I have survived our local game of Survivor. I have outworked, outlasted, outprayed. I made it through to the end of the year. It was rather anti-climatic.
We have a new supervisor [again]. I had finally gotten used to the last one, when they switched us. If first impressions (or second or third) are anything, I am so not impressed. When she finally arrived at the 11th hour to check us out, she sat down and began READING each of the documents. Not just spot-checking. Reading. These things were approved by the state (and our supervisors) MONTHS ago. And you're going to read them? Now?? She didn't finish that day, so we all thought she'd be back bright and early the next day. Nope. About lunch time.
We had a discussion about her vision for our program next year. I don't share her vision. I can't even envision her vision. I have been teaching for 20+ years, and one thing I know about myself is that I can't deal with multiple things going on in my room at the same time. It was distracting when I was a student, and it is distracting to me as a teacher. Old-fashioned person that I am, I like for my students to sit in desks, and I like to "teach". I sometimes use hands-on things, but not everything every day can be hands-on. In general I have found that they don't make the connection when you give them projects to do that will lead up to a "discovery". Most of our students tend to work best in a structured environment. I finally looked at her and said, "I can't do that. I would lose my mind if I had to do THAT!" She was undeterred with her "vision", but ran out of time before she could approve all of our paperwork for the past year. My co-workers and I went to lunch. We waited until she was gone to venture back in the room.
I have been back in my classroom the past two mornings trying to get it cleaned up and trying to get the records together to transfer to high school. I would have done that earlier, but...
This has probably been one of the most psychologically difficult years. My students have been difficult at times, but you expect that from middle schoolers. The most challenging part has been the change in climate with adults and co-workers. The feeling that you are being targeted and everything you do scrutinized, the sense that you must be careful what you say, and the possibility that someone will go and repeat something you have said. The knowledge that people are talking about you behind your back. Seeing other people be victimized by people they think are on their side. The need to conduct conversations in whispers. The fact that no one really "has your back". Our staff used to be a family.
The past few weeks, I have found strength in prayer and fasting. Somewhere (the Holy Spirit?) came the idea of fasting. I am not an experienced "faster" other than a little bit of experience at Lent, and at this time of the year, I know I need food, but I knew God would be pleased if I could offer *something* to Him. I knew that he would take "a little" and do a lot with it. So I gave up something small that I like for the past few weeks and offered that. I also spent a good bit of time in prayer. If I wasn't able to go to Mass, I tried to spend some time after dropping off my kids just sitting in the Lord's presence. I prayed during the day. St. Michael and St. Anthony heard from me on a regular basis. By God's grace, I made it. In our weakness, His strength is made perfect!
A side note - both of my boys have developed an attachment to specific saints - neither of which they were named for. My oldest has decided that St. Michael is a cool dude, and my youngest has said about St. Anthony, "I LOVE that guy!" Kind of neat that their two friends were the ones who kept me company the past few weeks!
This afternoon, I crawled into my bed and took a nap!