not the teacher I used to be

Today was a pretty decent day in the classroom. Friday had been a good day too. I was going to post on Friday so that this blog would not be filled with negativity but I just went home and enjoyed the fact that it was a good day. I am still waiting for two good days in a row but that might be asking too much.

Today I had two meetings. One was an IEP meeting during my prep with someone from monitoring and compliance there. Yeah. In the past, the teacher who I used to be would not have been shaken by this at all. The teacher I used to be would be familiar with that student’s goals and have read the behavior plan especially before having an IEP meeting. That teacher would show up with notes. But apparently that is not the teacher I am now. Now I show up and when monitoring and compliance lady asks me how the behavior plan is working I BS something about how we are supporting the student. It’s not like I’m not dealing with the behaviors I just don’t know the details of the plan (which I’m probably doing anyway because often many of these interventions are common sense if you get to know the student at all).

Then she asks me if the student has any academic goals. (Sorry, I have no clue and I’m thinking, you’ve got the damn IEP open right in front of you! You tell me if the student has an academic goal.) I fudge my way through that too while mom and therapists sit there…

Then everyone leaves and monitoring and compliance lady asks the educational team to stay behind and I get called out for not being prepared. And I’m embarrassed. But I told her this is not the teacher I used to be.

This afternoon I had a meeting with school staff and apparently I was supposed to have gathered all of this information from the first grade team. As each topic came up and the assistant principal turned to me for the first grade information I had to repeatedly tell her I didn’t know.

I’m leaving work at 5:30 tonight. I have an IEP and a behavior plan in my bag to be more prepared for the IEP meeting I have tomorrow. I also have two books on literacy planning because I have no lessons planned for tomorrow.

I don’t know how to be the teacher I used to be. I don’t know how to stay on top of due process paperwork, academic lesson plans, social/emotional lessons, daily meetings during my prep, daily meetings at the end of the day, supporting my students in the moment, directing my assistants, creating visual supports….the list goes on.

The reason people who live with trauma and continuing crisis have such difficulty changing their situation is because it is virtually impossible to feel sane in constant chaos. It is impossible to remember where you put that important paperwork. It starts to become very difficult to be any type of level-headed adult. I now have more insight into the challenges the families I work with face and why they might let their kids insurance lapse, why the laundry might not get done, why fast food seems like the best answer for a meal, why they can’t show up to a parent teacher conference and if they do why they may appear to not care. Spending six and a half hours five days a week in crisis mode constantly putting out fires does not help you to be a successful, calm, functioning adult. Imagine living like that. At least I have a few hours of respite each day.

I am not the teacher I used to be. I hope I can figure out how to get back to being that person.

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2 thoughts on “not the teacher I used to be

  1. Oh, Beth. The teacher you used to be worked within a whole different set of circumstances. Context matters. Just being honest about where you’re at makes you the teacher you were and better…the teacher you are becoming under another given set of circumstances. You are going to be the refreshing person at the table who is honest FIRST. Then, you’ll see the parents and the therapists gulp with glee. You mean…we can be honest, too? You mean…we don’t have to act like we have it all together amidst this unreasonable chaos? Oh, my! Those IEPs might actually be what they are intended to be. Not a show, not a “when he’s with ME, he’s perfect.” Instead, a “this is bigger than any one of us. Let’s be honest and work together to move this kid forward. That’s all. Wake up each morning and do your best. That’s all. Are you? Of course. Are you showing up and loving them? Are you trying to hear them? Are, you willing to be humbled and open about it and okay with failure at every turn? Then, you’re right where you need to be. –Dawn

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