Andd lunch for the next few days- tofurkey chorizo with mustard greens and green peppers atop a bed of rice! Beautiful.
First three days of work have been crazy. Running around to teachers, trying to figure out what curriculums I am going to be using for my special education students, meeting all the students, reading with them and doing running records with them….it’s been a lot. Plus figuring out scheduling and lesson plans and how to appropriately service my special ed students from K-8, I am tired. But all of this has been exhilarating. In the first year, I had NO idea what questions to ask, how to do things in CPS special education, what I needed to prepare for, and this time? I feel like I’ve got my bases covered. This time last year, even in May, when people asked me how I felt and how I was doing, I lied through my teeth each time and said I had it, when really I didn’t have it, even in May. I was not hustling very much- I was dragging through. Now? I’ve got my plan set for the next few days, I know what materials I need to use, and I feel like I know steps to move forward. And when my principal and assistant principal asked me today, “Hey, how are you doing? Do you need anything?” I 1. knew what I needed, and 2. very confidently, truthfully, and happily shared that I felt great. It’s a lot easier to plan for teaching when you come in seven weeks before school ends and when the administration seems fine with what you’re doing, that is for sure. =)
Like slow-spinning redemption.
This week has been a whirlwind. Tomorrow will be the last day as a special ed classroom assistant at my school, my last day in my break from teaching, my building of strength period, my recharge. I feel strong, ready to be a better teacher than i was last year, one who’s experienced, properly trained, certified and with degrees in hand to put into practice, a far cry from how I began teaching. (Feel free to ask me my thoughts and opinions about Teach For America and my one year with the program. I have mixed thoughts still that I am continuing to build, especially its role in special education.)
I’m ready, yet I also have to look back at everyone who’s helped me this year. I’m so thankful. I have goodies for the kids who made me laugh, believed in me and my knowledge, and who reminded me of my love of youth, of their energy and optimism. I hope the teachers know how much they’ve helped me grow, those who are true public servants, the people who, however imperfect, helped me understand and build on my strengths- and my flaws. I will be forever thankful for the chance to rest and grow in the way I needed to while being an assistant this year- I was lucky for the chance and for the opportunity. I don’t think anyone at my current position will understand how grateful I am.
I made a lot of mistakes last year, many that could have been prevented with proper foresight and planning, but you grow the most from failure, from mistakes, and you just have to forgive. I’ve also been blessed with the best friends and loved ones in the world- thank you for listening, for helping me understand how to move forward. This year has definitely been a hard one, and I’m blessed that I am still on my path to my dream of being the best teacher I can be. This was not the way I envisioned this, but I am and will be a far better teacher after having faced the humility and imperfection that is being human, of making mistakes, of learning from others, even if they seem opposed to you at the time, of reflecting and figuring life out.
At the end of the day, I have to remember that everyone, even me, deserves a chance at redemption, and, as I learned last week when I was hired at my new school, people are always willing to take a chance on you. My principals that have hired me have been those people for me, and I will be that person for my students come Monday and beyond. For now, and one of the biggest lessons of all of this, I realize the importance of the people in your life, the ones who get you by while you can’t get yourself by. It’s a people business, this life we live. And we all deserve to be happy.
Endings and beginnings.
I am waiting at Dallas/Fort Worth.airport, about to come back from Oklahoma, Texas, and a wonderful three-day vacay (where calories and expenditures did not count). It was so good seeing my college friend get married to her love and for my friends and I to reunite at said wedding. I also just kind of love the South, with its kind people, its pride in itself, and just the fact that it’s not so busy. As a native New Yorker and now a Chicagoan, I’ve always been busy, and probably unhealthily so many an occasion. While I’m ready for what’s to come, particularly a new teaching position that I take over next week, I’ll try to remember to unwind, step back, and enjoy my family and friends. I do love them, after all. :-)
On Wednesday I made it official to my principal and my staff- I’ll be taking over a special education classroom at another school for the rest of the year! Therefore this week will be my last week as a paraprofessional at my current school. …I haven’t told my students yet that I’m leaving. I think I’ll tell them on Wednesday to give them some time to say their proper goodbyes and such….I’m going to miss them, and I’m always going to value the growing experience I got here while I built myself back up to teach again next year and finished my masters. I’ll forever be grateful. But I’m really going to miss them, as I will my friends who I’ve been able to spend a wonderful weekend with. So many bittersweet moments this week.
And so all good things come to an end.
Last day of break. This break really flew by. Holy moley.
Totally didn’t apply for teaching jobs in Chicago as I intended- I realized I wanted to actually have a spring break and just chilled around Chicago. Will be working on this tonight, and the next week, and hopefully when all that is sorted and all the spring breaks end in Chicago the interviews for (elementary) special ed positions fly in.
I got my drivers license this break. Totally never going to be mocked for never driving ever again…the not-knowing-how-to-ride-a-bicycle thing, though? Yes, absolutely.
I cut my hair short and put in highlights to just be a bit edgy, for once in my straight-fine-black-Asian-hair life. Hopefully then maybe both the teachers and students at my school don’t confuse me for the Asian social worker who 1. Doesn’t wear glasses, and 2. Doesn’t look like me at all. I wonder what the kids are going to say tomorrow.
Worked out a few days- a semblance of an ab is starting to appear.
Cleaning house- got rid of a Keurig I won in a contest, clothes, a desk chair, and a ton of papers that should have been gone months ago. My floor is visible once again!
Looked for a new place in Chicago- I’m not moving until July, but there were a few places looking already. I just want a bedroom with a door at the end of the day at a price I can afford. Found a prospect, actually!
