Last month, I posted about how things finally seemed to be coming together this crazy, funky school year. My kids were moving up, we were making good progress, behavior had come around and things seemed to be going well. That isn't to say it was perfect and we had some bad days, but it just seemed to be going smoother than before.
Then I went on vacation for a week. My daughter has a week off in February (I don't) and we have been taking a family vacation during that time for 3 years now. I used to feel guilty about it, but now I take it as a welcome break from the winter craziness and enjoy my time with my family and come back recharged. I leave my plans for the week and make sure my kids do the same things they would do if I had been there. I know it's not perfect, but it is what it is. This year, I got an unwelcome surprise. I had checked my email all week (I told parents I'd be available online, if needed) and was "in the loop" with anything that had gone on at school. Everything except one thing.
My friend whose husband passed away in August is out all year. The district hired a teacher to take her place for the year. The teacher is more than a substitute - she's a fully credentialed teacher and was in our district before she went elsewhere to be an administrator. Anyway, the group of kids in that class is crazy. There are several behavior problems in there. I know there have been change through the year with teachers, but it's been about 5 months, so there has been a lot of consistency. Apparently while I was gone, the teacher had a breakdown in front of the class and cried, complaining to the kids that all the bad kids were keeping the good kids from learning. We've all been there and had those thoughts and maybe have verbalized it in some form or another. A parent of one of the naughty kids complained to the office and demanded that her child be moved out of that class. I was the lowest in class size, so I got him. Only no one told me! I happened to check my roster on Friday night (while still on vacay and staring out at the Atlantic Ocean from my balcony!) and noticed a new addition to my class. I texted a couple people. One didn't have any idea (and she knows it all!) and the other knew exactly what happened, but told me no one wanted to tell me and upset me on my trip. Um, too late! My principal has been out on leave, so we have an interim principal there. She didn't email me to let me know, nor did the teacher who was losing him. She told everyone she would text me over the weekend, but I'm still waiting.
I know who the kid is and know what they are capable of. They are naughty, immature and feel they are entitled to do whatever they want. Monday morning I get to work early to get everything situated for the week as well as the new student. The teacher came and told me I was getting the student and asked me what I needed. I told her supplies and any test scores (report cards go home this week and I know nothing about them academically). She told me there were no supplies for the child and she hadn't done assessments yet. Well then! The first day, the kid was 20 minutes late, came in and caused a scene and continued with it for the day. 3 other kids in my class took that as their chance to act out, too and misbehave! Wow! The mom came to talk to me after school and blamed everything on the teacher, told me her child is super high, but doesn't perform for authority figures (awesome) and that they will only do the work the tutor tells them.
It was a long 5 days. My class has been turned upside down and I don't know what to do. I spent the week moving seats, having mini-meetings with the kids who think they can misbehave now, prepared an independent study packet for a kid who shouldn't be missing, I taught what needed to be taught and tested my kids for report cards with DRA tests and math tests galore. It was a week for the record book, that's for sure. And to top it off, not one single person asked me how the kid was in class. No one asked me if it was all the teacher or if the child really is a behavior problem. We have 12 weeks left (58 days!) and I am officially counting down. I'm sad that I feel that way, but this year has been hard. I truly can say I know what burnout feels like and I don't like it. I have worked hard to fight it as I really do like being a teacher, but this year has taken its toll. Between lack of administrator support or guidance, my bff being gone, my class being a revolving door (34 kids so far!), behavior issued, parent issues and lack of support, it's been a year. I am ready for a break. I have had many moments where I question what I do and if it's worth it, but then I look at my kids who have worked so hard and come so far and I know it is worth it. It's hard and painful and depressing at times, but it's worth it. It may not always be pretty, but it's worth putting in the time and effort to help my kids get to where they need to be.
I have started making my summer to do list. While it sounds counter productive, especially when I need some down time and time for me, I have started thinking ahead to next year and how I can switch things up or make things better for my kids and myself. Until then, I will keep going, working to make sure my kids are ready for 2nd grade come the end of May.