Dear Parents and Friends,
These past few weeks have been hard for me and all of my teacher friends. I haven’t been able to do a good job at teaching and helping the students and I apologize for this. I may be locked out before 815 and after 345 but there isn’t one moment where I don’t think about my work and the students. (My husband could attest to this!)
I would like to thank those of you who stopped by while we were picketing or who sent support notes or treats. These little gestures may seem insignificant to some but believe me, they aren’t! This is what fuels me right now.
I feel extremely lucky to be working in such a supportive community. Thank you!
If you’d like to know more about the current job action/lockout situation, or if you’d like to hear more about me, I invite you to follow me on Twitter (@annieteaches). I try to “retweet” as much info as possible. Yes, I am completely biased but it’s only because I care about our education system and the students.
I leave you with a post I found on Facebook, which describes really well the reality of a Kindergarten class in our school system.
Thanks a million times!
When I am locked out of my school each recess and lunch I sit out on the curb like Christy Clark’s garbage. She has never met me, yet I feel her disdain. If she was teacher for the day, I want to believe that she would feel some compassion towards what we do. I want to believe that she would respect me. And that she would feel badly for her heartless actions towards the students and teachers whom she has never met.
I have a Day Plan ready for her just in case she comes by…
Dear Mrs. Clark-
Welcome to our Public School. Thank you for teaching my class for today. I believe you will learn a lot from your day in Kindergarten.
Before you begin the day, there are a few bits of information I feel obliged to pass along to you so that you can personalize each child’s learning.
Preparing for your day:
~In order to balance your day, you will need to begin at 5:00am. At this time, I recommend a morning work out. It is important that your fitness level is adequate to maintain the stamina you will require to meet the strenuous demands you are about to face during your day in Kindergarten.
~After your exercise, I advise you to go to your computer. You will need to respond to the numerous parent emails that have come in over night; also, this is an effective time to send out your news letter (the one you prepared the night prior.) Next, when preparing the daily writing journals, please keep in mind that Francine needs extra-large print, Gabe can only manage two lines, Sarah needs a green dot to show where to start, and it helps if Jeanie’s lines are highlighted.
~Now get yourself dressed and ready. Remember, you must look professional. However, keep in mind, you will need to lead the class in DPA in the Gym, dig up earthworms for the classroom terrarium from the school garden and mix the paints for tomorrow’s art lesson.
~On route to school, please stop off at the market for lemons and baking soda for science. Typically, I would request that you turn in the receipt for reimbursement, but my $100 classroom account from our PAC was spent on clay and ribbon for a Christmas project, so you will just have to use your own money.
At the school:
~Please put the chairs out and wash the tables with disinfectant. There are 3 children with anaphylactic allergies in the room and we want to be sure we start the day without incident. If a child does go in to shock while you are with us, please administer one of the epi-pens found in the safety pouch. If you are not sure how to perform this life preserving medical procedure, then you will be required, over your lunch break, to watch the video and review the protocol.
~Once the children arrive, there are a few details you should keep in mind. Sheila requires the sissel cushion on her chair to help her with her hyperactivity. Please seat Jay facing away from the window as he will cry if he sees his mom walking away because his family has recently separated. He will need lots of your counseling today. (I’m sorry, our school counsellor is at one of his other schools today). Please do not seat Abby and Shea close to each other as they cannot manage together- (Shea’s asthma pump is also in the safety pouch).
~Caleb will not enter the room with the other students. He will wait for you to come out before the day begins. He requires a conversation of encouragement and some specific sensory integration movement therapy before his body feels calm enough to start the day. Make sure you do this with him right outside the classroom door, so that you can keep a sharp eye on Pella.
~ Pella has juvenile diabetes. Recently her blood sugar levels have been very unstable and she could well slip into a coma with very little warning. I attended an after school training workshop to learn how to read the signs and symptoms of such a state. Vigilance is critical. So, while deep breathing with Caleb be sure to have Pella in full view.
~I typically seat Pella with Andrea. Following neurological insult, Andrea is now a very fragile child and her prognosis is unclear. She has many learning delays and moves and works at a weakened pace. It should be ok. She has not had a seizure in almost a year. Sadly, there were no funds available for her to gain any support this year. You must make all the necessary adaptations to her work and keep a close eye on her health. She usually needs to lie down twice per day. I have brought my daughter’s blanket and pillow to school for her to do so.
~Also, always seat Gurpal closest to the washroom, as he has loose bowels. If he ‘misses’, he has a change of clothes in his cubby. His wipes are there as well. Once you clean him up, you can call the custodian to help you out with the washroom, however, if it is after 2:30, the custodian will have gone home and you will need to change Gurpal and then clean the washroom yourself—but PLEASE make sure while doing so, you do not lose view of Pella or Andrea.
~Follow the day plan I have laid out on the desk. It is a very detailed and engaging plan. Fairness and using our words is the overall theme. If there are any issues with bullying- I remember you saying “the victim needs support and the bully needs consequences” (May 31, 2012). So just be sure to follow through with that. I prepared all of the materials necessary for you today after the Student-Led Conferences last night.
~The EA for Markus will come in sometime during your lesson. Recently, she has been ill and there has been no replacement, however, if she is back with you today, the schedule of her breaks and meeting times are on the bulletin board. Try to carry out the oral language components while she is in the room. Markus is non-verbal and relies on her prompts to communicate.
~Oh, during teaching times, Caleb will need to sit on your feet and Bernice may lick your pants— don’t fret, this is common.
~I am sorry all of the activities today are on pink paper- it’s all we have left. Our operating budget is depleted and we cannot afford white paper. You’ll get used to it.
~Please make sure the children wash their hands with soap before snack and lunch. Disinfect the tables after every eating time; you will need to launder your own cloths at home. Please check all lunches for peanuts, seafood, kiwi, egg and strawberries. These foods are not allowed in the room. If Caleb has a meltdown at lunch, he will calm down if you sing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ to him, or play Snakes and Ladders. Once calm, you can take him outside to meet his classmates and you may still have time to check-in the library books and print the overdue slips (SO sad- our librarian used to do this!!). This would also be your chance to use the washroom if all goes as planned.
~After school, wait with the students to be sure they are picked up by their parent/ guardian. Please review the court order statements found in my red file before the children are picked up. Also, Gurpal’s mom often falls asleep at home. You may need to call home to wake her and tell her it is time to pick up Gurpal, she only takes about 20 minutes.
~Thank you! Have a great day. If you feel overwhelmed by the diverse duties of the day, remind yourself that the students you teach are our future and take pride in your role in that. Capture their smiles. Those smiles will be your fuel to do it all again tomorrow.