Not Cool, Ann Coulter, Not Cool

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It’s election season, and just like any other, it’s brought out the very best in people. HA! After the final presidential debate, Ann Coulter took to twitter and basically called President Obama a retard.
I admit I used the word retard when I was younger to refer to something that I found to be stupid. However, I grew up. I’m not saying that using the word in a derogatory way is acceptable and forgivable simply based on age. It’s wrong.
I became much more sensitive to this as a teacher and even more so in my current job. I work with adults who have been diagnosed with MR. It’s truly given me a prospective on my life and how for 28 years I have taken the simple things for granted. The people with whom I work are just that. People. They have feelings, just like Ann (although questionable after using cancer insults). Would Ms. Coulter appreciate it if people threw around “Coulter” as an insult?
People need to stop using “retard” to insult others. It’s not okay. I told my elementary school students that their words are powerful. They can help or hurt. Guess what grown ups? Your words are powerful. They can help or hurt. When you tweet nasty things, they are there for everyone to see. Ms Coulter, you had used poor word choice, and those words, they hurt. Please make better a better choice next time.

Check out this blog from John Stephens: specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com

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It’s THAT time of year

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For the past five years the beginning of August meant it was time to head into the sweaty classroom and get started. I would go in early(ish) in the morning (afternoon) and plug away in various parts of the classroom setting things up for the new group of “friends” I was going to meet in a few short weeks. I would leave hours later covered in sweat, tape scraps, a few scrapes and sharpie marker. Sometimes I would accomplish a lot, others I would accomplish nothing more than chatting with coworkers also giving up a day of their precious summer vacation to get things ready for the new year.

I would always wonder what the new school year would bring. I remember feeling extremely over whelmed my first year. I had no idea how to set up a classroom. Would I need all of this paper? Would I need all of this tape? Or did I have too little? The following years were a little less stressful (not much). I knew that I could change things as the year went on and nothing was set in stone as I organized books and supplies and moved tables around.

This year when August first rolled around, I felt extremely under-whelmed. I logged on to Facebook that morning and saw that a few of my teacher friends had posted about going into school to start working in their classrooms. I’ve been seeing the Back-To-School commercials since early July. Usually when I started seeing those commercials, a small wave of panic would wash over me. I would quickly get over it and head to the beach to see the real waves. This year I felt a little sad. Strange as it sound I was sad that I was not panicked. This no longer applied to me. I didn’t have to worry about getting to Staples to take advantage of their penny sale. I didn’t have to get to Wal Mart to get as many boxes of Crayolas as I could possibly fit in my basket. But at the same time, I was relived.

I still don’t know quite how I feel about leaving teaching. As I said before, there are things I will miss, and there are plenty of things I will not miss. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do. I know a few things I do not want to do, but haven’t found that one thing that I can be completely happy with, and want to get up and go do my job everyday (just not too early).

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

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I feel like I am going through a bad break up. I have been teaching elementary school for five years. I taught for four years in a small school in Central Maine. The first two years I felt like I was trying to keep my head above water. My third year, I loved it. My fourth year…not so much. I thought it was because I had a tough class, and I had spent most of the summer looking for a new teaching job in Southern Maine. I was also living  with my parents and commuting one hour each way. I placed my job unhappiness on those things. Sure, I wondered what it would be like to have a job where I didn’t come home smelling like glue, expo marker, and first grader. I wondered what it would be like to have a job where you could grab coffee if needed, or even use the bathroom. I never actually stopped and thought that maybe teaching just wasn’t for me anymore. 

Things started to change at year five. I found a new job in a location I liked, and even a grade level I thought I would love. However, I still unhappy. I didn’t want to go to work in the morning. It was beyond the usual I-don’t-want-to-get-up-before-the sun.There was something else. 

March rolled around and I was still pretending that everything was okay, this was a transition year, and I would be fine next year. I would be happier. I would be a better teacher. I soon found out that I would not be returning to my second grade position the next school year. I was shocked. I was angry. I was sad. In my head I started filling out applications (again). I took some time and thought about what I was going to do. I decided it was now or never. If I didn’t leave the teaching field now, I never would. I thought about everything else I could do. I also thought about all the things I love about teaching. I enjoy teaching. I enjoy reading with my students. But a teacher is much more than a teacher. The curriculum goes far beyond what is given to teachers. It’s much more than reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Teachers have to teach their students how to be people. How to behave. Teach them what is socially acceptable and what is not. If I could close my classroom door and have time to be creative and do hands-on learning with my students, I think I would be much happier, and I think I would be looking for another teaching job. 

My final decision is to leave teaching. It’s been a rough few months working through that decision. I have days where I am saddened by my situation, I have moments in my classroom where I am having fun and I know my students are engaged. I even have times when I think “when I do this next year…” I stop there because for me there is no “next year.” A lot of the time I am fine with that. I have been told by colleagues that they are kind of jealous of me. I have an opportunity to do something else. I can almost do anything I want. 

I know it’s going to be hard at first. I know I am going to only think of the good times and wonder if I have made the right choice. But I have to remind myself that this is for the better. This is the best decision for me. I will cherish the good times I’ve had over the last five years, but I know it’s time to move on.