that I am not the only one. She is also friendly with this director… hmm.. Can we say politics? Oh yea, and this teacher, who is tenured, did not get into trouble because she has tenure.

Besides all of that crap, I keep obsessing over coming up with different reasons why this has happened. I think “What could I have done differently?” “Did I do something that I was not told about?” “Why do they not like me?” “Did I not work hard enough?” I mean, I know I taught Special Education (high school, nonetheless), taught the extended school year program for three years, tutored for the district and served as a Student Government Advisor for two years. I guess I needed to do more?

Today, I came to a new realization. Yes, I know I made small mistakes along the way. Small mistakes that have nothing to do with my classroom teaching. I know that teachers make small mistakes along the way, but I feel that this director was just out to get me. Despite that fact that I tutored any student that he wanted me to tutor, no matter the disability or level of difficulty. I tried to please him in anyway, and was always up for the challenge.  I feel like they just used me for three years; which was solely based on one person’s opinion of me (someone who has never read my perfect reviews, and has not even seen me teach) and then decided to not renew/ nor grant me tenure.

To me, it is not the “not getting tenure” part that bothers me, because I could care less about that aspect of teaching. This is  because in a way, I think tenure protects bad teachers. There are some bad teachers in my school, and I am not mentioning names or my district but there are, and nothing is ever done about it. A teacher made fun of students on Facebook, a teacher is known for showing movies, and a teacher arrives late or shows up whenever she pleases to school. I know of a teacher in my school who belittles the Special Ed. students and gossips about other teachers. ETC.ETC.ETC. The list goes on.

In my school, the teachers are broken up into cliques. It reminds me of being in high school. There are the jocks (the history teachers who coach sports), the “popular girls” who hang out with the jocks and also coach sports, there are the teachers who gossip to fit in, the nerdy teachers, the loners and the outcasts etc. Personally, some teachers have made me feel like an outcast and never took it upon themselves to try to get to know me as a person. I decided to avoid the teacher’s lounge because of the endless amount of gossip that goes on, and the cynical teachers who hate their jobs.All of that gossip and cynicism about other teachers and students just makes me plain old depressed. I enjoy eating in my classroom and I keep my door open for those students who want to study, get extra help or use my computers during my lunch. I would rather have my students come visit me than any of the teachers.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends. A select few who have never labeled me, excluded me or made me feel like an outcast. They have entered this profession for all of the same reasons that I did. Not for the summers off, or to leave at 2. If you are a good teacher, you know that your job does not end at 2. I also entered it to teach kids and  touch their lives. I have formed bonds with about 5 teachers that I can trust and go to for support, which in itself, is enough for me. I wish there were more nonjudgemental people in this world like them.

After obsessing over this predicament, I have decided to look at this in a much more positive light. I think that this may have been a blessing in disguise. Maybe this is god’s way of telling me that there are bigger and better things out there for me. Maybe I was only supposed to be a teacher for three years, and now it is time to move on. I know this hurts, but sometimes I have to trust in god. I was never a religious person until my mom passed away, and when my life at that point as a teenager, started to snow ball into a series of difficult circumstances. However, I look back and I see all that I have accomplished on my own and it has only made me a stronger person. If I was able to overcome losing my mom at 18, being homeless, living on my own, living in a house with fleas before my mom died, having an emotionally/verbally abusive boyfriend at the time, and always having to deal with Dyfus, I say that I turned out pretty good. I strongly feel that this was god’s plan and he watched out for me.

I think at this moment, I need to trust in him. I need to trust that he has a new plan for me. I know that I put 150 % into my job (which is much more than most teachers put into), and so I know, and many will agree, that this was the result of politics in education.  God probably feels that this effort should be put into a new profession or school where my efforts will not be taken for granted/ go unrecognized.

This most definitely has to be a blessing in disguise, and I have to learn how to prevent myself from over-analyzing the situation. I need to look ahead more positively and trust that god will lead the way. I am going to finish out this school year to the best of my ability and look towards the future. I am sure that I will overcome this obstacle and will be able to look back and be proud that I overcame the situation.  I also need to realize that I had no control over it. Yes, one person may have been out to get me, however, not everyone in life is going to appreciate your hard work, but I am sure that there is someone who will someday. Whether it be a boss, a class, or a new employer, there will be someone who deserves and will not take my dedication for granted.I will not look at this as a loss, but as many lessons learned, and three years of experience. I will also know that I touched the lives of many amazing kids.