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.

Friends, Life!, Uncategorized

Why I left Facebook….

Image result for facebook funny

If I were to write a letter to Facebook (lets pretend it is an actual person) explaining why I no longer have it in my life, this is what the letter would look like: (lol)

Dear Facebook,

I am deeply sorry for not returning, however, my life without you has been much better. I had originally  left Myspace for you because you had made my life much more easier and convenient. There were some good reasons for having you in my life. You encouraged me to keep in contact with family and reunite with old friends. I was able to save money on stamps and envelopes since I had the luxury of being able to send out group invitations for events. If I did not feel up to speaking with anyone, I could post a status so that people would know that I was still alive. I could show off my photography and keep people ” in the know” as to my every single move. Life was good.

Then, just like with any other relationship, things went sour.

You made me realize just  how much I was missing out on in life by simply reading other peoples’ statuses. You start to feel depressed when you see that your friends went to the Dominican Republic without you. Which makes you realize just how truly lame your life actually is because you are currently on Facebook (no offense) reading other people’s statuses while they are meeting hot Dominicans.

You were way too demanding. Too much of my time was spent being dedicated to you when I could have been doing other things. I was scared that it was turning into an addiction. You know you have a problem when you start Facebooking Stalking. (if anyone is reading this– you know you did it! you were a victim of Facebook stalking!! lol)

You also made me realize how many friends I did not have. After a little comparing and contrasting, you start to notice other people with 500 friends, and then you realize you only have 100, which starts to make you feel like a loser. But, hey, you reminded me of this everyday.

You were high maintenance. I could not understand why I had to keep you posted of my every move via status postings. Can we say demanding? This only encouraged stalkers to enter into my life. I mean, do people really need to know when I take a shower or walk my dog? Keeping up with the statuses were time consuming. Then you wanted me to “check in?” Wayyyyyy to take away all of my freedom.

I need consistency in my life, and you are not consistent. Trying to keep up with your new appearance was difficult to adjust to. Why couldn’t you just remain the same? Now my life had to be broken down into a timeline for you! Really? A timeline? no comment.

I think what made me truly end it with you, Facebook, was when you constantly threw it in my face when my friends were mad at me.  Once I logged on and saw that I was unfriended, it always made me furious.Especially when they got to do the unfriending first! Oh, the agony!  It seemed as though you took pride in that. I also could never understand why you always encouraged me to befriend every person who I have met throughout my entire life. I mean, really. Do I really need to become friends with my hairdresser? the mailman? I felt like I was constantly competing with other people as to who had more friends. So befriending anyone and everyone seemed like the cool way to make my friend circle bigger.

This pretty much sums up why I  can no longer have you in my life, my dearest Facebook. It was nice having you in my life while it lasted, but I am happy to have my privacy and freedom back. I am sure you will be fine since you have a million admirers. Maybe one day I will find it in my heart to reactivate.

Sincerely,

Jess

Family, Life!

What is it like being adopted?

Image result for adoption someecards

I have always wondered what it must be like to have grown up with parents that you can call your own. I know how silly this must sound, but this is something that I have always wondered about since the moment that I was told that I was adopted.

When you are a little kid, you are not really sure what being adopted exactly means, but you believe your adopted mother when she says “You are special, Jess.” “God wanted us to have you.” I remember thinking, “Wow, that is so cool, I was chosen!” Then as you grow up and you learn more about the world around you, your childhood innocence begins to fade ever so slightly.

Going food shopping was a nightmare. I used to look for a resemblance in any couple that passed me in the aisle. I had this plan that I would boldly walk up to them, tap them on the shoulder and say “Exxxxxxcusseeee me, arrrrreeee youuuuu, my real parents?” However, my fear of strangers would kick in and that boldness would subside. As I became a teenager, that need to find my real parents turned into a feeling of “How the hell could you give up your own child?” Then the rebellion kicked in.

As the years passed, I always had that question in the back of my mind. Actually…. many questions.

