1. Number of successful teacher evaluations
I passed my preliminary evaluation for my professional teaching certificate. I have to pass the final evaluation next semester to earn my professional teaching certificate.
2. Number of students arrested.
While only two students have been officially arrested, sometimes I feel like a special education degree should be accompanied by a minor in criminal justice. I have learned more about the legal system this semester by trying to answer questions and help my students navigate the courts than I ever cared to.
I have a love/hate relationship with field trips. I love going on them and having a change of pace for the day, but they can be a pain to prepare for. And sometimes that change of pace is a shift into high gear at full speed.
4. Number of preseason soccer practices.
I am the assistant soccer coach for the Dorman men’s soccer team and head coach for a middle school soccer team in my district. Next semester, I have 31 games in eight weeks between the two teams plus daily practices. Busy semester ahead.
5. Number of school events I attended to watch my students participating.
Many times students with disabilities are not very involved in extracurricular activities. Whenever I do have students involved in school activities, I do my best to attend.
6. Number of different drinks my students sold at the coffee shop.
Tea, hot chocolate, coffee, mocha freeze, lemonade freeze and strawberry smoothies are the base drinks we sell. We mix it up with new flavors sometimes, but these six are our staples.
7. Number of times I have said I’m never coming back to school again.
8. Number of times I showed up the next day.
Teaching can be extremely tiring, taxing and sometimes downright terrible. Like my Reality 101 colleague Charmelle pointed out, trying to avoid burnout is a very real concern for teachers. Varying statistics are out there to illustrate this point, but I like an article by Joiner and Edwards in the Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education. In the article they reference studies that suggest half of all teachers leave the profession within the first five years and 30 percent leave within the first three. That’s staggering to me.
I don’t have a solution to teacher retention problems across the nation. My personal solution is to come back for another day. Keep coming back. Keep learning. The days turn into weeks, weeks into semesters, failures into lessons, and before you realize it, you decide you might just stick it out with this teaching thing.
“A wise man falls seven times, and rises up again.”- Proverbs 24:16
9. Number of IEP meetings I have attended this semester.
The number is probably higher, but I lost track. IEPs are easily what I work on for half of my time at school.
10. Number of students on my IEP caseload that still need to pass the South Carolina exit exam.
In South Carolina, all sophomores take an exit exam in order to earn a high school diploma. Students take the exit exam during the second semester of the sophomore year and continue taking it each semester until they pass or “graduate.” However, if you “graduate” without passing the exit exam, you don’t really graduate. You get a certificate of completion and best wishes on your future without a high school diploma.
Last year, I had to tell a set of parents that their child would not graduate with a diploma. I cannot express how difficult it was to console them in their tears. I’m hoping I don’t have to do that again this year.
14. Number of blog posts for Reality 101 I have written.
I have loved writing for Reality 101, documenting the life of a young special education teacher and interacting with other professionals from across the country. Thanks for reading and I hope you continue next semester!