Saturday, June 30, 2007. The first day of summer break. This past month has been quite a ride!
First, the job stuff.
I've taught a certain kind of special education program for 19 years now. In that time I've seen the average IQ of the students I work with plummet, their level of need skyrocket, and the overall severity of their diagnosis intensify. Somehow, this past year the fun went out of it. My give a damn broke. By January I knew that I was going to have to move on to a new phase of my teaching career or leave it behind entirely. I did what I could to bank the burnout back to smolder and concentrated on the things that were giving me joy and purpose at work; basketball, spinning classes, awards and assemblies, mentoring those special few young people that had managed to work their way into my heart. I did my job with my students but I had to admit that my heart wasn't in it any more.
By the beginning of June the school board had gotten their collective act together enough that there were postings for available postions. I applied to four schools and eventually had interviews with all of them. The first was a negative (on both sides). The second and third ended in job offers. I asked the fourth, much to their disappointment, not to consider me further since I already had two excellent offers in hand both significantly closer to my home. In Calgary proximity and a commute are everything these days. Gas prices are stupid and traffic is often tediously snarled. This was literally the first time in my whole career that I had a choice about where I would work. I've been declared surplus, placed, drafted, and traded for a draft pick; but I've never been able to choose. It was such an incredibly empowering feeling to know that my skills and talents are desirable beyond the niche I've been working in. I walked around for the better part of two weeks on an absolute high! Eventually I chose to move to another junior high school, declining the offer from a senior high. The latter was truly a job of my heart - working with at-risk youth in high school kicking their asses and holding their hands to get them through to graduation. Next year I will be teaching grade 9 students with learning disabilities in a new method of working in a fully inclusive setting using laptops and a bunch of assistive software to support them. It's an exciting opportunity with the potential for more responsibility and advancement.
Once next year was settled I turned around and realized that this year had a long way to go and I had lost nearly two weeks! In their infinite wisdom, the powers that be decided that June was the perfect time for teachers to audit the files of students with severe needs. I had five. That translated to about 35 hours of additional paperwork and meetings. Add to that the usual report card / special education wrap up work (2.5 hours per kid X 14 kids) AND the production of an enormous awards and year-end assembly / show for which I was primarily responsible and you quickly see that I had way more work than time. The only solution was mach speed. So for the last 3 weeks I have been moving at around mach 7 with my hair on fire. There have been points where I've felt like my whole head was on fire! I snarled at the virus that threatened to take me out and sent it packing with a combination of caffeine, adrenalin, denial and mega-doses of vitamin C. There were many late late nights, more than a little wine some days, and regular trips to the gym. I honestly think that I would have turned to ash if it weren't for those workouts! Somehow I've managed to make it to the end of June without getting sick, without gaining weight, and even having lost some inches and developed the start of some muscle definition.
Even though I'm leaving for the right reasons and going on to an excellent opportunity, saying goodbye to MJH was tough. Parents, kids, and friends all stopped with good wishes and thanks. I find this kind of attention difficult. It's much more comfortable for me to go about getting the job done competently but without accolades. I had so much I wanted to say at the goodbye luncheon, but none of it would come out. So much emotion is also physically draining and today I feel rather like a limp noodle. Dropping out of mach speed is a bit of a challenge too.
Actually yes. But only the knitting that was part of the whole year end thing.
These were made for Heather, my education assistant. Heather is staying on at MJH to help the new teachers, both of whom are new to the role, as they take over the program. She brought this yarn back from a trip to Germany last summer and it was my pleasure to make these for her. I love self striping yarns. If you click on the pic and look very closely you'll notice that the toes are different. I knit these toe up using an eastern cast-on. I though I had started them in the same place of the colour repeat but I missed by a few yards. I made the first sock with a plain wedge toe - increasing every other round until I had 64 stitches. On the second sock I did the same cast-on but I made a round toe - increasing every round 5 times, then every other round up to 64 stitches. Damned if the stripes didn't match themselves up by the end of the toe! Short row heel with wraps. EZ Sewn-cast off at the top. (google them... I'm too lazy today for linking)
These were made for my other education assistant, Max. Max is moving on to another school where he will help a first year teacher learn the special education ropes. These are standard top down 72 stitch socks with a slipped stich heel, gusset, and wedge toe kitchenered at the end. Knitting details in the photo album.
My eldest child finished grade 6! He's excited about starting Junior High in the fall, growing like a bad weed, and daily risking being sacrificed as an example to the others. I'm very proud of you Sean. That teacher spent two years working with my boy. He deserves a medal. Actually, he probably deserved socks but there just wasn't time.
My eldest nephew celebrated his 17th birthday on June 8. Happy Birthday Weston!
My darling husband had his 42nd birthday on June 16. We went to a country bar and spent the night dancing. Then he rode the mechanical bull. There are pictures, but I like this guy and would prefer to stay married to him so I'm not posting them here. Happy Birthday to you my love.
June 26th was the 6th anniversary of my father's passing. I love you Dad.
To wrap up the month, my precious dragon daughter turned 7 on June 28th. Her party will happen next week because Mommy just can't do birthday parties on that day, no matter who they're for. Happy birthday Claire.
It's the Canada Day long weekend. I have this more or less continuous urge to doze off. Tomorrow I may decide to take a drive to a local Fiber festival (Olds Fiber Week - google it). I have some yarn p*rn for you (Rowan Calmer at cost!). Just because I've been dithering and can't make up my mind I'm going to set up some polls for my Sockapalooza yarn and pattern choices. I'll also show you a little sock I have in progress. All this next week. It's good to be back. I've missed you. Right now though, I think it's naptime.