View Full Version : Happy news!

01-06-2007, 10:14 AM
Well, y'all, I have been substituting for two days now at my husband's school...don't know how long I will be subbing for this particular class (Integrated physics and chemistry, Chemistry, and Biology---UGH!) but until he can hire a science teacher, I'm it! After that I will sub for whoever is out.Anyway, I had NOTHING to worry about. On the first day, I explained why I had no hair, that Lupus wasn't something they could "catch" from me, that my hair was returning, etc. They all said, "Let us see!" so I removed my beret, and they said, "Cooooooool!"
These kids (so far) aren't so bad. I am setting up the lessons so that they get plenty of help, can make extra credit each day if they choose, can take the tests open book, BUT--if they trust themselves, I'll give them a paper clip to "close the chapter" and they get 10 extra points for trusting their own remembered knowlege. (After all, the state tests are "open book" in that each set of questions is preceded by a passage.)
So far I feel WONDERFUL! It is fantastic to be back in the classroom, doing what I love doing. Yippeeeeeeee!

01-06-2007, 10:38 AM
You go girl! I am so proud of you, especially for taking on the teaching of physics! I loved chemistry and biology - HATED physics and calculus!!! Can't imagine trying to teach it even on a sub basis. Give me English lit any day of the week. Is the extra pred controlling the fatigue? How is your leg holding up?

01-06-2007, 11:48 AM
the extra Prednisone is helping (my appetite is back!) and the Plaquenil is helping with the fatigue...and HOW! I already have my grade book set up, and will be planning next week's lessons today. My sub plan is simple: Mondays...reading the chapter and discussion. Tue: go over vocab and have the students work the review questions, which we go over. Send homework home. Wed: we take the chapter test. Thurs: I teach "test taking skills" and give them practice Texas state test over what we learned this week. Friday: experiments (if applicable) and going over the tests they took on Thurs.
The state tests are ALWAYS multiple choice...the easiest tests to beat. I teach them skills that turn their chances from 25% to 65%...if they "guess." The skills I teach them hopefully will help them not just "guess" but increase their chances of getting the answer right. I told them, "I graduated with honors NOT because I was the smartest but because I knew how to beat a multiple choice test." I've never had a class that didn't have at least 90% passed. Plus, these skills are skills they can use to beat ANY multiple choice test, in ANY subject. The kids seem impressed and confident.
My leg is ok. Temps here have been fairly mild, and it only really bothers me when it's 50 degrees or below. Plus, I tend to "perch" on a table when I teach, so I'm not walking all the time. High school isn't like teaching elementary (my biggest love) so I don't have to contstanly be up and around, getting down on the floor, etc. So far, so good. :D

01-06-2007, 12:28 PM
Kentucky is weird because we have a standardized state test (KIRIS), and students' performance on that affects how much funding a school gets, teacher salaries, etc. - while student's actual grades are based on a process called "portfolio assessment", which is basically a compilation of their best work in a particular sunject. It focuses heavily on reading, comprehension, and writing skills, and students are required to write in every class, even music. So there is virtually no multiple-choice or true/false testing in the actual classroom setting. The standarized tests are only given in certain grade years, while portfolios are assessed every quarter. So teachers have a huge burden in trying to teach standarized test taking skills, while still evaluating and assessing portfolios and reading written class assignments in every subject. It wasn't too difficult an adjustment for the English and humanities instructors, but some of the math and science teachers who had always given objective tests that could be easily graded had a VERY hard time. Rather than letter grades. - students get a proficiency rating ranging from Novice (lowest) to Distinguished (highest). A lot of teachers left the profession when the Kentucky Educational Reform Act went into law, so many that we joked KERA should have stood for Kentucky Early Retirement Act. Of all the people I graduated with, fewer than five are still teaching in public schools. Almost all the rest of us either went into new professions, or went into the private sector. Much as I love teaching, there isn't enough money in the world to send me back into a public school classroom in Kentucky. So I satisfy the teaching yen with my Girls Inc. group, where I can work with a small group and have some real time to spend with them.

01-06-2007, 12:44 PM
Marycain, I am glad you found a substitute for your teaching yen. It sounds like fun!
Once a teacher, always a teacher, eh?
The system Kentucky has sounds AWFUL. I do know that tests don't really prove anything as far as what the students know. But I'll just bet that when they passed that reform, they didn't up the teachers salaries to make up for all that nightmare work, did they?
One of the WORST things this country does is devalue teachers. Our days start long before "regular jobs" and end long AFTER. Plus, the weekends we spend grading, lesson planning, research, etc. This country SAYS kids are important, but do they pay us half what we are worth?
Ah, well, enough of my rant. Nobody goes into teaching for the money.

01-06-2007, 01:40 PM
Well, we don't go into it for the money, but we might stay longer if the pay were more competitive. Even though I was paid as a "Master Teacher", the highest pay scale, when you divided it by the hours I actually worked, plus the fact that I often bought supplies and materials out of my own pocket, it just wasn't much. I have a cousin who is a golf pro at the local country club - he made more teaching bored rich women to play golf three days a week than I did teaching school. Even then I might have stayed, but the stress and the violence just got to be too much.

01-07-2007, 02:17 AM
YAHOOO MOUNTAIN DEW !!! That's great news littlered....isn't it amazing how we tend to imagine the worst, and many times the situation turns out better than we thought it would.

When I lost all my hair, it was in the middle of summer and since I work around mostly "going" bald men; I felt right at home (smile). You know, I honestly liked that I didn't have to spend an extra half our on my hair. That was the upside of it. As I said before, embrace the baldness !! Soon everybody will be so used to you with no hair; that when it starts growing back people will think you look "funny" with hair (that was the case for me). Ha !! I would tell them, atleast it can grow back !!

