Saturday, November 20, 2010


Yes, it’s November so I have a lot to say. Especially since I have not written in eons. Things were at a fast pace before school began, while we tried to get our ducks in a line and our lessons ready for the school year. And we had the final frantic moments of the DayCareChaos. Without Robin as our constant, we floundered, I didn’t want the girls in day care (Kath) or before school care (Alex). At the last moment a fellow mom from my Daisy Troop said she’d take on the girls in the morning. So I drop them off, she feeds them breakfast and gets Alex and her daughter on the bus then she drives Kath to school on her way to work. In the afternoon Nick picks Kath up and takes care of her until he drops her off at the end of my school day (classes end at 2:23, he brings her by 2:45) before he goes to work. Then I pick Alex up or meet her at the bus stop. My idea is to make even this crazy transitional times calm. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes not.

Kath has been going to a special education preschool. She’s been in a self-contained room, that means everyone is her room has a disability of some kind. She has a blast. She’s learning so much. Her language is exploding. She’s doing great physical activities, she can hold onto a swing and swing for quite a long time. She is completely and utterly exhausted when Nick picks her up. He’s made comments about how easy his part is, once he gets the tired, often cranky girl in the car.

Her teachers began, in the beginning of the year, to take a few kids into the integrated room (mix of kids with learning disabilities and regular ed kids) . Kath was one. They found she had the easiest time transitioning and that seemed to be strong in there. The idea is to make sure she has peers to bounce ideas off of and raise her and visa versa as well as have peers who are above her so she can aspire and even some who struggle so she can master her skills with them. So by the end of this month they will have a cubby move so she can become a full fledged member of the integrated room.

Alex is doing great in 1st grade. She loves math (who is this kid?? ) and she’s reading tons…when Roger and I spell over her head, she knows what we’re saying. uh-oh.) She’s having a great year, experience. She loves school and is an absolute sponge. She and I are not doing soccer this fall (remember last year I started coaching her team with Chris?) Since she was sick soooo much last year I decided to not push it this year. Besides with me going back to school full time, it seemed too much. She missed about 13 days of school by December last year. She hasn’t missed one (knock on wood). She has to do a ritual of nasal rinsing every morning, taking Delsyum cough suppressant (2X a day) and her inhaler (2X at least a day). She wheezes. But it’s not as out of control as last year. Thankfully. Thinking of signing her up for winter soccer or Tae Kwon Do.

Nick is taking a year off of school. He struggled last year and we’ve since come to have him diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome. We are in the process of getting him help, insurance takes a long time, seems like especially now that insurance companies are trying to cover the least possible. We know that regardless of what they pay out, we will pay whatever it takes to get Nick the help he needs. This is from his accident when he was in HS where he ended up in the hospital. So much new research has come out…that I wish was out then. It would have saved him so much. Now at least he knows help is on the way. I have some reading to go so I an understand what he’s going through and what will help.

Chris is doing well. He’s working and living in Manhattan. He’s applying to grad schools and life sounds like it is going well.

Roger is doing good. He’s still working the two jobs. Thankfully too since just when we thought we’d start to catch up, our well pump went. First we started September with only one paycheck. Ah, really? So that threw us back financially. Then in October one Thursday morning I woke up to get ready for work and there wasn’t any water. When I called Roger (he was doing his newspaper job) he said he knew (nice to tell me). He was hoping it would just come back on. Oy. So when the well people came in the afternoon (thankfully we store lots of water in the basement) they told us it wasn’t that we needed a new well hole dug, but it was that we needed a new pump. And that would cost $2600. And since we don’t have credit cards we asked if they could do payments. They said no. So before they left we talked them into letting us break it down into two payments. Ah.

Hoping this will be the month it all catches up.

As for me. I am back to teaching full time. I love my job, for that I’m thankfully. I have a really big obstacles this year in way of student behavior and New York State Standards and Regs. Another issue has been that I was given 6 classes (normal is 5). In the past a 6th assignment means that you get extra pay, meager as it is, it still made you feel a little better. But our union voted out extra pay a few years ago. So I have a whole ‘extra’ class, lesson planning, papers to grade, behaviors, etc. Then on top of that there are new regulations about students who struggle. And instead of providing them with an extra class I am expected to increase, improve their instruction within the time I have them with everyone else AND provide State Ed with quarterly updates, written in narrative form. I need to declare what I am doing to ensure they improve. And my name will be on that paperwork. And then my yearly review will depend on how these students do. Some of these students have orders of protections against members of their own family, move around a lot, have parents with drug/alcohol issues, financial difficulties. And yet, if I am unable to show they improved, my evaluation can suffer. Oh and did I mention that many of these kids have difficulties with attending school every day?


I’m also still the Daisy leader for Alex’s Girl Scout group.  And this month is National Novel Writing Month. For this month I (along with at least 170,000 other crazy people around the globe will endeavor to write 50,000 words). Hoping that this month will be my breakthrough month here too. 

I have about 90 students, old and new who are working on either the NaNo amount or the Gaboury Novel Writing Month (8000) words. I’m pretty impressed with my kids throwing themselves into their writing like that.

I guess I should let you up for a breath and I have to try to do some catch up for my novel. Wish me luck! :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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