Thursday, January 27, 2011

Somebody call an ambulance...

I was told this morning by one of my students that I would "need an ambulance" later in the day.

Fabulous.

At first, I freaked out. Silently, of course. Any sign of fear and these kids will just keep pushing it. I eventually quietly said something to my host teacher. She told me that whatever he may have been referring to (and who knows...fighting, weapons?) was unlikely to happen, but at the same time, they dont put any kind of threat past these kids. Fabulous. Again.

The rest of the day went pretty similarly. Most of these kids are constantly blaming others for their misfortune yet dont do anything about taking responsibility for themselves, and that was exactly the case today. Not to mention the two kids who are usually the "big boys" on campus, were suspended today for a fight they got in yesterday. Normally these boys are like brothers, but just like normal siblings, they lost it with eachother, and their nature is to physically fight it out. When these boys ARE getting along, the day typically runs smoothly. I am so excited for them to be back next week. We have a new student in our homeroom class and Oh. My. Gosh. If this kid is not the most know-it-all, annoying, smart alec, then I dont know who is. I think I would have been fine for the rest of the day after the whole ambulance thing...but this kid just. kept. going. I wrote him up three times. THREE. TIMES. On his second day at the school. I hadnt written any of the kids up until today, the first three were just to help out my host teacher since she had so many from yesterday to finish (the fight between the two "big boys" and the student who told me I was going to need an ambulance had quite a day yesterday as well) I was so emotionally drained when I got home that I immediately crawled into bed, which sadly is therapeutic for me. I should probably work on running as therapy instead. Maybe next week.

Peace&Love.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover...

After a week (really more like 2 days...) at my newest placement, I have already learned SO much. It amazes me how many aspects of Special Education there are. In my last placement, most of my students were MID (Mild Intellectual Disability) or MOID (Moderate Intellectual Disability)..and honestly didnt have a clue as to what was going on in the "real world." Their favorite tv shows (remember these are highschoolers...) were Dora the Explorer, all the shows on the Disney channel, and they loved Buzz Lightyear, Tinkerbell, etc. Then again, who doesnt love Buzz & Tink? Invalid point I suppose...

I digress. My new placement is the complete. opposite. (extra period for emphasis) And I cant lie...after my first day, I called my mom wanting to cry because I was so terrified and upset because I knew I would have to suck it up and be at placement every Tuesday and Thursday for the next 6 weeks. Somehow I held back the water works. Now, I dont know if it was that the kids were just having a "bad day" or if it was their way of testing me by way of extreme intimidation (at least, it was intimidation in my 'suburban, manicured lawn, clean house, a few nice things here and there' way of viewing life) but I was skraight..oh, sorry, STRAIGHT, petrified after my first day.

After I walked into the classroom, set my pink travel coffee mug, purse, and "teacher bag" down, I began to hear a very high pitched beeping noise every few seconds that sounded like it was coming from the hallway. I brushed it off and walked around the room looking at the kids work on the walls, trying to talk to my host teacher (not much of a talker), and eventually peered out into the hallway just to check it out, as it continued to beep constantly. Um. It was a metal detector. Also known as a "Wand". That the principal was using on the kids. Growing up I had always heard about some schools on the South side of my county that had to have mesh or clear backpacks and metal detectors at the doors. I guess I neeeeeever imagined myself actually being in one of these schools as a student, much less a TEACHER. Culture shock numero uno.

After getting past the difficulty I have understanding most of the kids, it became pretty obvious that the teachers pick their battles, and that dropping the "F bomb" and every other cuss word in the English spoken language is not one of those battles. Ummm. In high school, my classmates and I were lucky if a teacher looked past "hell" being said. Among the cussing were stories of "quitting smoking" (pretty sure they werent talking about cigarettes as one student, a 13 year old, has a possession of marry-j-wanna under their belt.) Another thing I noticed was a student drawing gang-related words and symbols. Sweet.

Another side note, these kids are known to get so emotionally frustrated, that they will bolt out of the building. This occurred on my first day, but luckily not with one of my students. We saw the little girl's head bob past the window of our classroom as she ran one way, then saw it again when she ran back - later, on the walkie talkie, (main method of communication throughout the school for safety purposes, I believe) I heard "we have lost sight of her." Ooookay then. I later learned that the student had made it to a liquor store before the faculty could catch up with her, which requires crossing a VERY busy street and running a pretty far distance.

After alllllllllllll of this happening on the first day, I left after my second day there absolutely LOVING these kids and this placement. I think the fact that I learned to kind of ignore some of their...tendencies, just as the host teachers do, and accept that said tendencies are part of their lives, whether they OR myself like it or not, helped me to just have fun and enjoy the new experience. Hence the old adage and title "dont judge a book by its cover." Not to mention one of the boys told me he liked me, that I was "skraight & cool", and that I'd better hope they dont get attached to me. I'll take it.

Peace&Love,
Chels

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new semester...1 down, 3 to go!

