The last two weeks of the school year are full of frenzy! I absolutely LOVE my job as a county wide special education teacher of gifted, but at times there is certainly more work to do than will logically fit in a week! The last few weeks of school always seems to be one of those times.
My biggest challenges are locating files to retrieve after they have left my hands, trying to fit all the final meetings into a small window of time and during the prescribed times while still delivering services to students, and making sure that all of the “end of year” tasks get completed. There are definitely too many tabs open! Not to worry though, it all comes together in the end, and I am always in running mode when summer officially begins. This means that I get a lot of work and projects done at home for about a week or two. After that, I collapse!
I start every year with the intention of staying well organized, but circumstances end up blocking my vision. After my most recent “hunt for a file”, I made a conscious effort to go through all of my filing, and get it to where it needs to be. You see, traveling to six different schools during the week, I have meetings squished in between times that I work with kids. After a meeting, there is usually not time to stick around and finish up the filing part of the process…so the files go into a traveling file backpack that I keep with me. Other times, I have actually found time to file and go through things, and there is a problem getting to my filing cabinet….there may be a meeting taking place in the filing room, or testing going on in the room holding the key to the filing cabinet. When that happens, it is back into the filing backpack!
I could just cancel service times when I have meetings, and a lot myself the appropriate amount of time to get the filing completed, even if it means waiting for a room to become free. I have thought about that, but then I imagine my students looking forward to our meeting time and being disappointed while learning to distrust. It is more important to me that I meet with students as planned, than attend to filing. The result? Happy, engaged, and growing kids….and unfiled papers.
This is usually my choice, until someone asks for a specific paper that has not been properly dealt with. It is at that moment, I see visions of retirement. Being a traveling teacher, I am not in a position to control the organization at various schools…I am a visitor. I must adapt to what they have set up to work for them. I share spaces at all of the schools where I work, which means that I may organize or leave things one way, and return to everything in disarray. At least I am sharing actual rooms, and not being put in storage closets this year! At one school, I am in the teacher’s lounge working with a student, which is a bit awkward, as the teacher restroom is in that space. Our schools are full….extra services for students are plentiful.
I love the metaphor. On my phone, music starts playing randomly sometimes, from an app that I thought was closed. I don’t question much about where music is coming from, as it seems that between two music loving kids and my guitar playing dad, there is always music somewhere! When I am at work, there are many extra things happening that have me questioning what is going on. Sometimes it is a fire alarm going off because a student thought it would be funny (we have to evacuate and wait outside 30-60 minutes for firefighters to clear the building for re-entry, and a lot of trouble follows the student who is ALWAYS caught). Sometimes it is testing that MUST take place at the exact time that I am there to deliver services…sometimes it is a field trip or an assembly. Then there is the “music” that distracts me, but I love…a teacher with an idea or a student who may need extra support.
I always remember this quote…it is one of the reasons I teach. But I am only one small piece….every child needs an army of angels…and especially those children who are gathering adverse childhood experiences (ACES), on their journeys.