Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 8-Work blues

A new laptop and I'm back! The past few days have been difficult for me.  Basically, I'm tired.  Not just physically tired (although that's very true), but mentally and emotionally as well.  I'm burned out at work and it's just so exhausting to keep fighting my kids class after class, day after day, to do what they're supposed to be doing.  I will not deny that what I ask them to do at times is difficult.  I know math doesn't come easy to many people and I would be okay with that.  What I have a very hard time dealing with is the overwhelming apathy at times.  I don't ask that they love math, but it would be really great if I didn't have to hear every single day how they're never going to use it and that it sucks and is stupid.  I just can't come up with an example every time they want to know when they're going to use something.  Honestly, in high school, I didn't really think I'd be teaching it, but here I am.  But I can't use that because before I can even finish my statement, I'm told that they would NEVER be a math teacher so it doesn't matter.  What I'd really like them to understand, is that, more than just being able to regurgitate a formula, I'd like them to learn how the process of math applies to life; how it helps them think logically and problem solve.  That certain processes even exist to look for when needed, more than memorize concepts.  This is a difficult time for both students and teachers because of the time of year, and the fact that because of our strike, we've been going without a day off for a while now.  But it's more than just right now; I've had this feeling since the beginning of the year and more and more the past few years.  I want them to take responsibility for their own actions and understand that choices have consequences.  Them not doing their homework is not my fault because I gave it to them.  I always make sure they understand they have a choice.  Choose to do your homework or study for a test or not, but understand that it is YOUR choice and your consequence to live with. 

There are so many things that I've learned about being a parent from being a teacher, and it's one of the things I still struggle with when it comes to DS.  Before Tera was born, Tom and I had so many conversations about what we thought would be acceptable expectations as far as academics.  Both of us are fairly intelligent, but I was a far more dedicated student than he was.  I've often told him he was the epitome of "doesn't work up to potential".  He was very bright, but lazy, and in his eyes, didn't see a point to over doing anything when coasting was working just fine for him.  I, on the other hand, worked my ass off.  Did it make me a better person? No, but I feel like I was better prepared for college and in my mind, it was something I could control in a sometimes crazy life.  When we had these conversations, I made it very clear that while I would never demand all A's in school, but I would expect our child to do their best.  If they were brilliant, C's would not be acceptable.  If they struggled in school but worked hard to get C's, then I would be right there cheering them on and applauding their report card.  I feel like it might be different because some things may always be a struggle for her.  I know it doesn't change the fact that we keep our expectations high and always ask that she do her best, I just feel it will be different in finding out how best to help her find that success. 

What I ultimately want for Tera, and my students, is for them all to find success in school that will lead them to happiness in the workplace; wherever that may be.  I know too many people who hate their jobs and are miserable all the time and I just don't want them to waste their opportunity to make something of themselves.  Unfortunately, I think many of them will find this out too late. 

Today's fact:
Children with Down syndrome are often fully included in social and educational settings and increasingly go on to graduate high school and attend postsecondary education programs.
I don't currently have access to my pictures yet, so I looked through some of the ones on my phone and got nostalgic.  I was so happy on the day I took this because she finally had something of her own on.  It was so big on her at the time...

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