Life is Amazing

At the time of my last post, I was pretty down in the dumps. I felt like I was just not good enough. I couldn’t land a job. I didn’t get the new foster baby. I didn’t know how things would go with Buddy. I was pretty depressed and feeling lower than low. Well… it’s amazing what a week does!

Buddy got to pet a peacock at the NYS Fair.

We took Buddy to the NYS Fair for opening day and he had a ball going on rides and seeing and petting animals like this peacock, and even got to walk a llama!

We had Buddy’s disposition hearing. I didn’t even have to testify. The judge terminated bio-mom’s rights! The reason why I had a little more confidence in how things would go, was that I knew bio-mom wouldn’t show up to court. She has a warrant out for her arrest for assaulting her partner and there was evidence of her actively using. However, you just never know what the judge is going to do, especially since this is a new judge and this is her first TPR case. Well, she brought up the supposed dad again. We all thought that was done and over with and they did their due diligence. Well, his rights still need to be terminated and that paperwork was never filed. Someone dropped the ball on that one. On a whim, the caseworker decided to give the “dad” a call while we were out on a break. While the caseworker was testifying on the stand, he actually called her back! This is the first contact he has made in the two years of Buddy being in foster care! He said that he was definitely not the dad and bio-mom was actually pregnant when they met! He agreed to sign off on any paperwork! So, we do have to go back to court again, but at least all loose ends will be tied up and then we can go on with the adoption! Well, as long as bio-mom’s lawyer doesn’t appeal and hold things up, but at least we know it’s going to happen!

Then I got offered a job! How awesome is that?! My last workplace was so abusive. So, it’s incredible to work with a nice group of people who truly care and have a passion for what they’re doing. It’s not a farce. Nobody has yelled and screamed at me and I don’t anticipate that they will. It was difficult leaving Buddy, but I got him into a daycare/preschool that I absolutely love. I know that he just craves interacting with other children and he will have the opportunity to do that every day and continue to learn and grow. I know it is the right decision for my family.

I have even more good news, but am going to keep it a secret for a few more weeks!

I’m just really counting my blessings right now. I feel very fortunate to have a loving husband, a beautiful little boy, great family and friends, a good job and more! Things are surely looking up for us and I’m really excited to continue on in this journey.

Anxiety is Setting In

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I have submitted 16 applications for jobs since my contract was not renewed at my last school. I’ve gone on three interviews and have a forth next week. Each time I go in so optimistic and feel that I did really well, only to be told that it’s a competitive pool of candidates with more public school experience or more experience specific to the position. I am frustrated. The window of opportunity is very small. I have about a month left and then school will start.

I just don’t want September to come and I’m wondering what I’m going to do next. I can always go back to school and get my administrative degree. I can always look for another career, but that takes time and money. Time, when you’re trying to adopt a son and live life as a family, is very precious and money that I don’t have.

I’m seriously trying to find the silver lining in all of this. I’m trying to keep optimistic that, when the right opportunity arises that I’ll meet the challenge and prove to be the right candidate, because whatever I lack in experience I’ll work my tail off to overcome.

So, if you happen to know of a school in the Central New York area looking for a top notch Special Education Teacher who will try her damnedest to meet all expectations, let me know, because I’m getting nervous here! In the meantime, I’ll love my little man with all of my heart, because just looking at that little face makes everything right with the world again.

Manic Mondays

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Mondays always bring anxiety because they are visit days. Now that Buddy only goes to daycare 3 days a week, there is even more anxiety because I’m the one who will bring him to his visits. Luckily, the visit was cancelled again!

I knew there was an issue last week, but I didn’t have details. It turns out that bio-mom brought a 13 year old to the visit with her. I guess he is the son of a friend of hers and both she and the friend have been warned that SHE is the only one allowed to attend the visits. Since he didn’t have anyone to supervise him, she would need to take the boy home. She refused and threw a major hissy fit, going off on the lady who supervises the visits. She was then asked to leave and the visit was cancelled.

Since then, the caseworker and visit supervisor wanted to set up a meeting with bio-mom to discuss her behavior, and visits would be suspended until she can agree to act like an adult. Otherwise, the caseworker would do twice monthly visits at her office. This irks me because they have threatened and threatened and threatened, but never follow through. “If she doesn’t show up one more time, we’re not going to have visits, if she acts violently one more time, we’re not going to have visits, etc.” How many chances does she get? Buddy has a doctor’s appointment next week and after she went off on me at the last appointment, I’m nervous about interacting with her again, but she’s allowed to go!

As it turns out though, nobody has been able to locate bio-mom since last Monday. She has kind of fallen off the face of the earth. She’s not living where she was living before and her phone has been disconnected. I don’t know if maybe she’s living with the guy who’s son she had with her or where she is. The caseworker is coming over to our house on Friday for a home visit and hopefully we can put a game plan together then. She said that she has been trying to get bio-mom into rehab to no eval. She doesn’t have long to get her act together… just 3 short months until the paperwork goes in to TPR!

In other news, there seems to be a good amount of Special Ed teaching jobs around in Central New York, and I have applying to all the ones I can. I can’t apply to jobs too far away from home though because we can’t move out of the county with Buddy and I can’t be commuting too far away where I wouldn’t be able to get him ready in the morning or pick him up from daycare in the evenings. I’m sure something will come along soon! In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the lazy days of summer as is Buddy as you can see from this pic (you can’t tell, but he has a big smile on his face!).

If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done…

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..you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” There are many versions of this phrase, mantra or prayer that I was reminded of today by a friend. Another is, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” I am not a real religious person, but sometimes it’s good to have reminders in life.

