Hard Words

Do you still like me?

I don’t know how I feel. I love you, yes, but like you? I don’t know right now.

Are we going to make it through?

I’m not sure yet.


I’m really upset and hurt and pissed off.


I don’t know.

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A Difficult Week

Today, I have:

1. a cold. or the flu. something that involves me struggling to breathe and hacking and coughing and not having a useful amount of voice

2. a migraine, which caused me to leave work when the aura hit, as driving home with an actual migraine seemed like a terrible idea, as is attempting to teach young children, at least one of which wants to throw blocks at my head and/or bite me and/or spit on me, while dealing with a cold+migraine

3. my period. because why the hell not. along with this one go a host of stomach issues, grumpiness, and generally weeping.

Am fairly sure that 2 is most likely a result of the combination of 1 and 3. And am positive that all three mean that this week should be fired.

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The Anxiety Machine

A few times a month, I have bad anxiety days.

Not days when I have panic attacks – which, thankfully, are rare – just days when my anxiety sits on top of me like a layer of rocks, reminding me of everything stupid I might have done or might have done wrong, or even things I might do wrong but haven’t yet.

It’s draining.

I’ve been on edge since Friday, when I was spoken to by my principal about how I was late for professional development this week.

The conversation wasn’t a big deal – I’m not in trouble, I wasn’t even scolded about it.

And yet I spent two hours yesterday obsessing over it, because I got a three sentence email that went over what we had spoken about.

I struggled to check my work email today for fear that something else from the principal would be in it.

I had a job interview today, for the new position, and have spent the four hours since cringing over everything I said and how dumb I’m sure I looked and now there’s a follow-up email from the interviewer with a few extra questions and they are nothing I can’t answer but I am paralyzed, and I CAN’T.

And it’s so frustrating to feel like this.

I manage most days, and my anxiety disorder is mild and generally well maintained with medications, but these days suck.

Anxiety sucks.

And the worse part of it is?

Anxiety makes me feels like I suck.

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Changes Changes

In my 13 or so years of teaching, I have taught multiple ages. I have taught kids from age 3 to age 21, have taught kids with affective needs, autism, developmental delays. I’ve worked in elementary schools, high schools, and K-12 schools.

In 13 years, I’ve taught in 9 schools.

I’ve left due to budget cuts, due to moving states, due to health issues, due to numbers.

And at the end of this year, I’m leaving one more.

Before the winter holidays, my principal sent me an email asking to see me. As I don’t have a good track record with having principal meetings hanging over my head and not having anxiety attacks, I emailed a question back.

When she answered that it was about planning for next year, I just knew.

Our numbers are too low to sustain my classroom along with the other early childhood classrooms.

Which translates to: we don’t want your odd hybrid early childhood special education class here and would rather use the space for another 3rd grade classroom.

So, I have a choice.

I can attempt to follow my classroom. Contact the principal, cross my fingers, put on interview clothes and hope she is nice and not crazy or a bully. I can learn more names of colleagues who will most likely never know mine. I can sit through countless hours of professional development of topics that will never pertain to me.

Or, I can take the job the director of early childhood special education offered me.

I can become an itinerant teacher.

I can go from serving kids in one classroom to serving kids in multiple classrooms. I can go from making lesson plans to observing and offering other teachers advice and techniques on how to best work with kids with special needs.

The idea of losing my classroom is scary. The idea of having to relearn one entire school, and principal quirks, and data teams, and lesson planning is overwhelming.

The idea of having more time – to actually work with kids instead of drowning in tracking minutia of data changes and Teaching Strategies Gold – just the idea of having more time, less parents sending me angry letters about their kid’s diapers, less time pulling the same child off of the top of the same table while he tosses things at my head..oh. Oh yes, I know what my decision will be.

And maybe this time, as I’ve thought all those times before, maybe this one will actually stick, and I won’t dread going to work everyday.

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Watercolor and Ink

I find myself gravitating more towards pen and paper and away from writing on the computer.

It might be that it’s too easy to get distracted while on the computer. With the internet and tumblr and video games, sometimes it’s just not possible for my brain to focus on the act of typing and creating.

With pen and paper, I doodle more. I make lists and I draw and I write bits and scraps of things that wander through my head, and it’s nice.

I can cover the entire paper in nothing but doodles of boxes, and that’s ok. It isn’t as aggravating as staring at a blinking cursor in a word processor – knowing that you’ve got nothing to say. Because I know I can take those scraps and bits of text and maybe put them together into something later. Or have one little line of text spark a whole page of thoughts pouring out, and that’s ok, too.

Scraps of text on a screen aren’t as movable or as flexible.

And I’m reminding myself that is ok. That it is ok to use both. Or just one. Or even go back and forth within the same hour.

How do you write? What do you write?

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