Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’
There have been a lot of changes in my life lately. Some things that are still the same are: I still live in the same place, I’m still basically the same person, and I am still married with two dogs.
Work, home, friends, life perspectives, my soul and emotions have all been overhauled, at least in my mind if not in physical reality. I’ve also started riding my bike! More on that in another post.
Work: For some time now, I have wanted to work closer to home, and have also felt a draw to have my own classroom again. I have been an itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH) for 3 1/2 years. The most recent school year, I was both itinerant TODHH and Sign Language Interpreter Coordinator. I learned SO MUCH!
It seems that things have fallen in the place the way they should, so that I am mentally ready for this next step: going back to a Deaf program (self-contained classroom within a hearing school). “Self Contained,” I’m learning, might not be so PC any more… it’s being called a resource room because of the emphasis of the goal of mainstreaming kids. But that goal doesn’t keep in mind the spectrum of needs. Some kids need more support, slower pace, modified curriculum, repetition, concepts explained in ASL (American Sign Language), and so on. The majority of education-folks seem to subscribe to the ideal that all kids will eventually be mainstreamed; I don’t. I see it as a continuum of service (to use an educational phrase). Anyway, that’s become a soapbox and I’ll step off of it before I go down that rabbit-hole!
Since I had two roles last school year, I gave myself extra expectations and work to help the team out as I prepared to leave the position. During the summer, I had a lot to do: I created two handbooks– one for sign language interpreters and one for the next sign language interpreter coordinator. There’s a lot of insider know-how needed, and if someone doesn’t have that, there’s a huge learning curve. Certain sensitivies may be ignored if someone isn’t in the know and bridges may be burned… so I hope my replacement has that know-how! “Not my circus” anymore though. I just hope that handing that metaphorical package of duties over to the next person, whoever that may be, will go well.
As for handing over the TODHH package to the next person, I gave a summary on each kiddo and their needs, and met with my replacement. I am so relieved that my replacement already knows the kids, already is a great person and I know all the students will be taken care of. It’s so hard being in a service career, with wee little fragile birds you take care of (and some not so fragile), when you have to leave that nest for another one, and you want the next mama to be a good one, y’know?
Then there’s been a bunch of excitement and brain gears turning with the new school’s DHH team and the new school district. The DHH team has been great. We’ve had a meeting and some phone calls, and I already feel a part of the team! It seems like I’ll be working with great people.
The new school district also seems great. I am SO impressed with how this next district I’m working with takes care of their employees thus far. The trainings and orientations I’ve been a part of have really left me feeling like we being take care of by people who truly care how we fare in our new positions. That’s a vastly different feeling than what I’ve had before in previous districts. Not to say previous experiences were bad- there was just a lack of care with new employees. Usually you’re thrown in and expected to roll with it- which is a training unto itself… kindof like a bootcamp run by well meaning, nice people. Usually you don’t have a boss that’s like an army sarge, but you are expected to rise to lots of challenges and just ‘take it’ like the teacher you are!
Anyway, this transition has been an emotional ride, and a brainy one too. Trying to make sure your duties and kiddos you leave are taken care of while trying to make sure you are ready to take care of the next set of duties and kiddos, probably creates a lot of gray hairs, but also makes for a smoother transition for everyone (we hope)! And, saying goodbye to wonderful people and students I worked with, and meeting new wonderful people and students, is also heart-wrenching and heart-blossoming as well.
Another major change, just in my mind, has to do with my home. My home has become, in my mind, more solidly ours – my husband’s and mine- and not just my husband’s. What has helped with this is getting the townhome, which I used to live in and still own, completely flipped and ready for tenants. And now we have a new tenant that has just moved in.
The townhome was home to some friends for about 4 years, and they had a lot of family living with them. They left it with holes in the walls, lots of things to fix (toilets, ceiling fans), and the carpet and walls were dingy and gross (not just from friends- the walls and carpet were already ‘blah’ when I lived there). We repainted and we paid another friend to redo all the floors in Pergot. And, we (friends, my husband and I, and our step daughter and her boyfriend) worked to the bone with cleaning, painting, patching, fixing and replacing … there has been so much to do.
The townhome’s looking really good now… though just today my husband is taking care of an odd leak situation! Never a dull moment. All that to say that I’ve had to emotionally say goodbye to the home in my mind. The place I lived in not only looks vastly different now, it’s not really so much my home anymore, in my mind. Just another stepping stone in my life, now. With all of that came a lot of financial hardship for my husband and I, since we paid for lots of the fixups ourselves. Hopefully, looking forward, things will be smoother money-wise!
As for my outlook on life, I’ve had a lot of growing pains for my soul this last year or so. Just being more at ease with myself, consoling myself when I get butt-hurt over things, or just teaching myself the 4 agreements and mostly not taking things personally, I at least feel like my soul has matured and made a lot of progress. I think that not only am I in a great place emotionally for this transition, my soul and brain are also ready. These changes just feel right and that’s a great feeling.
One thing that needs a jump-start is my spiritual side. Spiritually (this blog is about me being a Pagan Dork after all), I have not been a part of any spiritual group for a long time, and the closest thing pagan I’ve done is a wee bit of my own special form of visualization/meditation and a drum circle (and that’s just 2 little things in about a year). But mostly I haven’t really done much.
That part of me has been kinda dead for a while… and that’s probably not good for my soul. That needs a recharge. I’m not ready to join any kind of group, except loosely like in drum circles and the like. But I am looking forward exploring new ways of thinking and being, spiritually. Some of my past blogs here described my beliefs at that time; I feel them evolving. Maybe it won’t involve completely turning my back on my beliefs, but adjusting and growing.
Throughout all of these changes, my husband and close friends and loved ones have been there, supporting me and cheering me on, and also being patient with me, and I am really grateful. I am mind-blown every time I think of all the wonderful people I am lucky to have in my life!
Well there you go, an update on my life! I haven’t written in a long time! Life is feeling really good even with all these changes. We’ll see what the next school year has in store- work-wise and life-wise.