Doesn't it feel great to be out and with PEOPLE ? Oh, it is so important for our mental health and for the recovery. I am proud of you my friend, you're doing so well. Stay positive, be hopeful, and know that all our prayers are going up for you !!

Much love,

01-07-2007, 06:09 AM
Oh, littlered, what good news! It sounds like you got right 'back in the saddle' without a problem. I just knew the kids would love your beautiful bald head. Congrats...I hope you continue to feel better and get some fun and satisfaction from the substitute teaching. I can't imagine teaching science. I'm a 'right-brainer' as my husband says (communications and psychology degrees.) He's the big 'left-brainer' (math and chemistry degrees.) We're a good balance, though! Keep us posted on the progress. Love to hear how you're doing.


01-07-2007, 09:04 AM
I spoke a bit too soon....woke up today red faced and feeling awful. I'll double my Prednisone (what the doc told me to do)...and yes I will go in on Monday.
But dammit, it's so easy to forget that I am not "normal." I try so hard to be. It feels like I have arthritis in my NECK...is that possible???
Like I said, I am just using the textbook and other sources, and this is the beginning of the year so the early chapters are the easiest. Hopefully G will find a science teacher sooner than it gets "hard." The kids may learn better if we all have to figure it out together. Once a "real" science teacher is on board, I'll get to sub for the other teachers...I can't wait. How I'd love to teach writing, or reading, or history...even math. I know so many "tricks" in math to make it easier to do!
I'm just so disappointed. Two days of work and I am in flare??? Not fair.

01-07-2007, 10:21 AM
Good luck with the flare and teaching!

My sister taches elementary special ed with Lupus. Sometimes I don't know how she does it. I think she gets energy from them. Have you ever heard that? That some of us get our energy from being alone and recouping, where others get it from being around people..........

Anyway, I"m sending you positive thoughts. Keep up the good work. You may be underappreciated and underpaid, but I know you are making a difference.

I love teachers!!! :D

01-07-2007, 01:11 PM
Were you reaching up to write on a blackboard? I'm short - I always had to stretch, and it killed my neck and shoulder. I hope the extra pred does the trick. What kind of lighting does your classroom have? If it's the big fluorescent lights a lot of schools have, that might be enough UV exposure to trigger a flare, especially if you're photosensitive. You can get acrilyic shields for most light fixtures, or maybe have the janitor take the bulbs out of the fixture closest to your desk, or move your desk if possible. A couple of hours of fluorescent lighting is all I can tolerate without getting yucky-feeling.

01-07-2007, 01:35 PM
They DO have the flourescent lights...I can open up all my blinds and teach without the lights if need be...(I do wear suncreen_---not much reaching for the board, but will be next week...maybe I'll write it all down and ask a tall student to write it...
Do y'all go through this? Where you are just dang MAD that you're not "normal"...and when you forget, you pay, and you are enraged? :mad:

01-08-2007, 08:13 AM
Oh, yeah, I definitely hear you there. I get mad like that about a dozen times a week - usually when I'm pushing myself to do something my spirit really wants to do, but my body refuses to cooperate. The first year I couldn't walk was really bad. but I remind myself every time that no matter how bad I think I might have it, my life is full and richly blessed compared to many other people. And think how boring the world would be if everyone were perfectly "normal" :) After all, how many kids get to have a "motor mama" like me? How many students get to have a sassy, gutsy, smart, bald and beautiful teacher like you? Our physical weaknesses don't define us as people, and sometimes a physical weakness can be the source of enormous spiritual strength - you just have to look deep within you to find it.

01-09-2007, 07:31 AM
Staying home again today....sighhhhhh. Hubby took one look at my red face and the DARK circles under my eyes, watched me limp to make my morning cup of tea and said, "Nope. If you go in,you'll get sicker. It's home for you, sweetness."
The kids have plenty to do, but they must do it on their own. G said they were bummed that I wasn't in yesterday.
Here's hoping a day in bed and more Prednisone will knock this out!!! Love, Kathy

01-09-2007, 08:31 AM
Kathy, so sorry. I know you were enjoying yourself so much. Hopefully the extra rest and prednisone will stave off a full-blown flare. Be sure to eat healthy - plenty of b-vitamins and c, and add a lot of the healing spices to your cooking - ginger, curry, garlic, tumeric - maybe you can even come up with a recipe that uses all four. But isn't it gratifying that the kids miss you?

01-09-2007, 12:01 PM
Marycain, I think I can do a pork stir-fry with those ingredients...I'll experiment tonight and see what happens!

Let's see...spices...sesame oil...red bell peppers, carrots, onions, mushrooms, pork chops cut into strips...over brown rice...sounds nice...we will see.

01-09-2007, 12:24 PM
It sounds delish! I love stir-fry - it's one of my favorite ways to cook. Although the little guys turn their noses up at mushrooms ("Yuck, Mom") so I usually add green beans and snow peas for them and baby corn (my favorite) for me :) And all those spices have anti-inflammatories in them! You can have your medicine and eat it too. Add some fresh pineapple and papaya (more natural anti-inflammatories) or some tart cherries (great for arthritis) for dessert, and you will have a wonderful meal your joints will love just as much as your tummy does. I love fresh pineapple and it's not too expensive, but you would have to mortgage your house to get fresh papaya in rural Kentucky in winter - that is one of the few disadvantages of "country" living, so I have to settle for dried. But enjoy some fresh for me!

01-09-2007, 02:42 PM
Sorry, Kathy. Hope a day of rest does it for you.

After reading the last couple of posts, I'm even more conveniced we need a new forum devoted to recipes - you guys make my mouth water!! :)