When I was in high school, my feelings about being adopted would resurface when I would get into a fight with my adopted mother. Unfortunately, I would use my anger about being adopted as a weapon to hurt my mother when she made me angry. When she used to say “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it.” I would painfully throw back an “Actually, mom, if I am not mistaken, you did not bring me into this world. You just signed the papers” This was followed by a “You ungrateful (followed with a string of profantities)” from my mom. Then from there, I knew to hide at one of my friend’s houses.

Now, I do not want to get into the details of what happened after I made that hurtful statement directed towards my mother. But lets say the aftermath of that statement was not pretty. Lets just say that my mom was an old school italian mother who was born and raised in the Bronx.

Although I loved my mother very much (she passed away when I was 18), I took out my anger about being adopted on her. I don’t know why, but I think sometimes,we do this to the ones that we love or feel the most comfortable with, and I do regret it.

In my early twenties, I had the desire to reach out to the adoption agency. I had always promised my mom that I would never find my biological parents because I considered her to be my real mom. She never discouraged the search, but I knew deep down it hurt her. The thought that I wanted to meet the actual people who gave me up.

The truth is, I did not want to search for them because I wanted to start my life over with my “real” parents, but I, like many other adopted people out there,just want to close that chapter of our lives. You just want to put a face to the image of your parents that you have conjured up in your mind.You want to make sure your parents are not serial killers or something. Thankfully mine are not.

I am going to save my experiences of what it was like to meet my biological mother for another posting, but lets just say that it was a wild roller coaster ride.It was a pretty cool experience. Not what I had experienced,and it came with some dissappointments, but it was worth it.

blogging, Family, Life!, marriage, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

When are you truly ready to have kids?

My husband and I went out to dinner last night and he looked at me with sincerity in his eyes and stated, out of the blue, “I want to start having kids this summer.” Now, notice this was not posed in the form of a question as to whether or not I am ready just yet to be a mom. It was a “I do not care anymore whether or not you are ready to be a mom, you will give me a god damn child now whether you like it or not” kinda statement. I have been avoiding this discussion and hoping that he would “forget” somehow until I was eventually ready. Well, I was obviously in denial because apparently it is always on his mind since his biological clock it ticking.

To give you a little background, my husband is five years older than I am and has been ready to be a father for the past five years. He has been patiently waiting and has decided that this summer we MUST try to have a baby, no questions asked. Now notice how he has already decided that it is this summer that we will try. I ,on the other-hand, have decided that this summer just is not yet my time. We have been together for 9 years total and have been married for 3 years. We have a beautiful house and both have well paying jobs. The foundation, love and support is there, so there really should not be any question as to whether or not we are ready. Financially, yes, we are ready. Emotionally, yes, we are ready. However, there is something deep down inside me that tells me that I am just not ready yet.

I just cannot exactly place my finger on my reasoning behind why I am not ready. My husband and I started to get into a heated argument last night and it made me feel very guilty. I feel like I should give him exactly what he wants because he is older and we can afford to start a family. My husband loves me,and I know that we would make outstanding parents. So, I really do not know what is preventing me from starting our family. I have decided to compile a list as to why I may not be ready. I wonder if anyone has been through this kind of predicament,and if so, what was the ending result?

These are my reasons:

1. I work full time and already have a difficult time between juggling the responsibilities of being a wife, taking care of our home and keeping up with the demands of being a full time teacher.

2.I am fearful that I will screw up and disappoint my husband when I am a mom.

3.I want to go back to school to get my masters degree.

4.I love to work and if I was a stay at home mom I would lose my mind.

5.I do not want anyone else watching my child while I am working. This would mean that I would have to hire a nanny, and then I would miss out on all of the things that you look forward to when you are a parent: your baby’s first word, first step, etc. etc. I would not be able to live with myself knowing that my child’s nanny was able to witness that before I did. I also wouldn’t want to have to tell my child that I don’t know what their first word was because I was not there to witness it or that their first word was nanny.

6.I do not feel as of right now I am healthy enough to become pregnant. I have heartburn and allergies and I am over weight. I would like to take some time to lose weight and to become healthy before we begin trying.

