Category Archives: Motivation

End-of-Break Teacher Nightmares

End-of-Break Teacher Nightmares (Iceland, Dec 2016)

The Christmas lights are stored away, the vacation photos tagged and uploaded, the last Netflix DVD watched, the last novel completed, and it’s two days until I walk again into the classroom.  Already, the teacher nightmares are tormenting and taunting me, like the grade school boys at the bus stop when I was eight-years-old.

Nightmare #1

It’s the first day back to school and I forget to set my alarm.

Nightmare #2

Not only do I forget to set my alarm, I mistakenly believe it’s a PD day and slowly get ready, but my dress is not teacher appropriate.

Nightmare #3

I’m late, dressed in last decade’s jeans, and find out I forgot to complete an important IEP and the parents are waiting in the conference room when I arrive.

Nightmare #4

After the uncomfortable IEP meeting, I walk into 4th period class and realize I have no lesson plans.

Nightmare #5

Due to my lack of preparedness and awful attire, the class erupts into chaos and students are standing on tables, throwing things and slow-mo Judo fighting during the class.

Nightmare #6

During this moment of uncontrollable youth rioting, the Executive Director and my immediate supervisor decide to pop-in for an impromptu observation.

It’s usually at this time that I awaken, sweating profusely, trying to figure out what day it is and where I’m supposed to be.  I stumble-walk to the kitchen to prepare cupcakes and chai and turn on NPR One to connect with the world.

Nightmare #7

The reporter informs me that Trump is going with Betsy Devos for Secretary of Education.

The nightmares are normal.  I’m used to them by now.  I sometimes just have to remind myself that the only things I can control are how I react to each new situation.  As a teacher, life in a somewhat state-of-flux is ordinary. Each year I have similar dreams, but when I get in the classroom and see the kids, there’s no place on earth I’d rather be at that moment.

What nightmares do you have before returning to work?

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How To Embrace Your Teacher Identity

Have you ever had a 12th grade student rush into your classroom and hide in a dusty corner, far away from the door, until the bell rang? When this happened six years ago, my first thoughts were that Carl (alias) was being bullied; but this was wrong.  Most of his classes were in a co-taught setting, and English was his only class where all students were receiving special education services.  Carl was embarrassed. I said all of the teacher-y things to boost his self esteem, but at the end of his senior year, the situation had not changed.

While drinking chai and nibbling on cupcakes, I realized, just like Carl, I’ve been hiding in the corner throughout my teaching career; and I’m finally ready to come out into the sun.  In speaking with other Special Education teachers, the identity issue is not isolated or new.  This Morning Cupcakesknowledge alone, makes me feel somewhat better.  At the same time, there is a three-step, simple cure for the Special Education Identity Crisis.

Continue reading How To Embrace Your Teacher Identity

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