Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Blah's

I am so mentally and physically exhausted I cannot even begin to describe it. I have so many demands placed on me this semester that it is more taxing than anticipated. I wish my family and I could take a vacation and just get away. Alone. Away from school. Away from the house. Away from the chaos that seems to be never-ending. I think part of my frustration is that I am almost half way through the semester but I do not get a break like I normally would. I observe spring break this year at the same time as the school district. Good in that I will be home when my kids are home, but bad because I am finished with the semester one week later. Ugh. 6 more weeks to go until I get a break! I feel like the groundhog who just saw his shadow!

I am being observed a few times over the next 2 weeks. I hate being observed, particularly because this is my "mid-term evaluation" and I am graded, but I'll get through it. It just makes for more stress because I have to make sure my lesson plans are as close to perfect as possible and include as many aspects of teaching that I have ever been taught, you know, to meet the needs of all students. My mentor teacher wants to observe me teaching a whole-group lesson, and my university supervisor wants to observe me in small-group instruction. A nice variety, but totally different ways of writing lesson plans as they are totally different instructional methods. I have an idea for my small-group lesson, but I am struggling to think of something to do for next week during a whole-group lesson. I usually do "circle time" where we review the calendar, weather, letter/number of the week, morning message, etc. I could write a lesson plan about that, but that's more routine than anything. I don't know. Do you see why I'm stressed?

I am also stressed about the condition of my house. I feel like it's caving in around me. It needs to be cleaned, but before we can clean, we need to put stuff away. Plus, although it's only been a week, I am tired of having to shower in the kids' bathroom. I miss my shower! Thankfully I elicited the help of a friend of mine who is an interior designer. She and her family are coming over for supper next week to talk about the bathroom and the best way to go about re-doing everything. Better yet, she can help me pick out the colors and recommend the best options as far as not costing us too much money but will yield a profit if/when we decide to sell the house. TJ wants to change the direction in which we enter the shower and expand the length, which I think will involve building a wall- I'm not sure. That's where my friend's expertise will come in. She can develop a plan for us that includes materials, costs, and what exactly needs to be done. She seemed very excited to help and I'm just as excited for her to help- I need all the help I can get!

Teagan's appointment with BabyNet is this week. She will be evaluated to determine if services are needed. She has made some progress as she is now able to grab and hold items, but she's still not rolling over or able to sit up unassisted. We'll see what happens.

T.G. received her referral to the eye doctor for the end of March, but I had to reschedule her appointment for 2 weeks later, during spring break. I wanted to be able to attend the appointment with her and the doctor only sees new patients in the morning, during school hours. Any time I miss school, I have to make up the hours at the end of the semester, and I don't want to have to do that. As much as I love the students, I am ready to be done and graduated and in my own classroom!

Speaking of students, I have a challenging bunch. Daily I am hit, kicked, scratched, pinched, hair pulled, almost bit, and once I was punched in the shoulder. Did I mention I was feeling emotionally drained? It takes a lot of patience, self-control, and mental preparedness to stay one step ahead of the students. My mentor teacher and I are constantly thinking ahead to what the possible "set offs" could or will be. Sometimes we're wrong, most times we're right, and those are the times we are dealing with aggressive behaviors. It is exhausting! I literally spend my entire day with kids with the exception of when my kids are sleeping. I wake in the morning, shower, and then wake my kids to get them ready for school. I have a short commute to school alone (7 minutes), and then I spend the day with my students. I have a 7 minute ride home to re-gain my composure before I walk in the door and become "mom". It's tiring, draining, and taking a toll on my body. I am a stress eater and I have been consuming more chocolate this semester than perhaps all other semesters combined! Plus, the number of gray hairs on my head have doubled since I began student-teaching! :)

But, I have a learned so much from my students, more than I could have been taught in school, and I am thankful the Lord allowed me to have this opportunity. He has also used me to pass out some business cards for a local ministry that a woman in our church began a few years back. The more cards that I pass out, the more likely someone will find their way to her and as a result, hear the gospel or receive a much-needed blessing. I have to constantly pray to keep my heart tender to the Lord and His will in spite of my mental state of being. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He was fatigued in much the same way as I, yet He was able to resist. I, on the other hand, struggle daily, particularly with my own kids. By 6:30pm, I am ready for bed and ready for them to go to bed! Too bad they don't go to bed until 8pm! :-)

That's the short of what's been going on. There's more, but I don't do well with drama and try to avoid it at all costs. It does nothing except cause bitterness and negative attitudes because no one really knows the whole story. I learned in a bible study a few years back that all I can do is take people at face value- that what they say is what they mean. I can't read more or less into things because that allows my mind to wonder into areas it has no business going. My life is hectic enough without having to worry about other people's problems. The only thing I am required to do is maintain a right relationship with the Lord and, "if it be possible, as much as lies within me, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12:18). That means ask for forgiveness when I've wronged another, keep out of the gossip circles, and do my part to show the love of Christ to others. I've been told that I am a good friend because I listen well and often try to look at the big picture, plus I am very analytical. I reflect on things a lot in order to learn and grow from both my mistakes and the mistakes of others.

Well, I guess I've written my novel for the week so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks in a row that we'll get to attend church as a family, and I am looking forward to it! I worked in the nursery last week so I missed the pastor's message, and we were sick the last 2 weeks, so I am happy that I will at last hear a sermon after being out for those reasons. We are blessed to have such a caring pastor and church and I know I've said it before, but if it weren't for the death of my baby in the form of a miscarriage, we would have never found our church or the support of its people. It's often said, "The Lord works in mysterious ways," and He truly does.

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