Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who is That?!?

I hardly recognize myself in the mirror anymore...and it takes a whole whack of makeup to make myself presentable these days....

Yes, I'm working my fingers to the bone...along with every other teacher I know...September is the month of 80 hour work weeks and very little sleep. However, it will all pay off in time. After some great Professional Development in August I decided to change my classroom into a Structured Learning Environment. It's quite the undertaking but my principal has been good enough to give me two days or release time plus I had some help from two of my EAs and our board's autism expert. I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the results will be more responsible and independent students. I hope.

I really enjoy this creative type of work.  Here's an example of a task strip for a student to follow when washing hands:
I prefer to use real photos so I've spent a lot of time taking photos of every task and activity in my classroom  including the number of steps from beginning to end. Then I print them at home as we have no colour printer at school BUT I DO HAVE MY OWN LAMINATOR so I am VERY grateful for that!

So other than work I've been a very dull girl. No going out, not even to a movie, falling asleep around 9:30pm every night. I'm not complaining though. I'm a true believer of the Structured Learning program and want to do whatever it takes to get it up and running. Tomorrow will be a test drive. The student who had me in a headlock a couple of times is back tomorrow and we will be training him to follow a picture schedule. We also have a new boy starting this week and I am in the process of getting his picture schedule ready too.

Unfortunately I lost a student - she is currently in a psych ward where she was placed after attacking her mother several times this summer. She has autism and is smart as a whip - much smarter than either of her parents - at school she had earned one or two math credits every semester. At school we were able to control her behavior with an incentive program but at home she is in control. It's a tough situation as there are few, if any, group homes where she would be a good fit unless highly medicated.

Actually I lost two students. My "broken angel" has moved on to the public board but I'm not sure if he's begun school yet as I heard from one of his workers that he had a very difficult summer and instead of being 2:1 (two workers with him at all times) he is now 3:1. There is definitely a need for a very specialized program for these youngsters but presently none exists in either public or Catholic school boards. I read over the summer about a family in British Columbia sending their autistic child to school in Oregon in the U.S. as there was nothing available in the province.

Looking on the bright side...Michael is busy making a farmer's breakfast - whole grain toast, eggs and bacon - yum yum yum! And tonight we are actually going out for dinner to celebrate all the September birthdays in our family.  My Kazi is now 22! The wonderful aromas from the kitchen are calling my name so I'm off now to indulge :)

Happy Sunday!!

22 comments:

  1. Laura @ No More SpendingSeptember 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    You need to eat a few meals!


    I hope work treats you kinder this year Jane xx


    PS. Happy Birthday to Kazi (that year went by very quickly!!).

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  2. Enjoy that breakfast, we need to grab those treats when school starts. Good luck with your new structure. I'm sure all your hard work will pay off.


    Sft x

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  3. It was delish! I was properly spoiled :)

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  4. Thanks Laura - I hope work treats me better this year too; it won't be for lack of trying, on my part anyway!

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  5. I found my way here from The Maple Syrup Mob, it's always nice to meet another Canadian blogger. I'm off to look around your blog.

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  6. Welcome crafty gardener! I'll be sure to check out your blog too - we Canadians have to stick together :)

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  7. that is such a shame that the kids suffer in all of this. How many children are in your class?

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  8. Would you be interested in being added to my Canada Blog Hop It is an ever growing list of Canadian bloggers.
    Good luck with your classroom. I retired in 2011 from education and spent lots of time working with autistic children. I successfully used a visual schedule with many of them. Most of which I created myself on Writing with Symbols.

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  9. Aww..I'm sorry to hear about your students. That woud be soo hard to send your child so far away to simply go to a school that could accommodate their needs.

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  10. I know how hard you teachers work to get your classrooms back up and running!! You are all Angels in my eyes. So sad for your former students...we have a BF who's son is Autistic they along with wonderful teachers and staff have done miracles with this young man. He started college this fall!!!

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  11. It seems like you have a good, fresh outlook to this second to last school year. Keeping busy certainly helps the fly! It's sad to read about the struggles some of your students are living with. Not easy for the families or the devoted ones like you to deal with at any level.

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  12. Louise @eliminatedebtSeptember 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    you must be sending out vibes about this Jane. I am doing an big assessment on a student at the moment and went to bed thinking about my report. I dreamed that you came over and helped me devise the right learning goals and a good learning plan for him and then you had to go because Michael was cooking you dinner! now i just need to go to work and write up your good ideas :) was kind of funny as I am going to an Autism workshop in a few days too, and then I logged in and read this. spooky!

    hope it all goes well at school for you

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  13. Oh my goodness!! Isn't that so weird!! We must be psychic! Today was Paul's first day on his structured learning program and he did very well. There were a couple of slightly anxious moments but he managed them quite well. I didn't know you were in this line of work! Tell me more!

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  14. Yes, my outlook is fresh even if nothing else about me is (old age joke!) Happily, everyone is responding to me in a positive way. I've been really joking around because I've come to realize - I don't care what they think about me - I've just gotta be me! Hum a few bars with me....

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  15. That's impressive - what an accomplishment:) Those parents must be so proud (and the teacher too!)

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  16. No kidding eh? Especially a child with a disability! He did so well at the school but when he came home he regressed a bit because there was no one trained to keep his program going.

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  17. Small class this year - only 7, but of those 7 there are 4 who are 1:1 with pervasive needs. Next year we'll be growing again as I know of at least 3 more who are coming.

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  18. at the moment I work in an education job that combines mental health & disability clinical work, so I work with students with all kinds of 'diagnosis' as well as with teaching staff. it's a great mix, and a lot of variety, love the kids I work with. I guess I don't usually say exactly what my quals are, too easy to identify me! glad you had a good outcome today :)

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  19. Hi lifebegins, wanted to chat with you regarding guest blogging/advertising.. you can contact me on twitter @averybale or on gmail- averybale@gmail.com. please delete this comment once we've spoken as I don;t want my email as a comment! Thanks, Avery

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  20. Sounds intriguing - mental health issues abound with my student population but the good news is it is getting a LOT more attention these days, thankfully. About 30% of students with a disability ALSO have a mental health issue. You can't separate one from the other when working with them. Takes a lot of compassion and understanding.

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  21. I'm sorry that it took me this long to get back to you. I'm sober now. ;p
    You are such a gift to these children. I know that I am not cut out for what you do.
    I hope that you soon get everything in order and that life becomes easier for you. :)

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  22. Sounds like your school year is off to a good, though tiring, start. Glad to hear you're back on the job and have lots of resources to help you. Sounds like a positive start to the school year.

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