Sunday, May 16, 2010

End of School Year!

I don't dare start celebrating yet--the last week of school can be tremendously difficult.  Of course, Alex has finals.  I can't begin to predict what the week will hold for me.  I have students whose general ed teachers still don't have grades posted for their report cards.  I have reports to write and print--and there will be all kinds of record keeping surprises, things I'll have to do that no one has let me know about.  (I let the general ed teachers know about the grades two weeks ago and have reminded them frequently, but there are still students with no grades posted.)  We have a "Fun Day" scheduled for Wednesday--it will be fun for the kids, but not so much fun for me.  I'd rather dream about the things I'll be able to do over summer break, of course.

I frequently hear people complain about teachers and the three months they get for "vacation".  If we manage 10 weeks of not teaching, we're doing well.  There is NO paid vacation--nada.  No paid holidays either.  Maybe there's a teacher somewhere in the U.S. who has an easy job--but I've never had a teaching position that wasn't so exhausting that most times at the end of the day, I have enough energy left to be a vegetable, but little more. (Yes, it's true that I get the students with serious behaviors whose parents think I'm the bad guy.)

I love summer break--when I can stay home more, plan and prepare meals, work on a few other projects, read, and regenerate.

I thought I'd continue to coach Alex in reading and English, but haven't been sure of how much she'd need.  It's heartbreaking during the year when she has to work five or ten times as hard as any other kid for the grades that are so important to her. Last week I gave her some fairly quick, "down-and-dirty", reading tests.  She didn't learn to read enough to enjoy it until she was in fifth and sixth grade.  When she was in Kgn and 1st grade, I was told it was too early to diagnose reading problems. When she was in 2nd grade, the school finally agreed to do some tests--and then told me they would not qualify her for any services, that as a special ed teacher I should fix her.  Right.

The summer after 5th or 6th grade I offered her a dollar for every hour she read.  She did not have to read for an hour at time.  I purchased a timer from the dollar store.  She set it for an hour, stopped it when she stopped reading and turned it back on when she started reading again.  I encouraged her to read for at least a half hour after lunch, but that didn't always work out.

This week when she tested she came out at the 11th grade level on one assessment (more than a year ahead of her grade level) and above the cut-off on a couple of others. She was delighted.  I am too.  Now I'm hoping we can fill in some of the holes she has in phonemics, phonics, morphology, and grammar--a much less daunting task than we faced a couple of years ago.  She's also preparing for a flute recital June 4 and is planning to work on alto sax over the summer too.  It will be a busy summer--and will be over much too soon!

As for this week--we'll take one day at a time.  Her school's last official day is next Monday, May 24.  But unless something happens to cause her to be sick and miss a final, she'll really be finished Friday, May 21.  So will I. The principal has said we must be checked out by noon--and then we'll have to wait until the Central Office says we can leave.  I hope they are merciful.  Nothing makes me as crazy as not being productive!

Dreaming quilts......

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Mr Lonely said...
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