Friday, September 11, 2009

Light Saber at the Ready

 Well, last night the journey began.  No gentle entry into the perspective on the dark side.  School Finance was the course of the day and will be where I sit every Thursday evening this semester.

Instructor is good.  Has spent far more years as an administrator than a teacher.  So far my original observation that many administrators were not in the classroom too long before they started bossing us all around is proving true.  He emphasized how you can't do it all and prioritizing is key.  We brainstormed what was important to support in the budget.  I got the message loud and clear that the teacher thought we were all a bit naive and idealist.  This is what I suspected would happen.  But I held fast. I kept my light saber at the ready.

My classmates are a group of 12, I make 13. 10 males and 3 females.  Most of the males also coach but teach a variety of content.   About half don't want to be administrators, love teaching and are working on a master's degree in leadership, and half want desperately to get into administration.  Only two of us want to be special ed administrators.  Most have been teachers for more than 10 years.  Yes!  Much of the class will focus on district and building budgets. I certainly hope we can explore departmental budgeting as that is what my reality will be.

I have already made one impassioned speech in class...dear God, I am sure I have embarrassed myself already.  The wonderful thing about being in my 50's is that I don't much care. 

As you all know, this transition out of my daily routine and duties in EBDland has been emotionally charged and quite the challenge.  I have stayed away from school in order to give my replacement  lots of room to establish herself as Queen of EBDland.  I did visit the old place yesterday on an errand.  I went directly to the office, made my drop off and as I turned to leave saw my old parapro and one of my kiddos...who is a total mess and in the throes of a behavior mod program when what he needs is someone to love him up and allow him to exhale all the crap he endured over the summer. 

 WARNING!  I am stepping on soapbox.  Skip the next paragraph if you like.

Behavior mod does not work with kids who are suffering neglect and abuse and are so emotionally and psychologically bound. Point systems operate on the premise the kids can make the right choice but choose not to. When done right, they should be very individualized and developed after baseline data has been gathered.  A kiddo suffering from abuses and mental health issues, isn't choosing to make bad choices simply for the sake of making bad choices. They do what they do to survive.  All those ugly behaviors serve a very specific purpose for those kids.  It is our job to help them figure it out, feel safe, adjust their perceptions of the world.  Brain chemistry in survival mode prohibits learning.  It's not a choice.                               
Just stepped off soapbox.

 I was asked by my para if I could bring another kiddo (my very favorite one!) a t-shirt as he wore a sweatshirt and it was already in the 80's.  I popped back home, brought back t shirts, was invited in to visit my wonderful principal and we chatted with the kiddo.  What a joy to connect and hug him up!  

So the day was a mix for me.  Introduction to administrative perspective with a great reminder that it is all in the relationships we have with kids that makes the real difference.  So far I am sticking to my intention to keep many caring and knowledgeable teachers and paras next to kids and to do all I can to make sure they have the time and resources to connect to kids with special needs. 

The dark side hasn't sucked me in yet....yeah, I was able to keep it at bay for a whole three hours last night.  My light saber is already tucked away in my briefcase for tonight.

1 comment:

Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.