Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I try to keep the personal posts rare on this blog, in fact I actually count the number of times I use the word "I" and nix any post that goes overboard, but in this post I am throwing that to the wind.
I seem to be having minor difficulties locating my teacher "mojo". I consider myself to be a good teacher; I care deeply for my students, I am knowledgeable and creative, I love what I do and all that stuff that makes learning happen. I am an eleven year veteran teacher in a field where most people don't make it five years. I consider myself a "lifer".
However right now I can't seem to find my balance in the classroom. Part of it is that we are in a building that is not particularly desirable. We do not have internet or even enough outlets to plug in all our computers. We have two three touch screen but only one works. We have two switch interfaces, but only one working switch. We don't have a access fax or a copier without begging on our hands and knees. We do not have a wall phone that works, only a cell phone. We haven't a sink big enough to do dishes in with out going up two floors. We are on the third floor and 2 out of 3 elevators do not work. We have mice and they are not our pets. I spend hours and hours using crazy, improvised techniques to be able to give my students access to technology only to have those techniques fail at the last minutes do to things like blown fuses. The averages daily temperature in the classroom is 82 degrees, however we have IEPs calling for temperatures no higher than 70 degrees, but if we run the air conditioners we cannot use the computers, APH book on tape machine or CD player because we will blow a fuse and if we open the windows the close to zero degree wind makes it impossible for us to have students on one entire side of the classroom.
To top it all off I have had eight Donors Choose grants funded and the school has lost six (SIX!!!) of them so far! (I now have at least double the number of gray hairs I had in August of 2007, when we moved in.)
Another part of it is that I did not have a full staff until January 8th. Today was the first day of the school year I ate lunch without taking one or two students with me, granted I was writing the daily notes home to all of the parents like I do every day at lunch, but I did not have any students with me (I admit that I sort of/kind of missed them).
On top of all that is a constantly changing student census. I don't know about all the other intensive special needs teachers out there but I tend to have the same students year after year, after year, after year. However last year I had several students move on and I have two in the process of moving on right now. I have also had new students move in. The level of need and type of student has changed. Absenteeism is very high. It is hard to establish a group dynamic when there is a different group every day, and in our room both the students and the staff seem to be different every day.
Oh and of course I had a nasty flu the end of last week and all last weekend and my throat is still killing me, so that is not helping. And it is a full moon and only SPED teachers and psych nurses can tell when it is a full moon without looking up at night.
I know I need to trust myself that I will bounce back up and regain my balance and that it always takes about six weeks to feel things are going smoothly after a transition (six weeks to break a habit don't you know), but I miss my mojo.
So I am asking my readers out there, if your teaching mojo is with you right now could you drop me a line of hang in there support? Maybe a funny story? Tell me what you do to regain your mojo? Do you take you staff out for drinks? Rent a hotel room alone for a weekend? Go to a spa? Join the circus? You can put it in the comments for everyone to read or scroll down and click on my profile to send me and e-mail if you want. I sure would appreciate it.