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10 November 2015 @ 11:43 pm
...OR something like that. Actually I really didn't do anything, except for what I was supposed to.

I only ever cry when I get really upset, and I was really upset when the district came in today, well ahead of their schedule time on the 19th, to look at student folders. My rant the other day—which I did not realise I needed—only seemed to intensify my qualms with this new district progress monitoring policy.
The assessment coordinator and curriculum specialist came around to audit the filesCollapse )
This school year is killing me.

I unlocked my classroom door at 6:50 on Friday morning. I got in my car, and pulled out of the parking lot at 10:30 that night. I had a bowl of cheerios for dinner and fell asleep in my work clothes.

This has become my routine over the past two months. I am absolutely drowning in paperwork despite arriving to work early. Every. Single. Freaking. Day and leaving work late Every. Single. Freaking. Day.

Paperwork proving that I have taught this and how it will correlate when I teach that. Paperwork that shows this content matches up with this standard. Paperwork that shows I have tried to make contact with the 19 parents that failed to show up for conferences. I’ve got paperwork for 17 students (out of 22) in my room that came to me below the 20th percentiles in both reading and math that shows I am monitoring progress on each of their three proficiency goals. For those of you doing the math, that’s 51 goals per day that have to be documented, and 255 goals documented weekly between my 17 high-risk students.

I have no time to teach my students properly. I have no time to get to know my students. By this point in the year they should feel like my kids, but they don’t. And I feel incredibly guilty because they don’t.

Our second benchmark test of the year is coming up in December and the thought of it makes me sick, because even though I’m doing what the district says I should be doing, I’ve not done what I know I need to do to get my students where they need to be. If a huge portion of my evaluation did not rely solely on meeting the demands of the districts data collection and record keeping policy, I would just say screw it. We had an in-house audit Friday, and had to provide all of our documentation on students we have up until this point. We will have another on the 19th of this month.

I woke up this morning dreading going back to work on Monday because it’s going to be the same, with a few after school committee meetings and professional development trainings sprinkled in. My profession isn’t what it used to be. The district has become data-focused instead of student-focused and it is such a terrible disservice to everyone involved.

I think of the little boy I have this year that can’t look at the word cat and read it fluently, or the little girl that doesn’t understand that 23 is not just a 2 and 3, but rather two groups of ten and three ones and I could just cry because both of those students have already been retained once in primary and I’ll have to send them on to third grade next year knowing they’ll flounder.  I think of the three students I have that are above level and how I’ve had to place them in a chapter reading group they can conduct themselves because I don’t have time to meet with them during small group to listen to them read.

I feel like an epic failure.
This is more of a PSA, really, because I've not seen a lot of hype for this yet, and it looks solidly done.

Anyway, have some early Halloween treats. They're in the form a few gifs from the upcoming Crimson Peak movie that opens Friday here in the States. I'm usually not one for horror films, unless they're from del Toro (the man knows what he's doing with horror) and actually have a solid storyline and cast. This appears to have all three of those things. And even if you're not a fan of all the scary stuffs, I still think you can appreciate them for the glorious things they are.

NSFW...so peek at your own risk. But seriously, look.Collapse )
15 September 2015 @ 04:28 pm
...exactly the sort of thing I like to postpone as long as possible.

It wasn"t Little Shop of Horrors bad, but it was still bad.Collapse )
Go figure.

The house is slowly coming together. We finally put up the curtains and the pictures, so it no longer looks like we’re squatting in an abandoned house. The new appliances are lovely. The convection range is fabulous, but I think I’m in love with my washing machine, it even sings My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean when the cycle is finished.  My dishwasher is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. I have a new found respect for people who wash their dishes by hand. Dad is supposed to come over next week and cut out a cabinet and install it, so that will be nice when it happens.

My classroom is finished and waiting for the new children. I’ve found that as the grades progress, there are fewer things to get to make the room look inviting. Kindergarten is easy with the alphabet and shapes and general cute things, but I’ve had trouble with finding things for second grade. Instead I’ve got fractions and syllable type posters, which is not nearly as fun to look at. I’ll continue to look for/make things to liven it up as the year progresses because I’m not satisfied. My room is not like the other second grade classrooms, because I’ve done away with the desks and opted for group tables. I’ve also added a giant classroom rug for the kids to sit on during centers or when we use the Author’s Chair. I don’t know when it became commonplace to have seven-year-olds sitting in those stern rows of desks, but I don’t like it.

I was also volunteered to oversee a Professional Development course over Whole Brain Teaching that will be given in about two weeks. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this if I was given the option of giving my honest opinion about the subject, but I was, more or less, told what to present and how.

I’m not overly fond of Whole Brain Teaching, look up some videos on Youtube, and you’ll see why. I think there is A LOT more to learning than simply mirroring every blasted thing the teacher says and repeating it verbatim to a peer, but I am just a lowly educator that is doing what she’s told. I will put on my happy face and encourage my colleagues to use it this year despite my reservations. In a few years they’ll want us to use something different, anyway.

In other unimportant news I actually got around to writing today, which I’ve not done in forever. With all the recent chaos any notion to write had gone out the window. I’ve missed it, and of course, it seems only right that the desire would return with work around the corner.

Again, go figure.

