For the love of teaching

Some things have come to light about my former job and the teachers that were hired after me.  They are things that make me incredibly sad and frustrated that I didn’t pass that fuckin exam in time to get rehired.  Yes, I know the timing wasn’t right anyway.  I know it was way more important that I was here at home to help out with Marion than to be at EDCO but I think about the kids that are there now and how these teachers are selfish, rude and immature.  They are unable to not take things personally with the students.  Grow the fuck up! Seriously?

My chosen profession of Special Education Educator can be quite challenging at times.  If you are especially good at what you do~ ie: not sending kids to the office every hour. You become a dumping ground (I know, bad term) for all the behavior problems that other teachers are struggling with.  I used the word dumping because that is how a weak administration often handles difficult students.  Grouping them all into the category of they must have cognitive weakness otherwise why would they behave so poorly.  At times this could be a good fit for my class or it could be a negative fit.  One student a young lady Patience (names were changed) was put into my mildly cognitive challenged self-contained classroom.  She had quite a few problems going on at home, mom was trying her best but Patience challenged the authority of every kind.  So someone said,  oh Patience struggles with the material so let’s put her in Jen’s classroom.  As soon as Patience was placed in my class I knew she was much higher functioning than any of the students in my class.  She quickly went through the assignments with little or no guidance.  I pointed this out to our department chair and administration.  So her schedule was changed, she was put into more appropriate classes.  She refused to do work.  The administrator was pretty savvy started having Patience walk the track whenever she was refusing to work.  For some reason this work.  Now Patience lost some weight and started receiving attention in a positive way for staying in class and being open to new topics.  The reason the walking around the track helped was she was doing something physical, and she got to talk to a teaching assistant or other special ed. teacher.  But this also worked because it appeared that Patience realized she was important and not to be discarded.

In my current placement, I have a student, Roman.  Roman’s mother died a couple of years ago, it was also at that time he found out he was adopted.  Roman is now living with grandparents.  And English is not their first language, they are also very religious. Roman, is gay and rather low cognitively.  He is very critical of himself constantly putting himself down.  Roman is in a class with some tough students.  Kids that are used to being critical of themselves and others.  I was able to have a little one on one time with Roman the other day.  I told him I didn’t want him to be so critical of himself.  I also told him, I was so happy he was in my class and that I loved him.  I really loved him for his interest in plants and animals. How he thinks of others and is kind.  He started getting a little teary-eyed.  I did too when I realized the reason he was acting out, he didn’t feel loved or wanted.  Just the simply saying that yes, you do matter and you matter to me was enough to help him get back on track.  Is he perfect no but he is trying now, which he wasn’t doing before.

My students just want to be seen.

#metoo

So every woman has a story ~ sure most women have multiple stories.  I think it is brave so many women are coming forward and I hope it changes behavior.  I have so many stories I don’t even know where to start.  Getting molested when I was 7 at the beach in Miami when I was just wading in the water- having a stranger teenage boy stick his hand down my swimsuit,  or having jr. high boys or high school boys assume because I developed big breast that this somehow makes me easy and that I want it.  It’s funny after my father died I did want attention from boys or males.

So I decided to take control of my sexuality and I became rather intimidating to most of the boys my age.  I would tell them what I wanted and how I wanted it.  I was confident and sure.

And there were many #metoo experiences that were not asked for.  Many times I would be grabbed or pinched or stalked.  But the time I recently looked back on~ with such great sadness is after my sister and mother passed away.  My boyfriend B.  I was crazy about and he acted like he was crazy about me.  He was very affectionate with me and very attentive.  He was also very sexual.  I didn’t realize that he would masturbate multiple times throughout the day even after we would have sex.  I knew he had a real porn habit and discovered he had naked pictures of old girlfriends.  All of these should have been red flags.  But I was in a vulnerable state~  I was separated and divorcing my ex-husband. I had just lost my sister who was my best friend and my mother in a matter of weeks.  And I had this man who was expressing interest in me.  I wasn’t sleeping a lot initially during that period.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and usually wander downstairs and read or write.  Some nights I would be so tired I took something the doctor prescribed for me to help me relax.  I might actually sleep for 4 or 5 hours on those nights.  One night was like that~ I was tired and just wanted to sleep.  But B.  was feeling horny.  So even though I was asleep he fucked me.  I remember waking up and pushing him off me and telling him no.  But that didn’t stop him.  When he had climaxed he stopped and then rolled over and fell asleep.  I was awake by this point.  WTF?  I stayed with him for 4 more years. But he had 4 daughters that I felt needed love and attention and he wasn’t giving it to them.  So the mother in me stayed for them.   I bought us 2 houses. He lied repeatedly and had emotional affairs with women he met on the internet, and regularly corresponded with an old girlfriend.  He got together with her after he and I broke up.  I emailed her and warned her about his sexual addiction and other issues.  She ended up marrying him.  Better her than me ~ just wish he hadn’t taken so much from me.