I can officially say that I made it through my first semester as a cohort student. For anyone who is not familiar with a cohort program...Google it. Oh, I kid...sort of, but it really would probably describe it best. Basically, being in one of the education or nursing cohorts means that you hand your life over to your respective programs for the last two years of your higher education.

So I made it through the first semester (with flying colors, at least for me, might I add) and it's onto round 2. My first field-based placement for this semester will be at a school that is specifically for emotionally and behaviorally challenged students. These kids are bused in from several surrounding counties to this school after it is deemed that attending this school for a certain amount of time would be beneficial for them. Today was kind of a "look see" day, and we were to just go and stay for a couple of hours to get to know our host teacher, the kids, their schedule, etc. My host teacher was not there today, but her parapro (or what I assume to be her para) was there who I already realllllllly like. She's hilarious! She briefed me on a few things about the students/things I need to know about the school and I took note of some happenings that stood out to me:

- several of the kids are "gang affiliated"
- fights break out on a regular basis...meaning like once every day or two.
- when she was telling the kids some things they could NOT write about in an essay, she said something like "no drugs, sex, or profanity"
- one student shared about a time when DFACS came to his house...although I couldnt exactly make out what he was saying about it.
- another student mentioned that his Dad had been fired and that he needed to get a new job & start doing something with himself again.
- my host teacher(s) teach 5th-8th graders throughout the day.
- one of the student's last day is tomorrow, after being back and forth between this school & his regularly assigned school for 3 years now. The support/parapro is hoping that he wont have to come back (not coming back is a good thing.)

Needless to say, dull moments will be rare this go-round, as they usually are with Special Education students. I am excited to experience and learn in a new environment and can't wait to share (in moderacy for privacy reasons, of course) more as I go.

Peace & Love,
Chels

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Snow Day"...or lackthereof

Welp, the impossible has now become a reality! I was convinced that there would be no snow, except for maybe North Georgia, and that it would just rain in the rest of the state. As my boyfriend The Grinch would say...WRONGO!!! Less than a month after what REALLY seemed impossible (a white Christmas!) some might say a blizzard has come to the South. As if coming back to school after being at home & having nothing to do for an entire MONTH werent hard enough already...Middle Georgia has accumulated NOTHING compared to Atlanta. My family keeps sending me pictures via phone..I have never wished I was at home more than I do now. Not sure what the official number is in inches yet or if they can even say as it is probably still falling. It has to be at the very least 6 inches.

So despite the fact that there is hardly any snow on the ground in these parts, classes were cancelled today, just as I told my Mom they would be, but still made the trek back to school, while Atlanta is quite literally snowed in. If you couldnt tell already, I am straight up DE-PRESSED about this.

Why yes, I am a drama queen at times. I am thinking the only thing that can even begin to help is Waffle House.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

I think the only thing I really have to say about not blogging in almost a month, is "Oops."

The past 4 weeks have been nothing short of relaxing and FUN. Let's recap with a pictorial review!

Tacky Christmas Sweater party with friends from church (and high school)...so fun. Love my church family :)


Christmas Eve was spent getting last minute gifts and then going to the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service. Afterwards we enjoyed more church family time with a bite to eat, a few drinks and HILARIOUS stories...I swear a book could be written with some of the stories everyone has told over the years.

Christmas day was absolutely perfect. We opened presents around ten and started making quite possibly the biggest breakfast ever made in our kitchen. Complete with waffles, hash browns, biscuits, bacon, eggs, grapefruit. I'm sure there was more but I cant remember exactly...probably because while we were cooking Atlanta experienced it's first White Christmas since 1882!!! I could not even believe it. It was fabulous. For once it was PRETTY outside during the winter, not to mention during the holidays! The good ole white stuff covered all the grey, leafless trees and the colorless grass...so pretty. After breakfast we cleaned up & headed over to my aunt's house for Christmas dinner. Oh. My. Gosh. Per usual, it was delicious. And that might be an understatement.

The day after Christmas we spent with the other side of the family, and then both sides came together to watch my cousin play at a bar..there was such a great turnout & it was so much fun! Bobby is so incredibly talented, and he has some pretty talented friends/bandmates as well :) Feel free to check his music out at http://www.bobbycoolmusic.com/

                                           


The day after that was spent at the FABULOUS Georgia Aquarium :) My grandfather was in town for the holidays and he had never been before, so we all went as a family. It was so insanely crowded...but very worth getting to see my grandfather experience it! I cant wait to go back when the dolphin exhibit is revealed.


Unfortunately New Years was spent on the couch with a cold...but I was completely okay with watching Toy Story 3 and hanging out with my seester. Other than all these fun happenings, babysitting, catching up with high school friends and hanging out with this sweet girl:

(She fell asleep on me during a boat ride over Thanksgiving. Could you just die? I cant blame her...boat rides will make you sleepy.)

I hope everyone (or uh, anyone who actually reads this? Thanks, by the way, if you do!) had a great holiday season...one of my New Years resolutions is to actually blog on a regular basis...we'll see if that happens! Cheers to a new year!

Peace & Love,
Chels