As you may have read in previous posts, I’m really struggling with the administration at my job. It has become so miserable for me and I’m stressed so much that I have been waking up every 5 minutes at night coughing and choking because of severe acid reflux. I can only have a couple of bites of food at each meal. I’m thinking I might have an ulcer. I even had to work this Saturday and I have to work next Saturday whether I wanted to or not. It doesn’t matter that my husband also works some weekends and I have a toddler at home. My boss even went so far as to yell at one of my special needs students saying that she didn’t try hard enough on her SAT test and he could just send her back to her old school where she was bullied. If it wasn’t that my husband is going in for gastric bypass surgery in a few weeks, I would ask to go out on medical leave since it’s effecting both my physical and mental health.

So, I did something about it! I have been putting in resumes and applying for jobs where I can, but it’s not easy finding teaching positions more than half way through a school year. Then, a few weeks ago I went on an interview. I think it went really well and he even called one of my references. It will be a very long commute and I’ll be working with emotionally disturbed kids, which will be challenging. However, there are better benefits and more pay and it will be with an organization I really want to be a part of. So, I hope it all works out.

Sometimes you need to put things in perspective and realize that no amount of speaking up or giving your opinion is going to change things and that can be frustrating. However, you need to know when it’s time to pack your bags and move on. Unfortunately life comes with many bills and priorities, so you have to put that into consideration too. Otherwise I would have been out the door months ago! I’m done with getting the same old crap that I’ve always gotten, so hopefully I’ll get the job and have the power to change that.

Photo credit: Jin Jinto / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I Think I’d Rather Work at Walmart

stacking-up-and-defying-time-1I’m so fed up with my current job that I’d rather work at Walmart than to spend another year torturing myself here. Not that there is anything wrong with a hard working person who devotes their days to the Super store, but with administration like this, I’d feel much more useful somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working with my kids. My kids are the best part of my day and if I didn’t have to deal with the other crap that comes with it, life would be grand! Like going to visit relatives, charter schools are good places to go, but you don’t want to stay there. I’m on my sixth year and I’m ready to jump ship. We make less money than the districts, have no unions to stand up for us, work our butts off and live with the fear of losing our jobs at the end of each year since we don’t get tenure.

What do I mean? Well, I’m the only Special Ed teacher in the building. So, I don’t get free periods or a lunch for that matter. I’m not allowed to speak up when we are out of compliance, but have to deal with the consequences if we get caught. I have little to no support, there’s a big lack of communication and the expectations are very high.

My administrator actually told me that he verifies everything I say with our state representative. Gotta love the trust!

For example, students came into school one Saturday to take an ACT exam. I was having a very leisurely day at home with my husband and foster baby. I went to look at my phone and saw that I had 4 messages wondering where I was. Why wasn’t I there with my students? Nobody told me I had to proctor the exam, but I was expected to come in on my day off and stay for the double time that my kids are allowed. Yes, I dragged my butt to school, but no, I didn’t get paid for it.

Here is another instance… teachers were supposed to make sure that one of my students only had 3 choices on multiple choice tests. They didn’t do it despite me going over it, explaining it in depth and teachers signing off saying that they understood. So the parent called and filed a formal complaint with the state. Who had to do all the paperwork, set up the meetings, talk to the teachers, set up the professional development as to why following accommodations are important and basically get all the blame for something that is out of her control? Well, she’s a Dirty Thirties girl who’s had enough!

At the end of every year beloved teachers are let go for reasons unknown. I refuse to be one of those teachers. I’ve applied for several other jobs and it’s not easy finding something in this economy. Now add on top of that hormones from fertility treatments! I fear that I won’t find something else by next year, but like I said, I could always go work at Walmart, if they’ll take me! Or maybe I could have a successful blog? Who knows!

Photo credit: susivinh / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

teacherbritishmuseumThis is a question I have never known the answer to. All I know is that I have things I enjoy. I like to write. I love children. I enjoy being online and using the internet. However, I’ve never had anything that I was so passionate about, so enthralled in, that I said, “THAT’S what I want to do for the rest of my life!” I wish I did.

I got really into the environment during the 90s. I became a semi-vegetarian, still eating chicken since I couldn’t seem to stomach tofu. I was really into “going green” and Saving The Planet. I even went to Environmental Camp and majored in Environmental Health my first semester of college. Unfortunately I remembered that I wasn’t very good at math and science, so path quickly ended.

I went to community college and had a concentration in print journalism (now practically a lost art). I went on to a four year college majoring in communications/journalism and fell in love with Public Relations. Well, being that I went to a state college, I just interned on campus. Big Mistake! I had such a hard time breaking into the field. I worked in a couple of ad agencies but didn’t really get anywhere. I worked at a small business newspaper where I worked like a dog for very little pay. I ended up designing grocery ads for six years and made so little money between 2 jobs that I couldn’t afford, rent, a car payment AND food.

So, here I was, 29 years old and having my “quarter-life crisis” because I didn’t want to sit in a cubicle for the rest of my life, not making a difference to anyone except the little old lady who wants to know if coffee is on sale this week. So, I went back to college for my Masters degree in Education. I went to a teacher’s college during my undergrad years and worked in the education department and had friends who were teachers. I figured it was decent pay, good hours with vacations, I loved kids, am good at English, it should be a good fit. Well, after 6 years of teaching Special Education at a Charter School, I don’t know if it’s my career that sucks or just my workplace, but I find myself in a rut again.

My husband is an LPN and would like to pursue his RN, so I’ve waited to give him the upper hand in making that leap toward getting his education. However, three years into our marriage, I filled out his application for him and told him he had to do the rest, which he still hasn’t gotten the chance to do.

I thought about getting my administration degree or maybe my PhD or something, but I don’t really know! Maybe I’ll be one of the lucky ones and have a successful blog! We’ll have to see how that goes.

Photo credit: Etan J. Tal / Foter.com / CC BY