Things I wish I could tell my daughters~

Not sure how I should start this~

Dear Emily and Erin,

First of all, I don’t regret marrying your father because he gave me you.  You were able to be raised in a comfortable home though not always conventional. I stayed for you both.  I am so proud of you and what you have become.

The Wedding~

I don’t know how much you know of your parent’s wedding.  We got married at Grandma Pat’s house.  We had a friend of mine who was a judge since your father was an atheist.  We got married on the rug a neighbor gave us that this couple had gotten married on and their marriage lasted over 40 yrs.  Neither Aunt Laura or Florence attended the wedding.  It was very small but then we had a reception a few days later.  The night after the wedding we went out to eat at yet another friend’s new restaurant, He was Italian and a great cook.  Your dad and I stayed at Larry Bird’s Motel ~ the Boston Connection.  It was much fancier than it sounds.

The first few years~

I wish I could tell you it got easier, and some parts did.  I have always been surrounded by a disorder.  I don’t know if it goes back to my learning disability or the way my brain functions.  I am not lazy or stupid.  I do have a zest for life, which was always under the surface.  I think this scared your dad.  I did and would speak to strangers, wear loud bright and colorful clothes, loved to dance, laugh at myself, try new things and wanted to talk, laugh, be goofy and surrounded my stuff.  I don’t think I fit his idea of a wife and mother. My mother told me I needed to have dinner on the table waiting for your dad when he got home.    How I tried, to organize myself and the house.  And your dad didn’t make it easy for me.  But I loved being a mom.  I read every book I could on parenting, feeding your child, discipline, activities to do with your babies.  But then I went back to school, and things got really tough.

Mistakes 

I don’t want to call them mistakes but I did make choices that weren’t always to my highest calling.  I lied to your dad over stupid things~ like getting the internet for free, how much things cost, friends, ideas, issues, and problems.  I learned to just get along and not rock the boat.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time.  Because of that, I know there were times I wasn’t a very good mother.  Times when I wasn’t present or angry at your dad and would take it out on you guys.  I am so sorry.  I realize now I was doing the best that I could to get by.    Your father accused me of sleeping around.  I didn’t.  I did have an active fantasy life.  I read books on improving myself, kept dream journals, gratitude journals, and regular journals.  I wanted to feel love and wanted a partner that liked me and liked to do things with me.  Your father found my dream journal and thought it was my real journal.  Your dad thought I was having an affair with Denzel Washington,  Ellen Degeneres, and others.   He even said to me I guess that why the house is never clean.  I wasn’t.  But I did pretend and dream about meeting various actors or musicians and have them falling in love with me.  I tried to make your dad happy.  But then finally gave up,  I didn’t like who I was becoming.

Aunt Laura~

Laura was my protector, my confidant, my best friend, my hero, and my sister.  I was so proud to have her as my sister.  This was one reason I was so glad that I had two girls. Laura had been Great Grams favorite.  I was definitely not her favorite and she seems to go out of her way to be mean to me.  I got to where I didn’t even notice.  But Laura did and defended me and spoke up for me.  Something my own mother wasn’t able to do.  There was a mother/ daughter luncheon at church, I was pregnant with you Emily.  Amanda was a baby, Aunt Laura, my mom and great gram were all going to attend.  Great gram was saying pretty awful things under her breath about me how I was dressed or something I said or didn’t say.  I guess Laura finally had enough and spoke to her.  Laura spoke to my mom too.  It was the first time, I could remember someone speaking up for me in the family.  I guess that what I wanted to happen when you both were being mean to me after the divorce.  Laura spoke up to your grandma Janet and Dad.  She always said I was the kindest person she knew.   When I lost her and your grandmother I also feel like I lost a bit of my mind.  But I did get the courage to leave your father.

The Loss~ 

Now I wish I hadn’t jumped into a relationship, but sometimes when we are grieving or going through something really hard and horrible we don’t make good decisions.  That was a difficult lesson I had to learn.  Losing you all was the worst.

