Sunday, November 27, 2011

{this moment}

A weekend ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

right kind of crazy

During our Sunshine Thanksgiving yesterday, one of the kids wondered aloud about what we'd be doing if we weren't teaching them. My colleague laughed back and said "Are you calling us crazy?"... but truthfully, I know I am. You have to be a little bit insane to put yourself in a position where you watch people you care about make mistakes and bad choices repeatedly-- and keep coming back for more.

For me, this job is a way of life. I act no differently at school than I do at home or in other public venues; there are no pretenses, no games. I think if you looked up 'tough love' in the dictionary, you'd see me smiling back at you. I expect a lot of these guys, and probably more than anyone has expected of them in years. But when they don't live up to the expectations, we address it and move on. No grudges. I react no differently to a student skipping my class than I would to Boy or Girly not doing what I'd asked them to do: there are consequences to that action (or inaction) but you are mine, and I claim you as mine, always.The consequences they are used to, and really know how to use them to their advantage (I'm sure I've told you about suspensions increasing magically in November... and how I brought a stop to that practice). What they are not used to, and what gets me labeled as a crazy woman by them, is the second piece-- no matter what you do, I claim you as mine. Whether you're making me proud or breaking my heart, you are always a Sunshine.

At Sunshine Thanksgiving, we go around the room and state for what we are thankful. There is nothing quite like hearing a room full of teenagers say they are thankful for the people that help them to warm your heart. I am so thankful for them; as hokey as it sounds, they make my life a better place to be. They make me laugh; they make me cry; they make me proud. Yes, they also make me crazy, but let's be honest here: I already was.

Friday, November 18, 2011

tomorrow is another day...

I haven't reflected recently; I've thought a lot about what's going on, but I need to get better about writing too, because that is often where the magic happens for me.

I'm involved in a year long training that takes me out of my classroom once a month. I almost didn't participate because getting a sub is not fun on a good day, and the idea of a regular planned absence sent me into panic attacks. But then I realized this training would be useful to our classroom, as well as helping to cement our relationship in the mainstream building. Yesterday was my second planned absence this month because of this training... and it really didn't go so well. To clarify: my day was fine. Theirs... not so much.

I'll spare you the details, but needless to say the morning did not look like I thought it would when I left on Wednesday. We spent the morning talking about how this program needs to be able to function without me. Who knows what could happen... I could get sick, need surgery, have parents who need care... we're at the point where I need to let go of some control, and they need to keep going as if I were there, even when I'm not.

This is not going to be easy. For any of us. I have a tiny little bit of a Type A personality (ok, maybe a tad more than that) so letting go is a challenge. And the Sunnies aren't too keen on me letting go either: I heard a couple of times today "none of this would have happened if you were here yesterday". Which is true, sort of... but it's time to change that reality. And we still had other stuff happen today that DID happen while I was RIGHT THERE. I may be a calming influence, but my magic wand has never worked perfectly.

So what do I take away from this? We've come pretty far, but we're not there yet. And we probably never will be... but that doesn't mean we stop trying. Or trusting. Because when I stop trying and trusting... it's time to find a new job, and I'm not ready to do that yet.

Monday, November 14, 2011

{this moment}

A weekend ritual from my friend Wendy, who got it from SouleMama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.