Greetings and salutations dear readers. I hope all of you managed to stop and take a breath, maybe enjoy time with family as safely as possible, recently over the holidays. I know I did. As I start this new calendar year I want to finish something that I started back in September, this post.
Back in September, there was tons of stress due to high Covid numbers in our district. My school happened to have the highest rate at one point so imagine my stress as someone who has a compromised immune system. It was not good. Add that to trying to reconnect with my colleagues and students I had not seen in a year because of my health accommodations to teach remotely from home all of last year. It was a rough start. Sadly, things do not seem to have gotten much better.
There are a couple reasons for writing this besides just finishing what I started. One reason is to shed some light from the educators perspective as I am an educator when I’m not crocheting gloves or creating art for someone. The other is as an advocate because too often we get wrapped up in our own worlds just trying to survive. Part of my training as an educator showed me that when stress is high, you are not in your right frame of mind. Your decisions are actually being made from your brainstem and have been reduced to fight or flight response at that point. Now you’re probably wondering why I called this article “I am not disposable!” then if I am being so reasonable sharing information from an educator’s training. Here’s why:
I am not disposable. It seems that certain folks have forgotten this. An educator like myself is hard to come by. Having taught for 15 years in the district I grew up in, earning a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and currently finishing my National Board Certification all while fighting fibromyalgia (chronic fatigue syndrome). And yet, when I first returned to my base building this year, I was called into the office to have my ability to do my job questioned because of my administrator walking into a situation that I had already called for assistance on in the last few minutes of the school day. On hindsight, I do understand what she was saying. However, if we remember that training I mentioned above, it never should have happened that way as neither one of us was probably in our “right mind” even with waiting until the next morning to have the conversation. Since then, I have felt disconnected from my school community of at least 7 years, being left out of information from my own teammates, never having enough time to truly connect with the students via visitations/observations in their classrooms, on the playground, or other common areas around our building. I avoid the teachers’ lounge like the plague these days after being randomly verbally attacked by a volunteer saying I don’t understand something because I wasn’t black when I wasn’t even part of the conversation. I was just getting something to drink between classes.
We lost our art teacher right before winter break. She had had enough. She had been assaulted verbally and physically by students with nothing being done to make things right. In one particular case, the first question from the administration was “What did you do to instigate the behavior?” Excuse me?! She was the one assaulted by a child with known violent outbursts, yet it was her fault? Anyway, what’s done is done. Between this and a misunderstanding with my own direct teammate, I am about ready to throw in the towel myself (at least as a classroom educator). I don’t want to quit teaching. If it is for my health and safety though, I will.
I am technically part of our local Union. I used to be a ProRep even. Yet just this week I was online calling them to account for the lack of action they were taking to support our teachers. You can probably imagine how that was received. In the end, it led to someone from the Union’s executive board contacting me and putting me in touch with the Union president to see if anything can be done about my complaints. Of course I had to postpone that meeting due to a nasty painful flare of my fibromyalgia because of the dangerously low wind chills with snow that interfered with my teaching unfortunately. I was left to fend for myself though and had to call in sick yesterday. No real choice in the matter. All the principal could say at the end of the day was “take care”. Oh I will…I will.
It isn’t all bad news though I suppose. Thanks to that flare, I may have gotten a clue as to the reason/cause behind all of my constant pain. My doctor sent out a medicine for me to use in severe flares that targets nerve induced pain. I am still waiting for a response concerning this, but I am hopeful that we might yet figure this mystery out.
I also have been crocheting again. My mom and I, in an effort to take care of my students during cold weather, crochet hats and gloves for the “Take it if you need it” racks and baskets at my school. My mom crocheted at least 12 hats of various sizes and colors before break while I added at least 7 pairs of gloves. Hopefully the students are able to get some use out of them. I am also looking to start creating some Zentangle Inspired Art soon that could be your own! It could also just be for my music room, we’ll have to wait and see what turns out.
If you made it this far, you’re amazing! If you didn’t, I hope you know you’re still amazing. Thank you for dropping by, listening/reading my shared frustrations, and until next time…