7.You have to be completely selfless when you are a parent, and I feel as though right now I am not ready to give up my life. I know that may sound selfish, but that does not mean that when I am ready that I will not be selfless because I know I will give my child everything that they need.

8.I think I am just fearful of going through the process of child birth and of becoming a mom.

9.I am fearful of the pains of childbirth!

These are the reasons as to why I am just not ready at this moment to start having children. Now,I feel guilty not giving my husband what he wants, and he and his family constantly question me as to when I am going to start a family. But, how come they do not just give me my space and realize that when I am ready, it will happen?They need to respect my decision and realize that when the time comes, it will happen. As of right now, they are making me feel very guilty with the reason “do you want the baby to have an old father?” Now, mind you, my husband is 33 and I do not think there is anything wrong with a man starting a family in his late thirties. I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens.

My questions to those who are reading this post are:

1.How do you know when you truly are ready?
2.Is being a mom something that you should plan out?
3.Or… is being a mom something that you should not plan out and let it “just happen” as my husband says we should do.

Please give me some input…. It would be greatly appreciated!!!

A.D.D., A.D.H.D, attention deficit disorder, Life!

Do you have ADD? Here are some of the experiences I have dealt with as a person with ADD.

I was diagnosed with A.D.D. at the age of twenty five. I kind of knew that I had it because it is in my family. My brother struggled with the disability and my biological father has it. Anyway, here are some of the things I struggle with and face…… almost on a daily basis!

1.You always lose things: you cannot find your car keys, debit card, and cell phone.
2.When you go to pay at a register you find that you hold up the line because you have to dig through your unorganized purse to find your debit card or cash.
3.You keep your cell on silent because you know you cannot hold your attention long enough to hold a conversation with someone, so this is the easiest way to avoid that type of situation.
4.People have gotten mad at you for interrupting them. You find it extremely annoying when they say to you “Can you just listen?” or ‘Are you listening?”
5.You find that you talk fast or mumble depending on the person you are talking to. When they ask you to repeat yourself it just frustrates you even more, and increases the odds of being more nervous when you speak to them again in the future.
6.You are very creative and have multiple projects that are in the works or are left unfinished.
7.You make promises but break them.
8.You overcompensate to make up for your weaknesses.
9.You have found that your impulsiveness has gotten you in trouble. You do not think before you speak and therefore make the wrong comments sometimes.
10.You have a difficulty maintaining friends because you struggle with following through with plans.
11. You are always late to appointments, but never late to work. It is all about how important it is to you.
12.You have lots of energy. It has benefited you because you come off as being enthusiastic and energetic. However, some take your excessive energy as being hyper or crazy.
13. Your memory is horrible. You go to do something and then you completely forget what it is that you were supposed to be doing.
14.You break promises a lot. This is because you want people to like you. You are so used to people disliking you because of your ADD, so you make promises but then later forget about those promises.
15.You lose your patience quickly.
16.You overreact. You have the tendency to make mountains out of molehills.
17.People constantly tell you to “calm down.”
18.You are obsessive about your writing. You will write something sloppily at first but then will rewrite it until it is perfect.
19.You always have to get the last word in.
20.You hyper focus on certain tasks, but lack in getting other tasks complete.
21.You put things off until the very last minute.
22.You constantly lose things!
23.You also have depression and anxiety.
24. Piles! Piles! Piles!
25. You are a workaholic
26.It is difficult to keep up with your household chores and duties when you work full-time.
27.Meeting deadlines and paying bills on time is a definite struggle!
28. You are unorganized.

Life!

Getting Older…

I have noticed that as I get older, my life starts to change. Now, being that I am only twenty eight years old, you would think that your body would not change until you had children or until you are in your late forties. I have not had children yet and am not sure what triggered such a premature change in my health, appearance etc…

Ok, here are a few things that have changed ever since I turned 28. This kind of depresses me because I can only imagine how much my body will change as I get older.

