Monday, June 10, 2013

A Fond Farewell

The end of another school year came and went last Wednesday. Here in Pullman, we attend 180 days between August and June, which means (including weekends) I work for approximately 37 of the 52 weeks each year. That doesn’t seem like much when you say it that way.

Of the remaining 15, two are given to half days devoted to Parent/Teacher Conferences (so I’m actually still working full days those weeks we just let the kids go at noon), two are Winter Break (no longer called “Christmas Break” for those who don’t celebrate that holiday), and one week each is given to Thanksgiving and Spring Break. Mathematically speaking, that leaves nine weeks for Summer Break, but because of the starting and stopping mid-week and taking off a few days for New Year’s it’s actually 11 weeks of Summer. Both are odd numbers, but I can overlook that in this case because that’s a long vacation from kids!

Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, and I love teaching. I can't imagine not working in a school. What I don’t love, and most times can barely tolerate, is the politics involved in working for a Public School District, especially when it seems financial concerns take precedence over what’s best for certain children. Unfortunately, it’s part of the deal when working in Special Education, and if I continue down the path to being certified in this field I will have to learn more tolerance, as well as some creative ways to work around it.

Despite those issues (over which I have absolutely no control) I can honestly say this past year was the best so far here in Pullman. I started the year at Franklin Elementary, a switch from the past two years at Sunnyside, and I got to know some great teachers and amazing, interesting, and often hilarious kids!

I ended the year working mornings at Franklin and afternoons at Jefferson Elementary (due to the withdrawal of my main student during Spring Break) and met even more wonderful teachers and students. By the time Memorial weekend came around I was surprised to find that I still enjoyed my job (for the most part) and felt more relaxed and focused than I ever have at the end of a school year. This was due in part to my medication and the great steps forward I’ve taken on my wellness journey this past year (and continue to take), but it was also in part because of the many awesome people that have come into my life.

As a way to say thank you (and to selfishly practice my art), I made some canvases, and I’d like to share them with you for this week’s Mixed Media Monday post (which I’m going to write as soon as I finish this one). Each one was unique and meant to hold a special message for each of the recipients.

More than saying good-bye to another school year (and soon to a new friend who is moving to Boise), I was faced with the possibility of saying good-bye to this new group of students and Staff at Franklin that I have really come to love. Since my student transferred out of District, my position there has disappeared, and I’m not sure where I will be placed next year (it depends on numbers of students in Special Education and how many Paras the District is willing to pay for). I know I will have a place, and I would be happy to work at Jefferson full-time for a year, but I will greatly miss my Franklin family. For the first time ever, I felt like I belonged, like I was part of a team, that my ideas were being listened to and acted on. It was a great feeling and helped me grow in many ways. I really believe that this year I made a difference.

When I find out more about my job placement I will be sure to update you. I’ve asked the Principal at Franklin to do some research and find out what the process is in this situation – will I be placed somewhere, or have a choice? For now, I’m going to publish this and move on to sharing about my gifts.

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