Sunday, December 13, 2009

Loads of Hope in the Classroom

"Sometimes, you can make your own luck." Was that Cher in Moonstruck? I'm not sure. I'm more sure that luck is only a small part of our destiny; action and hope are much stronger.

Hope isn't limited to personal disasters, family, children, or close friends. Hope is important in the job arena, too. I'm fortunate (not just lucky) to have a secure job as a public school teacher. Earning that regular paycheck, however, takes a lot out of me physically and emotionally. As budgets tighten and we do more and more with less and less, it takes a lot out of many of us teachers.

Last school year was the Year From H-E-Double Hockey Sticks. Add a class full of unmedicated ADHD that exceeded any statistical average, an overload of students with problem behaviors placed with me because they "couldn't handle" being in the combination class next door, and then multiply by an unsupportive administration. Insert parents who accused me of picking on their children because I dared hold them to a decent standard of responsibility for homework and called copying what it was: cheating. How does a teacher come back after a year like that?

I'm too young to retire and too old to change careers in an economy like the present. Some colleagues who experienced the same troubles decided to leave for other school buildings, other grade levels, other departments. I opted to stay in my school instead and look for long term options.

Training: I attended a behavior modification training just before school started. The training had some good information, but there was more value in being seen than in the actual presentation.
Education: Recognizing the prevalence of ADHD and the potential for parental denial, I took a class in teaching students with ADHD. Not only did I gain knowledge, I now have that specific topic on my official transcript.
Motivation: I applied to retake an excellent course I'd taken eleven years previously, a course I found highly valuable for methodology, with the goal of reinforcing what I'm doing well and increasing my motivation.
Combining all of the above also earned enough credits and clock hours to renew my teaching license when it comes due, and submitting the transcript lets me slide one lane upwards on the pay scale. It's not much money, but it feels good seeing a small financial reward for my efforts.

Goals and action: if luck played a part, it was a small supporting role. Setting goals, looking forward, and putting time and energy into positive change: that's what changed my outlook and brought me back into once again enjoying teaching, doing right by the kids in my class.

That's what brings me hope: hope that these children will learn, grow, and feel hope of their own, and some day make a difference in the world in their own way.

Loads of Hope for the Holidays
Please join Blog Nosh Magazine as bloggers share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Follow along with the live event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as bloggers and others tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground. Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.
Learn more about how you can extend hope to families affected by disasters by visiting http://www.tide.com/.
Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.





Hope is not limited to the holidays. What fills you with loads of hope?

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4 Comments:

Blogger LIL MAMA said...

as a mom of 6, and 2 adhd children that are in classes with teachers who do not understand at all their behaviors, i thank you for your efforts.

i try to raise my kids the same way and with the same responsibilities and rules as the rest.

12/14/2009 10:29 AM  
Blogger Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm amazed at your effort. I just had dinner with a friend working on a masters in physics education to KEEP her job--nevermind that the other person in her department senior to her is a teacher on probation--one section of science goes, she is out of a job without the degree that the crummy teacher possesses. It's ugly out there, isn't it?

12/14/2009 1:47 PM  
Blogger Finding Normal said...

Did we have the same class last year??? My class was FULL of kids that "couldn't handle" being in the split next door. So...loads of behavior problems with parents in denial and an administrator who tried to support me but could only do so much. And a child who is now in an inpatient facility for the mentally ill who would spend the days making weapons and staring at me. Seriously.
This year is better. Thank God. Because I'm too young to retire and not sure what else I could do with myself and my el ed degree, especially in this market!
I still have nightmares, literally, about that class. Glad you found a way to make it back from a bad year!

12/14/2009 9:31 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Teachers like you give me hope for tomorrow, truly!

12/15/2009 11:02 AM  

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