Flexibility and Change

It's crazy, but I have only 27 school days until my knee replacement surgery. That's so soon! Because the length of my absence is only 17 school days, we do not have to hire a long-term sub. So I've asked for the building sub, a newer teacher, to be me because she knows my kids, she's been me more than a few times this year of disaster, and she will be a great, consistent, patient force. 

But, she's also a newer teacher and she knows that my group is... challenging to say the least. She has come to me multiple times, nervous about the behavioral aspect of being me. I guess I can take it as a compliment that she said, "I'm up for the challenge! If I can be you, I can do ANYTHING." Good gracious. No wonder I'm exhausted. 

I had a meeting with my principal last Friday, and we were talking about my kids and how to get them to the end of the year, successfully. I shared a thought that I haven't really verbalized because I feel an odd sort of shame with it -- I wish that for this particular group, we had done ICT (Integrated Co-Taught) English instead of the 15:1 self-contained English that I'm teaching. I absolutely love teaching my English class, and it has been a bright spot in my day for the years that I've done it, but this year the behaviors in the small group overshadow EVERYTHING. It takes us so long to get to things and there is a constant running negativity and "bro" culture -- it's sort of like being the house mom at a fraternity. A lot of it is because these students have been together for years and they are like brothers, like family. They are VERY comfortable with each other and in the classroom, which was theirs the previous year too (although I worked really hard to make it look different this year). It results in a lot of managing social behavior, distraction/disruption, and constant song-and-dance to keep everybody engaged. I feel like I work so hard to make things exciting and interesting, but the behavior makes it hard to make headway. It's insanely disheartening. 

So, when I said that out loud, I first was like oh shit I just blew myself in as feeling inadequate, and then my principal said, "Well, why don't we make it ICT? Is there another English class the same period? Can we trial it and get them ready-er for next year, when most will be co-taught and not self-contained?" 

OH. At first it hit me like a gut punch... I just started a new unit, I just got buy-in, and the other teacher is not at all doing the same thing. I said as much, and the principal said, "Well, can you change yours? Just change it." She must have seen my face because she said, "I didn't mean that quite so flippantly, but seriously... this could really be helpful." I tried to wheedle my way into finishing my unit, but she said, "I want YOU to be able to benefit from the change. Talk to the other teacher, call the parents. See what you can do." 

I feel like these kind of situations are so hard because so many of my experiences have been rife with uncertainty, change, and being totally not in control of what happens next. I can be a flexible person, but I do really hate change. Or at least I do at first. I had to process this all day, as I approached the other teacher (who is a friend of mine, which made it easier) and figured out how to morph into her plans, and shift my plans entirely. The original plan was to try to join by this coming Friday, but the way the plans went (small-group literature circles), there was really no way to do it any later than Tuesday. Like, TOMORROW. 

So, I did it. I talked to the other English teacher, I talked to my classroom paraprofessional, I called every single parent between Friday and today (although I did say NO to calling anyone after 4:00 on Friday). I'm not sure it was clear just how much work went into making this change. 

BUT, it will make my sub feel much more comfortable. It really will help get everyone ready for what English will look like next year. It will help break up the small Animal House fraternity in my room. It will give them more exposure to different adults and students. AND it will make it so I don't have to do sub plans (or grading) for English for the days I'm gone. It really will make things easier for me. (It does bother me that a solution to this only happened at the very end of the year, when someone else has to fill in for me...but better late than never?)

I am proud of myself. I am proud that I let go of my pride and my swallowing down of my feelings of inadequacy, and there was a presented solution that no one resisted. The kids are nervous, but they are also kind of excited. And I think they may finally appreciate me now that they are doing something different (albeit, still with me, just in a different classroom). 

Infertility both made me more hesitant and anxious about change, but it also forced me to shift and pivot more and more, the further we got into things. I am glad that I could pivot on this and get all the legwork done to make the change, which should make the end of the year much more manageable. 

AND, the best part of today was that I heard from both the other English teacher and some of the kids in the class we're joining, that they were kind of upset that this change was happening (they have a very small, very quiet and lovely section without my buddies), but then someone said, "Wait! Is Mrs. T____  coming too?" and when the answer was "Yes!" they erupted into cheers and yays. One student told me at the end of the day, "We LOVE having you in Social Studies, this is going to be great!" 

Yay, yay, yay... I think it's going to be a great 27 days after all.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays, perhaps some that are actually micro? Go here and enjoy! 

Introducing . . . Dr Bryce!

A very delayed "it's official" micro-post.... 

The newly minted Dr Bryce in his sneak attack "Chaotic Good" t-shirt with his insanely proud advisor. 

Bryce is now DR BRYCE! It went amazingly well, he didn't get sick, he said he wasn't even nervous once he got going. It was AWESOME. (Or so I heard, I was still stuck upstairs.) I am so sad that I missed it, but I am glad that we can celebrate in earnest this weekend! 

It is incredible! He is just glowing and floating on the relief and excitement. Our celebration was delayed because I only just tested negative twice in 48 hours (today was my first "yay I'm cleared!" day, even though I was cleared to go back to work on Monday with a KN95...and I did). So we are going to live it up this weekend! 

YAYYYYY Dr. Bryce! 

D-Day is Here! (Defense Day)

Here it is... 8 years and change from the start, Bryce is leaving to go defend his PhD dissertation on Single Mode Distributed Feedback Lasing using some sort of photonic bandgap thingie. 

I am so stinking proud of his big brain!

You will notice I said "he's leaving" and not "we're leaving."

To my horror and dismay, I tested positive for COVID on Saturday. I started feeling crappy and sinus-y on Thursday, and tested before I came home. In the car. It was negative, but we separated (me in the upstairs bedroom, him in the basement bedroom, masks in the house). It didn't go away, and I went to school Friday because a) I was negative and b) it was the day before a break and c) I was masking. Thursday and Friday I slept for 3-4 hours when I got home. Saturday morning I didn't feel worse, but I didn't feel better, so I tested again... And it LIT UP. I was in such disbelief that I took another test upstairs half an hour later, no difference. If anything, that T line lit up faster.

There were tears. Bryce was convinced that he was going to have to cancel, that his graduation was at risk. That 8 years was going to fall victim to poorly timed COVID.

That rockin' headband is to squeeze my poor head

But, I quarantined upstairs, we kn95'd in the house, he left me food on a tray table on the landing, we spoke through the "peephole" to the living room.


He did not get sick. He is off to give his presentation, and while I am heartbroken not to be able to be there to help and to cheer, I am thrilled that he can be there at all. Because the Universe has a sick sense of humor. 

I'm feeling better, this bout was very different. Mostly focused in my head, my sinuses, my ears, my throat... And it's only recently entered my lungs but not nearly as bad as in the fall. I can nebulize 2x/day and that helps. I am grateful for that. Asthma truly makes COVID no joke. It's sucked that my head has been so awful that I haven't been able to read until very recently. I am beyond pissed that I got it -- I don't know exactly where, to my knowledge I wasn't exposed, and I've been masking consistently for weeks and weeks in prep for the big day. 

But, Bryce is ready, Bryce is healthy, Bryce is out of this plague house and on his way to be Dr Bryce!

Handsome big-brained man, ignore the swamp creature to the left. Only way to get a picture together on this momentous occasion!