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It was an interesting weekend. I went out on a date Friday night, laid around Saturday, and got up enough energy to pick up a few groceries with my youngest that evening. Sunday morning I woke up determined to get the place clean for Mother's Day. It isn't one of my favorite holidays, I had been invited over to get together with the rest of my family members, but I couldn't get past the way that I felt the last time I saw my mom so I wavered, and eventually skipped it which made me feel a bit guilty at the time. The girls left to go out to eat, I laid down for a while, happy that I had purchased the pale pink pillows that were decorating the head of my bed, but sad that I was alone and lonely on day designed for me.

It was really cold when I woke up, I went to shut the windows I had opened, then realized the cold was coming in from the door that nobody had closed properly the night before. The girls were sleeping and I let them. Sleep is such a high priority in my own life that I tend to do almost anything to let others have it in abundant quantities. The girls came back and handed me flowers, a card, and some chocolate. I thanked them, then sat in bed crying as I told them how I was feeling. Angry, sad, I forget what else I said, but I told them that I felt like a failure and a loser because that was true at the time. 

Neither of them said anything, what do you say to a mom who is melting down like that? I was embarrassed to be on stage like this, feeling as if I should have more control over my mental and emotional state, but retrospectively, I think it was better than all the times I repressed what I was feeling only to snap at the later, or have it come out in some other less healthy way. My oldest rubbed my back until she told me that she needed to leave for work. That was very validating and affirming, and I marveled at her skill. She didn't really say anything, just let her gentle touch soothe me, and then I felt worse for placing this burden on her when she is so young.

She still has self harm scars on her arms and probably other places that are less obvious. We are a toxic and dysfunctional group at best, but I keep going to the library, keep listening to my audiobooks, keep trying to keep it clean while maintaining a level of organization, and keep praying for them. I bought a prayer box a while back and I've really enjoyed using it. I write down whatever I want, need, or am thankful for, and it really helps. This weekend was rough, but there was a lot of good in it too. I feel like I am getting closer to some solutions and better identifying what needs to be done next, so I am grateful for that.

One of the things I bought was a vertical organizer. I tore apart a booklet on anxiety, I threw the one on depression away because I don't want to read it or think about it. Perhaps I am depressed on some level, but it never seems to be the curse and bane that anxiety is, I think about the past, but I wouldn't say that I dwell on it or focus on it to an unhealthy extent. The future is of far greater concern to me. My plan is to put these papers into sheet protectors, and put them in my 1 - 31 file so every day I can open it up, and find something in there that will help me. A breathing technique, a way to name and experience emotions, a reminder of what brings me joy. I'm excited for this and I want others to be too.

I paid my rent, but now the company is telling me they don't have the money, but I'm not really worried about it. I'm far less worried than I used to be, and I've learned to differentiate anxiety from worry. Perhaps a small distinction, but helpful in my case. I made a pork tenderloin with asparagus and roasted cauliflower even though I was beyond tired. This morning I saw my youngest and asked what was wrong because she looked dreadful. She said she had been unable to sleep, she has this problem from time to time, and my heart goes out to her. We had a nice little chat about all sorts of things when we were driving in the car together, small moments of healing as I like to think of them. It's getting better, it really is.

Xoxo,

J

P.S. The date was wild, but there were things I didn't like about it and I'm still in the not sure what to think and feel stages of the processing phase.

j

I have passed my credential induction program.

For those of you who don’t know, a requirement for being a teacher in my state is to 1. Pass the college credential program and 2. Complete an induction program with your workplace. The completing the college credential part gives you a “preliminary” credential that’ll expire in a few years, the second part gives you a “clear” credential which means you’re a Real Teacher. It takes two years, and our contract requires the district to at least start the process before our 3rd year, with a goal of getting it started our first year of hiring (which it doesn’t follow because they don’t wanna waste time training first year teachers who they might not want the next year).

Part of my district’s Induction program is a mandatory fun super happy celebration that we are required to attend. This Induction Colloquium is to both celebrate the P2s who are completing the program, and the P1s who are completing their first year.

+ + + + +

There’s a teacher at our school who will not be joining us next year. Well, there are a couple, but there’s one for whom it is not a choice.

In the words of my colleagues on the subject:

Colleague one: How did he get non-reelect? You just have to do your job.

Colleague two (From here on referred to as Dani): well according to his coach. . . he isn’t.