I wonder~ I have the feeling I should…

So I just watched this video that talked about imagination and how to spur it on~ and it is to say “I wonder” about everything.  So here we go the other thing I am going to work on is my intuition by saying aloud. “I have the feeling I should…”

I wonder how long I will have to wait to find out about my dream job.  I wonder if the weather will continue to stay nice for a bit. I wonder what my dream house will look like.  I wonder when I will find my dream house.  I wonder how I will pay for my dream house.  I wonder how close to the ocean I will be?  I wonder if that light up harness bothers Lucy?  I wonder if my daughters will give me a chance?  I wonder if they will ever see them the way I see them which is beautiful?  I wonder if I will get to go to Cuba? I wonder what I will need to do to be able to afford to go to Cuba?  I wonder if I will have to eat beans when I go to Cuba?  I wonder why my body doesn’t process food the way other people’s bodies do?  I wonder if Mark will ever like any cooking dish I make?  I wonder why I am so disorganized?  I wonder why I love to send people postcards?  I wonder why I like to share joy with so many people?  (Share joy as is sending postcards)

I wonder when I will get to share my gifts with the students of EDCO?  I wonder if my intuition is right and that by listening to my heart I will be going back there.  (Maybe this is a good one for the I have a feeling…)

I have the feeling … and I am afraid to believe it because I want to go back to my old job.  Now the stupid what if… which is not a game I should play.  What if there is something else I am supposed to do.  When will my heart tell me~ ok right now it is telling me.   I have the feeling I shouldn’t even go down this road.  I am so blessed in so many ways.

 

 

 

Things I am really good at

This week’s list is about things I am really good at, so bragging about myself.  I know it is often viewed as in poor taste to ring one’s own bell.  As I write that I am thinking about so many students I have worked with that struggle with self-confidence and self-esteem.  In my, English class students had a warm-up to name one positive quality about themselves.  I had students tell me that didn’t have any good qualities.  I know there are some days I feel like that too.  I feel like I am just taking from the world more than I am contributing to it.  Well back to the list~

I am good at making others feel comfortable.  I often have total strangers telling me their life stories.  When I was riding the T on a  regular basis, I made friends with total strangers.  One woman was going to school to become a minister shared with me her experience about the day of the bombing.  Another person I also met on the T, we became friends when he gave me a ride to the Women’s march in Boston in 2017.  Through the year while riding the T together, I learned about his family and he learned about mine.

Another way I try to spread joy or at least positive thoughts is through my post-it notes.  I have these stick all over post-it notes.  I put inspirational quotes or sayings on these and then leave them random places.  One of my favorite places was to leave them on the T.  At one point I was a topic of conversation on Reddit.  People wanted to know who and or why someone was doing these.  I am not sure how I started doing it other than thinking that Erin and I were riding the same trains maybe if I wrote positive notes she would see them and it would bring a smile to her face.  I could probably do a whole entry on the post-it notes.  Why and how I do them and different interactions I have had with people about them.

I am really good at laughing.  I can find so many things to laugh about throughout the day.  And often I can get those around me to relax enough to laugh too.

I am a really good friend.  I will stick by my friends even when we have grown apart.  I have former teaching assistants that I was especially close to when we were working together, most of the time people then grown apart after they stop working together.  Not me I will continue to send postcards or text messages just to let them know they are still in my thoughts.

I am a great letter writer.  I not only write good letters to people but I actually write letters and mail them the old fashion way. So many people have told me oh you are so good at doing that, I wish I was.  What a cop-out, I do it because it brings me joy and hopefully it brings a little joy the recipient.

I am pretty good at letting things go~  now this is on a few different levels-                    post-it notes.  I write them and then I am done with them.  They are not for me to gain fame or recognition.  They are just something I write hoping to spread a little joy and then let them go. When I have an issue with a person, I say my peace and then I am over it.  If I have a problem with a student the same idea is true for them too.  What happened in the past stays in the past.  Now, I am not perfect about this but for the most part I try to be.

Gallery

Gratitude right now!

So I picked up this book called 52 Lists for Happiness.   I bought it last year and did some of the activities but didn’t write them down in the book.  Probably because this time last year I was working full … Continue reading

Gallery

The Capitalist

This gallery contains 1 photos.

I am very much of the mindset to take life as it comes.  Yes, I work and I have at many times put in too many hours for a job I felt required to do so for it.  After working … Continue reading