1.I have developed allergies and asthma.
2.I needed to get glasses.
3.Heartburn and acid reflex
4.Inability to stay up past 12 am
5.Joint stiffness…like seriously?
6.Get tired much more easier
7.My idea of a good time is watching t.v. wearing my pjs
8.Not attached to my cellphone like I used to be
9.Don’t care about having a lot of friends. Now it is more about quality over quantity.
10.Chronic sinusitis
11.Gained about 30 lbs and am not concerned about it.
12. Do not place as much emphasis on my appearance in the way of tanning, getting nails done etc. The only good thing is that I have not found a gray hair!
13. I love to knit!

These are just some of the things that I have noticed changed since being in my late twenties. To be honest, it makes me worry about what will happen in my thirties.
Oh well!
I guess this is growing up!

Life!, Teaching

Caring too much…

Since when is caring too much considered to be such a bad thing? Especially when you are a Special Education Teacher? You always see those mugs and knickknacks in the stores that say “great teachers teach from the heart, not a book,” “teachers have a heart of gold” …blah, blah, blah, blah…. One of the main reasons why I decided to become a teacher was because I have a huge heart, and I knew that my students would benefit from this greatly. I have been told many times that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I have a heart of gold. I have always thought that these were special qualities that have always made me stand out amongst the rest. Apparently, caring too much, putting yourself out there, and making yourself available for kids means that you are not doing your job and that you are a bad teacher. That was not directly stated yet inferred.

According to the “higher ups” in my district, you should be more “business like.” Now, I am not saying that I want to be friends with my students, or that I let them get away with things. I make myself available when my students need someone to talk to, a place to eat lunch, or a place to do their homework after school. If a student needs me to walk with them in the hall from the cafeteria to cool down because they need someone to talk them out of a fight,well, then I am there. If a student’s grandparent dies, I will be their shoulder to cry on. If a student becomes frustrated with their life and school, and they are on the verge of dropping out, I will be the one to encourage them to continue getting their education.

However, what the “higher-ups” fail to realize is that caring too much is what these kids truly need. You see, through my experiences working with special education students, I have learned so much about their lives and about life itself .They come from broken homes where school is an escape from their problems. It is a second home for them. If there would be more teachers like me, who “care too much” , well, then maybe kids would refrain from dropping out.

Those who went into teaching for all of the wrong reasons are the ones who barely do enough to get by. Then there are the caring teachers who unfortunately become jaded because of all the negativity they face. Many fail to realize that you cannot be a teacher if you do not care.

Those are the teachers that need to be told, “you are not doing your job, you need to care more about kids, you need to put yourself out there.” Well, it unfortunately does not work this way in education. From what I have witnessed, if you do enough to just get by,do not care and do not put yourself out there for kids, well, then, hey.. you are doing an excellent job. Because if you care too much, “counsel” kids and are there for them, well, then you are a horrible, horrible, teacher. Which is absolutely ridiculous and absurd in my eyes.

Education has turned into a businesslike atmosphere where the board of education has to worry about the budget, making parents happy, making adequate yearly progress and making sure that the school district looks good by keeping their drop out rates, standardized test scores and bullying numbers at the expected standard.

Those higher-ups and teachers who teach for their summers off are the ones at fault because they fail to realize that if the good teachers were valued and encouraged to care then students would be more likely to stay in school and the school environment would be much more positive .

They are at fault because they need teachers that care too much. They need teachers who put themselves out there for the kids and who want to see them succeed. Let those board of ed. administrators step into my classroom and teach kids who come from broken homes, who never eat breakfast, do not have parents, and struggle with depression. Then they can come back and tell me whether or not teaching without caring and in a more business like fashion is the way to get through to those kids. Because if this is what they think their district needs in order to avoid causing rifts with parents etc., well, then they have another thing coming. These kids need more teachers who care. Whether they care a little or too much, it does not matter. They need someone who they know truly cares about them because, more than likely, they are not being cared about at home.
I am going to continue caring too much because when you care about your students, they are willing to work harder for you. They are willing to put all of their problems aside for the entire class period, all because they know that you have taken a true interest in their well-being. There needs to be more teachers,like me, who care too much.