Sunday, August 19, 2012

The 3 Day Countdown

This is it!  The final push before summer comes to a close for me.  While officially I'm already working since I had workshops and training stuff most of last week, the first day of school is 3 days away.  All weekend I've been trying to get the house in order, yard stuff put away for fall, and of course massive amounts of cleaning done so when I do get home from work the place isn't a total disaster area.  Unfortunately, between Mace (who always tries his best to keep the place clean but is not always successful) and Cassie our wonder dalmation (who sheds and tracks in grass, mud, and God knows what else from outside) the house will stay clean only a matter of days no matter how diligent I am.  But its the effort that counts right?

The workshop I attended with the Sander's County Special Education Co-Op staff last Wednesday was incredible.  I met an amazing group of people who are truly dedicated to making a difference and outdo themselves to provided the very needed services to our special ed students across the county.  I was super impressed with our morning speaker, the district superintendent, who was truly motivating and showed how special education in Montana has changed in his tenure as a teacher.  I also was able to talk to a para-professional (which technically is my job title as well) who for the past 5 years has been working with a set of autistic twins in her school.  She gave me some great ideas for assisted learning activities for the student with autism I'm going to be working with one on one most of my days.  It was also great to get her contact info in case I run across something I don't know how to deal with or just need to vent some frustrations with.

Over the next two days I'll be meeting with my own school's staff for PIR days.  I still haven't figured out what PIR stands for and apparently the teachers have been calling it that for so long now they can't remember what it stands for, but the main idea is that they are a series of training and teacher development days throughout the course of the school year.  Tomorrow we're all heading to Quinn's Hot Springs Resort outside of Paradise MT at 6:45 am to attend the Montana Behavioral Institute workshop together.  I think that all the staff on the district (Plains, Thompson Falls, Hot Springs, Noxon, etc) will be attending this workshop as well so it should be a great way to meet some new people.  I'm not sure what exactly this workshop is supposed to entail but maybe it will give me some ideas for dealing with behavioral problems that I might come across.  Tuesday we'll be doing CPR training and a bunch of staff meetings and scheduling so that we're all on the same page for school starting up on Wednesday. 

So now that I'm on my 3 day countdown I am even more excited and anxious to get the ball rolling.  I guess this is my next mini-adventure in life.  Guess we'll see where it takes me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tentative Schedule.... Yay!!!

Friday was an excellent day!  After finishing all the paperwork that is associated with starting a new job I went into the school Friday morning to drop it all off.  Lucky for me both Mary and Daisy were there and were not only able to file the paperwork right away but gave me a copy of my tentative schedule for the 2012-2013 school year.

From the looks of things I'm going to be super busy and nothing could make me happier!  Even though I've been trying to keep myself busy over the summer with odd jobs, volunteer work, and of course regular household and yard related chores I still find my time entirely too unoccupied.  I hate when I don't have something goal related to do.  So the idea of being busy at the school really excites me and makes me feel like I have a purpose.  From 7:45 am to 4:00 pm I'm going to be working 3 different jobs depending on the day of the week.  Most of my time will be devoted to working as a Special Education Aid for several students at the school but I also will be back working with the Preschool (which I absolutely adore) and finally I'll be working with a new afterschool program that the school just got a nice grant for.  I'm not exactly sure what all that last one entailes but I'm sure I'll figure it out within the first few days of school.

My school year actually starts next Monday.  I get to go in and meet with the Special Aid coordinator for the school and finalize my daily schedule as well as start making materials that students will need for the duration of the school year.  The next day I'll get to go in and familierize a few of the new students needing special guidance with the school, their specific schedule, and basically giving them an idea of how their day's will progress.  I'm really looking forward to this one on one work and hoping I can make their transition a smooth one.  I know kids go through a bit of a trial and error process when starting school and going from being home all day to being in a class room all day can be a difficult one even for the most well adjusted child.  So taking this extra time with students who need a little extra time to acclimate is well worth it.  Wednessday, Thursday, and Friday I'll be in Thompson Falls attending a Special Education training workshop that should help me develop some strategies and familierize me with some of the interactions I might come up against.  I've always been a person that loves to learn new things so that should be an excellent couple of days. 

School doesn't actually start officiall til the 22nd of Aug but we report in for PIR days on the 20th and will be running at full speed once the kids come in a couple days later.  I don't know what all PIR days consist of but I know some of it has to do with staff motivation and team building and we're supposed to be going to a local hotsprings at the end of it to have so fun too.  I just hope that everything will go smoothly and I'll do everything that I'm supposed to do to the best of my ability.  I don't want to dissappoint anyone since they administration is putting a lot of faith and trust in me by hiring me for a position I'm not very familier with.  But I know that they must see something good in me to be doing just that.  I just don't want to let anyone, including myself down.