There’s a lot going on with this guy. According to Dani who shares students with him (both in the extracurricular class she teaches and the sports team she coaches for), he has piss-poor classroom management. He’ll start a lesson, give up halfway, then start a movie. The teacher next door to him complains of the noise coming from his room. The custodian for our building has complained that his room is too dirty; kids leave trash all around the room.

Our principal has mentioned once or twice to my colleague that he has a good sense of whether a teacher will cut it at our school or not. All the teachers he’s interviewed have done well. Note: he doesn’t interview every teacher who gets hired (he didn’t interview me or most of the other teachers I know) but when he does, he tends to be right. My colleague brought this up to him.

Dani: Hey, PRINCIPALNAME. You’ve got the 6th sense for hiring, right?
Principal: Yes. . .
Dani. Well. There’s one teacher who won’t be here next year. So. . . what happened there?
Principal: I’m afraid I don’t know who you mean.
Supplemental Coach: I don’t even WORK here and I know who she’s talking about!

The principal laughed and said quietly that he didn’t do that interview.

+ + + + +

It’s not a secret that he’s leaving and wasn’t invited back. During the department meeting a couple months back, he was playing with some cut-up Apple headphones.

“Look,” he said. “My students gave me a going away present.”

“Oh?” I said.

“Yeah, they made me air pods. Get it?”

The cut up headphones did resemble air pods.

“Heh. Cute. Why the going away present? Are you going to be out or something?”

“No. I’m not coming back next year.”

“Oh. Are you moving or. . . ?”

“They don’t want me back.”

Which killed not only our conversation, but the conversation around us. A few folks gave him the pep talk, and that’s when he said he was going to move and maybe didn’t want to be a teacher anymore.

My Colleague with the Hot Gossip (hereafter referred to as Mary) is in his PLC group. Mary and Dani are BFFs, so we’ve been getting updates in our PLC as they text each other. Apparently, every PLC since then has been him dominating the conversation and flip-flopping between saying how great and well behaved his classes are (“Complete lies,” said an entirely different colleague. “I’ve done a professional observation on his classes and they’re a wreck.”) and saying how bad he is at classroom management and how he is struggling.

“He tries to be friends with them,” said one of my colleagues. “That’s his problem.”


At one point, Mary texted us with a screencap of his Google Classroom page. He had comments enabled for his students, and there was a thread of students celebrating that he would be gone soon.

"That's fucking cold," she said.

+ + + + +

Mary knows his Induction Coach, the district appointed educational coach who’s there to guide us through induction. We all have one and they are super helpful and kind.

Mary: So about--

His Coach: I cannot say anything until he has officially left the district at the end of the school year. After that, we’ll talk.

Guys. When you’re so bad that your district appointed Helpful Person is eager to give the tea on you. When the person who has seen and guided hundreds of other new teachers, all of whom have their struggles and challenges to some extent can barely contain your lack of quality.

Just. Yikes.

+ + + + +

So cut forward to last night, during the Mandatory Fun Celebration.

Guess who showed?

He didn’t need to come. I asked him, and he said he wasn’t staying with the district. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to keep teaching. Considering the Induction process is district-specific, meaning that he would still need to go through Induction with whatever new district he got hired at and would have to start over, even if he had wanted to continue teaching, he didn’t need to be at the Mandatory Fun ceremony. His eyes looked tired and a little puffy-red, like he’d been crying.

At one point, he muttered under his breath, “I really don’t want to be here.”

And I almost said, “why did you come?”

Instead, I said that he might enjoy teaching middle school. Younger middle school students-- 6th and 7th grades. He laughed it off, but he looked thoughtful, so maybe that will be something. I remember loving middle school.

+ + + + +

I’ve been crass this whole WU. I blame my cynical 3rd year teacher jaded-ness. But don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate him. I don’t have anything against him. He seems like a nice, quiet guy (which may or may not be related to his classroom management issues), though the way he speaks/acts sets off my aspie alarm.

I feel genuinely bad for the guy. He’s basically living my worst nightmare, but I’m just blown away that he showed up.

. . . Anyhoo, I’ve got my credential cleared and I am now a fully fledged teacher who can teach anywhere in the United States. I’ve got one more electronic document to sign and then I’m official.

I’m also tenured, and part of the district ELD Curriculum “Task Force” that will he changing the ELD curriculum for the entire district, so that’ll be fun.

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