Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Surviving the June Blues

June Blues? What? Aren't you a teacher? Why, yes I am as a matter of fact. And isn't June supposed to be the month of sweet relief? Two months to bask in the sun and spend lazy afternoons curled up on a chair reading the latest young adult fiction? Traditionally, yes. But for the past four Junes I have stared down the hole of uncertainty, not knowing the status of my employment in the fall, hoping that teachers in my building keep having babies and that someone will retire so that I can take their place. This June has been particularly painful. There were several retirements and I naturally assumed that my time had come for a permanent job. However, districts all over the state continue to make drastic cutbacks and nearly every single retirement was left unfilled. Each opportunity that dangled in front of me like the proverbial carrot was snatched away, and I found myself spending a lot of time in the bathroom stall, quietly weeping. See, you need to understand something about me. I am an extremely passionate person and something that I have always been passionate about is teaching. When I was a child I wanted nothing more than to play school with anyone willing to be my pupil, and despite the various setbacks I have faced along the way I have always be drawn to the classroom. There's something about the cyclical nature of the school year, the newness that every day brings, and the souls I get to shape ever so slightly. It is a powerful thing and I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else for a living. To be fair, I am blessed that every year since we moved back I have had a job in some capacity, and I have even managed to stay in the same building for the past three. However I continue to struggle with the insecurity of it all, especially knowing that my family counts on the financial support of my employment. The worst part is the heartbreak. I want more than anything to have a desk of my own, to stare at pictures of my own children and have my own stack of post-it notes in the drawer. To face June with a sense of relaxation and joy, not worry and unease. To know I will be back in the fall, fresh and full of new ideas for my incoming students. Someday.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Money changes everything

I had hoped to have John potty trained before he turned three, and for a while it seemed like we were definitely going to make it. He was just so much more cooperative than his brother about using the potty and I figured that, coupled with the peer pressure at school and the desire to be like his older brother, would make training a breeze. HA. While he was always willing to go when prompted, he had little motivation for actually keeping himself dry in between visits to the bathroom and had zero desire to make a more significant deposit (if you catch my drift). Despite these facts, his teacher suggested we start putting him in underwear daily and she agreed to work with him at school. A few weeks in and MANY loads of laundry later, it didn't seem like we were making much progress. On Friday we were scheduled to see the doctor for John's annual check-up and I figured it would be a good place to ask if perhaps we were going about this potty training thing all wrong. When I picked him up from school, John was excited to report that he had been accident free. In my over confident state I neglected to toss a spare pair of undies in my bag and figured we'd be fine for the brief doctor's visit. John dutifully used the potty upon arrival. Hands washed, praise given, all systems go. A brief trip to the play area in the waiting room before our name is called. March to the height and weight station. Giggle. "I pooped." Sigh heard round the world. Embarrassed mom forced to wipe down child in restroom, ask for a diaper and carry dirty underwear home in a paper towel. Eww. Desperate for a solution to the stinky pile of underpants, I ask the doctor for advice. He suggests that we pay John a quarter for each successful deposit in the toilet and take one away for each accident. I am willing to try anything but don't see how money is going to work on the child that does not appear to be motivated to poop anywhere but in his pants. The next morning we give it a try. He poops. On the potty. Promptly asks for his money. Poops two more times during the day. ON THE POTTY. "Can I have my moneys?" Sure thing baby. This is WAY cheaper than pull-ups. We are currently on day two of the bribery experiment and I am pleased with the rate of success. Who knew. He turns three on Wednesday, and I while I hesitate to call him officially "trained" (we are still facing frequent accidents) he is pretty darn close. Great happiness!!!!!