5.29.2017

Year in Review

It's the end of the year!  3 more days of school and then it's hello, summer!  I am more than ready for a break, but the year is ending on a pretty good note. 

I haven't been active on this blog, as I think it's becoming a thing of the past, but for me, it's a good reminder of what I have done, thought, etc. 

This has been a pretty rough year.  It started out funky, turned bad, but I changed my attitude and it got better.  On our 4th day of school, my air conditioner blew up in my classroom.  My room was filled with black, burning smoke.  Luckily it happened after school, so my kids and I were gone, but I had to get out what I could and had to move to another room (not the first time in my teaching career) for a few days while it was "fixed".  A day later, my BTF lost her husband in a freak accident.  I took over lesson planning for the substitutes than came in and out quickly, as it is a rough class and the subs couldn't all hack it for a long time.  I was having to copy and make plans for whoever was there which was more time consuming than I admitted.  I pretty much went on auto pilot for awhile, just trying to keep my head above water. 

I did go with my administrator to interviews to choose the teacher to take over my friend's classroom.  The teacher didn't start until 2 weeks before repot cards, so that was interesting.  My classroom aide, who I get for 30 minutes a day for my focus time, has been a hot mess the last 2 years.  The person I had for a couple years quit last year to go to school.  Last year was a revolving door of 8 people.  The person they hired did not get along with any teacher she was assigned to, so we got a new person this year who was on her second year of parenting leave.  Another sub was assigned to us.  She's a very nice person, but was our night custodian who was subbing in the position and didn't know how to work with kids.  A few months later and she left and then another sub came in.  Not as many as last year, but still no consistency or really someone who can effectively do the job of working with kids. 

I don't remember much of the fall.  I do know my class behavior in November was awful, and I didn't do what I had planned for Thanksgiving.  I had oral surgery on Thanksgiving break, which wasn't fun.  I had been in pain for 5 months, so I finally was out of pain.  I'm sure that didn't help the first 4 months of school, either.  I remember being at home over break just thinking and feeling like I sucked as a teacher.  That continued for a few months. 

January and February was met with a busted heater/AC unit.  I was moved again since my room was too cold to be in (55* in So Cal is too cold in a classroom).  I finally got a brand new AC/heater, but it wasn't without a fight.  Parents were calling and complaining, which in turn led to people questioning me, then yelling at me about it.  It was ugly.  I felt very devalued as a person and a teacher and had no backup from my administrator.   It all got fixed and I no longer have to deal with the maintenance crew, but it was an ugly time.  It put me further into my funk.

Right after that, I went to Florida for a week with my hubby and daughter.  I enjoyed the time away from school.  I felt refreshed and a little better, until I checked my class roster (for a question about attendance I had got while on vacation) and noticed a new student was added.  He was from the class of chaos (the one with multiple subs) and his mom was upset with the teacher, so our interim principal at the time moved him to my room without telling me.  No one told me he was coming.  If I hadn't looked at my roster, I wouldn't have known.  This kid was a nightmare in the other class.  His behavior has greatly improved with me, but he is so low and the parents are in denial and believe he is just fine and that we have too high of expectations for kids. 

I have had the revolving door of kids this year.  I have 24 kids right now, but I have had a total of 34 kids this year.  In and out.  It's been nuts.  I ran out of supplies, homework folders that I made over the summer, etc.  Nothing like feeling ill prepared when a new student comes in without any notice.  Our attendance clerk is very bad about giving us a heads up that a new student is coming.  We know when they show up at our door, then we look like idiots when we have to scramble to get the student situated.  Anyway, I was prepared for the first 6 changes, but the last 4 - no.  It didn't help my feeling of inadequacy or chaos. 

I felt very burnt out, frustrated, and devalued most of the year.  I did what I could to help out.  I sat on SST's.  I went to math trainings and pacing guide meetings which were pointless wastes of time as other people decided these things for us.  I was (am) my grade level lead and deal with 2 teachers who don't really like each other.  They both want to talk crap on each other to me, but I don't want to hear it.  I have become very short with both of them, simply for my peace of mind.  We have had so much drama with these 2 teachers in the past (and another teacher who finally left and made things a little better) and I do not want to start it again. 

Spring break came and for whatever reason, something changed.  I was feeling better about my class, things seemed to be going better with the behaviors and academic growth.  I got out of my funk.  Maybe it was the fact that the year was ending sooner rather than later.  Whatever it was, it's better now.  That doesn't mean it's all unicorns and rainbows, but I am at a peace I haven't had this year.  I started planning a bit for next year, which helped me enjoy the end of this year, as strange as that sounds.  I don't have anything set in stone, but I have ideas floating in my head. 

I have 3 days left with my kids.  Some I will miss next year and I struggle with where to place them.  Our 2nd grade team is  hard to work with.  We have one very inadequate teacher, one who doesn't teach as much as expect the kids to work quietly, one who wants perfection rather than actually teaches what needs to be learned and finally one who puts more effort into teaching than the others.  I know my kids aren't perfect, but some are pretty close.  They work hard, are really sweet and love learning.  I'm afraid they'll lose that next year, and then what?  Other kids I won't miss and I feel horrible about that, but they are the kids who have been hard to love all year.  They're the kids who sit all day and do nothing.  The parents who never show up, don't have a clue what's going on, have never had their child do a homework assignment all year and then call the school to say their child hasn't received an award all year because the teacher is racist.  The kids who tell you to shut up, scream that you're stupid and throw themselves on the floor because they didn't get a stamp at the end of the day.  Some have been rough.  I try to show them love, but it's been hard.  Really, really hard, which didn't help the funk I was in. 

I've spent a lot of time already thinking about the last year.  It hasn't been the greatest, but I have learned some things about myself as well as others.  I have learned that I can handle it on my own.  I have been afraid of teaching without my BTF, but I have done it this year and survived.  It was harder than I thought, but also a little liberating.  I learned that I had been doing a lot of the prep work for her, so for it just being me, I was only responsible for me.  I learned that no one will help you out of a funk, even if you ask for help.  I told my admin. and several others that I was struggling, but it was laughed off.  Again, didn't help with feeling of being devalued at all.  I may not be stronger yet, but I am getting there.  I have a renewed desire to be the best teacher I can be.  I am not one to toot my own horn and I am quite the pessimistic person (always have been), but I know that I can do better than I did this year, so that is my goal for next year.  And I know I can do it. 

With 3 days left, I plan on having fun with my kids.  We are going to spend the days doing some fun STEM challenges, puzzles, games and reading.  I also plan to clean up my room, go through some cabinets and cupboards to clean, toss and organize, get my end of the year stuff done and try and enjoy the ending and getting ready for a new beginning.  I know it will never be perfect, but I can do the best I can do and nothing more.  I can learn from the past and look forward. 

Happy Summer break!