Went to a few museums, restaurants, drinking spots that I have meant to go to for a while. Not shabby. And walked around and shopped and got to bare my legs in sixty-degree weather. Feeling like spring, yess!
Lastly, I finally cleared up my intentions to parents- that I’m sticking around Chicago and plan to work here for at least another year, if not two. They want me back in NYC, those immigrant parents, them, but I feel like I’m growing and happy. I don’t think they understand right now and they’re not super excited about it, but I think, given time and me showing then I am growing and happy, they’ll come around.
All good things come to an end…
But then again, all good things must start as well. :-)
Falling into place.
I’m 3 days from being done with my Masters in teaching special education, and I have to say- I am EXCITED (!!!), yet I am so scared. I keep worrying about the uncertainty of everything, and trying to accept that life is just uncertain and scary and I’ll never fully understand it. I also keep thinking about how I’ve come from a terrible first year teaching and nowhere being ready for the life hurdles, falling and nearly leaving the teaching profession altogether, to deciding on being a paraprofessional this year and building myself back up to teaching well and with purpose. I’ve been learning (slowly) to forgive myself and others for past transgressions, reflecting regularly, and making steps to move forward the best ways I can.
I realize it’s a lot easier to be a teacher when the other elements of your life are more grounded. Teachers have to be well, too, in order to deal with all the craziness in life. I didn’t know myself very well last year, and it’s scary (ahh!) to see how far I’ve come in two years. The years have gone by fast. I stood, thinking my career path would be an upward one, not a roller coaster. I’ve seen myself at the top, at the bottom, in the middle somewhere, mediocrity at points, and I am still learning. I am on much more solid ground than last year, that’s for certain.
Ahhh, next year! I’m
pretty VERY insecure about next year: there’s so much to do! I’ll be looking for a new position as a special education teacher yet again, moving to a new place somewhere in Chicago alone, meeting people, making friends and settling here for another few years while I work in (hopefully) a new school, with new teachers, and gain teaching experience. IT’S SCARY AS ALL HELL. But I feel I made the right decision- teaching is definitely, definitely what I want to be doing. I am super happy with being with kids every day and guiding them to their lives. I feel like being a paraprofessional this year really helped me hone in on what I needed to work on. Ahh, what a winding road.
To getting here without ever knowing I’d take this path, to failure and all it can teach us, to the celebration of big and little things, and to being happy with job and life.
I have trouble letting go of the past.
Most days I move forward but somehow I’m always reminded and want to linger. At what point is it healthy to think of the past and let it guide us, and at what point does it become too much and not help anymore? I am still learning that for myself. Sometimes the past is too much. Aiy.
Things do get better as time goes by. Might not feel it today, tomorrow, next month, but it does come with time. Too bad it hurts like a b———- while you’re working out things. Longer entry will come in the next few days, but basically I realize I heal best when I have a good balance in my life between personal, professional, family, relationships, and when I am not thriving in one area, I can make sure I am thriving in some parts as I heal in the others. Just gotta keep working at it.
For about two to three weeks I’ve been wanting to write something to get the feelings I have inside me out. And usually writing a blog entry, doing something that gets the emotion out, gets the emotion out of me, and then I think more clearly. But I can’t write. It’s sooo frustrating. Singing hasn’t been helping in getting the emotion out. I can’t really talk it out as I can’t even really explain the emotion- it’s like gratefulness alongside sadness, heartbreak, and a bit of loneliness, even if I am among many friends that I love.
Maybe, I think, I am thankful for all the true friends I have in Chicago now- but I am also hurt by the relationships that have died and seem to be dying before me. I think part of it has just been my choice to be here in Chicago. I keep hoping I am not burning bridges by living the life I want to lead now. I know the people who will stick around are the ones who will stay with me even through these separated times, but still, I don’t like what is happening amongst us friends. And, too, I doubt a lot of my own ability to move forward as I want to. I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing in the job I’m currently in and the job I think I want for next year and beyond. I don’t think I’m good enough sometimes, and sometimes I think I’m a champion. It wavers.
Gosh, I’m such a twenty-something-year-old. Ugh. haha
Lessons learned from 2012-
Think I have to begin posting a few of these as this has been quite a year. Lesson 1: When cooking someone dinner, make sure you
1. Have the ingredients,
2. That the ingredients are fresh and not moldy in your fridge :-(
3. That you have enough backup food in your fridge for when your food is moldy,
4. follow the recipe and cook well so no one gets sick,
5. have a nice bathroom for when someone does get sick, and
6. Provide awesome company so said person you’re cooking for doesn’t care a bit. :-)
One of the teachers at my school is teaching kids how to play guitar. I just bought a guitar a few weeks ago and finally tuned it today! Guess what this teacher/paraprofessional is doing after school on Tuesdays!!!! <3 Yay to getting to learn something new with some of my students. =)
This is our second full week back in school- the strike really threw things off for a bit, but now the teachers and the students are finally getting back into a groove. Just started to implement a behavior chart which is not working as well as I’d like- I just need to be firmer with the student I am assisting.
Deciding to focus on me- I need to be single right now and not think so hard about boys or being lonely. Just being me right now is and should be enough.
On a brighter note, I have to say that the school does make all the difference. I like coming into work now. I don’t feel emotionally and physically drained. I have experience, and I’m applying it. I like having my nights right now while being a para, focusing on me, and finishing up my masters. I don’t dread going into work, and I love it that way. Taking a step back was definitely taking a big step forward for the future. =)