Friday, May 8, 2009

Lost: 1 dose of optimisim, please return to owner immediately

The wonderful author, TeachenEspanol, of the blog Adventures in Super teaching published a post yesterday about the suckiness of certain situations. I love her blog and usually walk away inspired after I read it, but yesterday, a smile spread across my face as I read about "suck suck suck suck suck !" That pretty much sums up this week, and a big thank you to teachenespanol for articulating it so clearly. I generally consider myself to be a fairly optimistic and energetic person, but that was not the case this week.

A new student started without any advanced notice. I know that as teachers, we are expected to be flexible, but sometimes it is very hard to embrace such flexibility. As I looked through the child's file, something very glaring caught my eye. He is not receiving speech and language therapy, despite using an amplification system and having seemingly little verbal ability. He was referred for communication concerns, but the speech therapist was not present at his original IEP meeting, nor his her report anywhere in his file. To add to that situation, his grandfather claims the student lost his amplification system at school and the school will need to pay to replace it. Since it is an external system, I am pretty sure I would have noticed it if the child came to school with it. As teachenespanol said, "Suck suck suck suck suck suck"

Then on Thursday morning, many of my parents came in carrying their children. I thought this was a bit odd and asked one parent about it. She said someone "doo-dooed" on the stairs outside. I did not have time to think too much about it and assume it was some one's dog. Imagine then my surprise when I took the students outside at dismissal time and saw this huge puddle of shit on the stairs. It was disgusting! As parents picked up their kids, many commented that they had spoken to the custodian this morning about it and wanted to know why the situation was not handled. I unfortunately did not have any answers for them but felt their anger.

Talking with other teachers after school, it became clear that several of them had spoken to our custodian themselves. The principal was out of the building for the day and the assistant principal was tied up outside with bus duty. No big deal, it will be dealt with after school, right?
When I arrived at school on Friday morning and it was still there, I was horrified and embarrassed. Horrified that the germs and bacteria were still there, that some people had probably stepped in it inadvertently and traipsed remnants throughout our building and embarrassed to be walking in, to say that, yes this is indeed where I work. I was reluctant to approach the principal for a variety of reasons but I knew that if I didn't say anything, the situation would not get better by itself. The principal at first did not believe me and/or did not understand the magnitude of the situation. I finally had to show him and he got the custodian to clean it immediately. What message does it give parents, students and the community when a huge mass of fecal matter is on the steps of the school building? Was someone so sick that they couldn't make it inside? Was someone playing a horrible prank? Anyway, "suck suck suck". It is really hard to be optimistic when you literally have to walk around a pile of shit to get into work.

Added to the suckiness of this week was this overall feeling that I was sinking, that I was falling behind in my work. The week seemed to drag on. I was tired from having class until 8pm twice in one week. The wrist hurt through most of the week and is finally starting to feel better. I know the coming week will bring more challenges, but I hope I can return to my optimistic state and more energetic self.

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