I hope to update a WIP here in a few days, because it feels good to accomplish something even if it’s just a chapter to a fan work. Plus, I got a review the other day, and I forgot how satisfying it feels to get good feedback from readers. 
28 June 2015 @ 07:47 pm
Fucking June. This will go down as probably the most stressful month I’ve had in a long time. If I’m being honest, I’m glad to see it go. I am just exhausted emotionally and physically, because everything converged and went tits up at the same time.

Cut for Sad WordsCollapse )
08 May 2015 @ 06:36 pm
We went to look at a second house on Wednesday. We loved it and made an offer that evening before we left the property. They called us back that night and accepted. HGTV makes it seem like these things are long, drawn out processes, but this was pretty painless. After discussing the closing costs and all of that, we were able to get the house for $14,500 under asking price.

House PicsCollapse )
29 April 2015 @ 09:24 pm

The school year is finally coming to a close. There are twenty-two more teaching days with the kids and four in service days until I am free for the summer holiday. I will miss my students terribly, but I am ready to catch up on things like cleaning the house, reading more books, and just generally being able to rest when I get home from work.  I finished up my hellish Internship I volunteered for last Thursday, and I will be able to receive my raise for next year, provided they have a position for me somewhere in the building. I really have no idea what to prepare for at this point, but Kindergarten, first, second, and fifth grade have been mentioned as possible areas. I should know something by June.

In other news, we are going to look at a house this afternoon and another one sometime this weekend. THIS has me more stressed out than anything else. We discussed the possibility of the school not having the number of students enrolled to get extra positions, which would leave me without employment next year, but I feel like it is unfair to let my work dictate what I can and can't do with my life. If I were to wait until I'm tenured, it will be another five years. If this year has taught me anything about myself it's that I need to lighten up and realise that my job is just a job. I used to think the world would be over if I couldn't find a teaching position, but I have found that there is always some else out there, that is likely less stressful and doesn't require me to work six plus hours of unpaid overtime when I stay after school or bring work home.  I can always find something outside of the teaching profession if it comes to that, and if we wait until we can pay for it outright, we will never have anything. Over the last five years we have spent around thirty thousand dollars in rent, and I am tired of basically throwing that money away. We will hopefully close on the loan application Monday, and will probably make a few offers on the houses we are interested in the coming weeks. Fingers and toes are crossed in hopes this goes smoothly.

Let's see...we are T- 8 weeks from out trip to South Carolina for a week on the beach. We're going to Garden City for a week to soak up the sun and play in the water. I'm hoping I can do some shelling once we get there and get settled, and just basically recharge. The husband and I have started counting calories and exercising in preparation, and Thornedhuntress and I have a little competition going to see who can make the most progress in the coming weeks. If anything, I've found that 1400 calories is not much in the grand scheme of things.  I can truthfully say that after walking in the park and going to the gym for a few days, I do feel better.

My family is well and managing. Grandfather is currently living at home with my mother until he gets back on his feet. The cancer is shrinking thanks to medication, and in about three months he’ll go on chemotherapy for six weeks or so to keep it in check. It’s only May—close enough—and this year has already turned out to be a little more chaotic than I would have liked.

Hopefully I’ll be able to post more than once every three or four months…Hell, I’d settle for being able to sit down and actually read some of the posts from the flist for a change!

27 January 2015 @ 05:37 pm
A lot has happened over the course of the last few weeks, and I’ve been stretched between work and home and haven’t had time to share the happy news concerning the recent events with my grandfather.

The results for the blood test came back positive, which is a miracle. That being said, the prognosis is much improved from what we were first given. We were told we now have anywhere from one year to two, and we will gladly take it. The scare with the life support really ripped me to shreds, and it made me think of how terribly fragile everything this, and how much we take it for granted. He has come a long way since then, and is now home resting comfortably so his medicine can help him. There have been wonderful improvements, but we have a long way to go yet.

His cancer started out as a melanoma, and it spread once he had a surgery to remove the cells. He was clean in November when he went for an MRI. Less than two months later, it was in his spine, spleen, stomach, liver, and lungs. Nearly a two week stay in the hospital from a spot on his skin he should have had taken off when he first noticed it almost five years ago.

With the genetic testing coming back as positive that also opens up a number of scary questions and possibilities. There is a very real chance that he could have passed the gene on to my mother and her two sisters. There is a possibility that the three of them could have passed it on to their children. The doctors never mentioned anything about the family getting the genetic testing. Needless to say we have all made arrangements to go get checked out by our local doctors and dermatologists to see if anything is out of the ordinary.

My appointment is for the third week in February, and I will likely have several “questionable” spots removed on that visit. I’ve never had any skin imperfections removed, and I am slightly nervous about things either being cut or shaved off.  It is probably not anything to cause alarm, but considering I am as white as a sheet and paranoid, it will give me peace of mind to have them removed. It still blows my mind that all of these health scares over the last week could have been prevented by a simple outpatient surgery that takes less than ten minutes.

I appreciate all of the positive words and support over the last few weeks. Without LiveJournal to vent, I would have probably lost my mind in the chaos.
12 January 2015 @ 07:17 pm
We were given the best case scenario of two months.

I've got two months left with him at best, and I don't know that I can keep it together.

Honestly with the news today, it feels like a part of me is already gone.

I am angry.  I’ve cried until it hurts.
I don’t think there will ever be a time when it doesn’t.