Monday, May 24, 2010

Seven Days - Seven Thoughts

So, as of tomorrow, there are SEVEN days of school left. Actually, six and a half. WAHOO!!! This is SO my favorite time of year! It's hard to imagine spending entire days at home, with nothing to worry about but cleaning my house, keeping Afton happy, cooking dinner, going shopping, making appointments, finding babysitters, trying to get stuff done while a baby clings to my legs, wondering if Afton will EVER go down for a nap...hmmm...not so sure about this summer thing now. Anyway, in honor of seven days of school, here are seven random thoughts. No, this makes no real sense but I don't care.

1. Trevor is in school this summer. He won't get a break from school until he finishes nursing school in 2013--if everything goes according to plan. Poor guy. School sucks. And THEN he forgot to register on time so he ended up with awful classes at night. So pretty much the whole summer we can't do anything on week days. Either he works until 8:00 or has class until 10:00. Sucks SO bad.

2. Today I apologized on some kid's wall on Facebook for something I did in the 4th grade. We're friends on facebook, but not really FRIENDS. But I remembered how in 4th grade I was mad that he always got ALL the answers right on our timed math timestables, so when we switched papers to grade, I changed a few answers. Just so he wouldn't get 100%. He called me on it, but I denied it. What rotten thing to do, huh? And 20 years later I still remember it. So I apologized on his wall today. Bet he thinks I'm psycho.

3. I love reading my old journals lately. Right now I'm reading my mission journal. Fascinating. I served in South Africa. I found myself crying at one point--remembering a story about how my companion, Sister Valore, helped a poor boy one day. He was always begging outside a store we often frequented. Ragged clothes--he was about 12. And she just said enough is enough. She brought him in the store and told him to pick five things. Everyone watched. I thought he'd pick candy. No. He picked bread, fruit, meat, and milk. And only when Valore nodded at him did he pick an ice cream bar. Everyone in the store had tears in their eyes. I was bawling when I read it. How could I forget a story like that?

4. I won an award at school. I am the CTE Teacher of the Year for Jordan School District. Cool huh? Of course, no one knows because it was never announced. They announced in an email today that the son of one of the teachers won State. But no one mentioned I won an award. Should this bother me? Cause it does. But it was so nice to have some recognition by my district. I got a plaque and went to a banquet and everything. After two weeks of bugging the head janitor to put it up in my room, I got one of the other janitors to do it. Thank you, Hope.

5. Afton went to bed at 7:10 tonight. Can you believe that? Who IS this kid? That's a total first. Bless you, Baby.

6. I am teaching at a conference this summer. Its the business teacher conference. I always go--it's such a good conference. I offered to teach a class on Keyboarding Games, and one on Digital Scrapbooking. And they accepted both! And I'm teaching digital scrapbooking twice! Yay! I love teaching at this conference. Such amazing people. It's so great to get together with hundred of people who do the same thing you do. You learn so much!

7. I'm going to Loa this weekend! Hooray! I love going to Loa. We go every Memorial Day. Only this year will be really hard because Trevor's Grandpa passed away in December, and it will be hard to not have him there. It will be hard to visit his grave, instead of having him with us. It makes me REALLY sad. I mean, I cry over it. It's like he was MY grandpa. Maybe it's becuase he's so much like Trevor. What a great man he was! Still--it will be nice to get away for the weekend. And when I come back? Only THREE MORE DAYS! And the last day there is no 7th graders and since 90% of my kids are 7th graders--it's practically only TWO MORE DAYS!!

Ok, I'm done. Sorry this was random. But oh well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Complainer or Problem Solver?

So I've been told by someone I work with (who is in a position of authority) that I am a complainer. This really hurt my feelings. I mean, I was ready to cry. And for the last week I've been thinking a lot about this accusation. One thing about me is that whenever I come across something new about myself--whether positive or negative--I find myself somewhat fascinated. I can honestly say that when I recieve a critisim, I take a great deal of time thinking about it, deciding if it's relevent, finding examples of it in my past, and concluding whether it's accurate and if and what I should do about it. This critisism was no different. However hurt I feel about the way it was delivered, I have to ask myself if it's true.

I mean, we ALL complain. I think people are labeled complainers when they complain to the wrong people--to people who don't care or don't listen. I mean, I tell my husband all my concerns, and HE certainly wouldn't call me a complainer. But if you've got that lady in the office that is constantly harping about everything, and you have no real relationship with her--you are more likely to be unsympathetic and label her a complainer. So--AM I a complainer?

I've thought a lot about it. I've thought of the specific things I have complained about to this particular person. I certainly won't go into detail about what they are on a public blog, but I feel that with few exceptions, most of my "complaints" have been valid concerns. I've brought them up to this person, and because they don't genuinely care about me or my needs, they are labeled as complaints. Where this person sees "complainer" I see "problem solver." If I see something wrong, I'm going to speak up. I'm going to try and fix it.

Some people, when placed in a difficult situation, or when a concern arises--they don't say anything. They don't rock the boat. They sit back and take it. Many of my co-workers are like this. And they are like this because they knew there are people like me who will speak up for them--and take the consequences of doing so. I know all people are different and not everyone can be the spokesman, but I cannot be like those people. But apparently, that is what is expected of me.

So I'm looking back at all the times I've "complained." And I ask myself--did I just complain, or was I offering solutions? I guess that's the real difference, isn't it? My goal is that from here on out, when I speak up about a problem, I will also offer a solution--or at least make it clear that I am seaking a solution, not just venting frustration. I can vent frustrations at home to people who care about me. But not to an authority figure. I don't know that the difference will be noticed or appreciated by said authority figure, but there's not much I can do about that. I can only look at how I can improve myself, and do my best to do it. I just hope I actually DO do it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jordan District says "You can't have a baby. And don't get cancer."

You know, I've been dealing with a lot of crap from my district. I've listened to arguments and problems all year about cutting teachers pay, and jobs, and all the crap they need to do to balance the budget. I understand that the money has to come from SOMEWHERE. I know the board has a really, really hard job. I feel for them--no matter what they do, everyone's mad. I get that. And I was relieved when teacher jobs were saved, without raising taxes--though I would had supported a tax increase.

But now, I'm livid. Because with the new budget proposal out yesterday, Jordan District has basically said, "YOU CAN'T HAVE A BABY. YOU CAN'T GET CANCER. YOU CAN'T GET SICK."

How did they say this? They are eliminating the Sick Bank. This is a fund where every teacher donates two of their sick days into a big pool. Then, if you have a special need and don't have the sick days to cover it, you can APPLY to get some of the days out of the sick bank. This is really useful for teachers who have cancer or some other awful disease. And I used 8 days of sick bank last year when I had Afton. Becauase, you see, JSD makes you use EVERY SINGLE SICK DAY you have, before they will let you use the sick bank. So after you give birth, you have NO MORE sick days until the next school year. So what do you do when your baby gets sick? Or when you get an infection? What the crap do you do?

Well, you take unpaid leave I suppose. It's very expensive. They don't just take from your paycheck what you would have made that day--no, they take some of your summer money too. If you work 180 days a year, they take 1/180th of your pay. So it's very expensive, especially if you are taking several weeks. The next time I have a baby (and NO I'm NOT pregnant!) I will have to take eight weeks for a C-Section. 8 weeks--that's what? Seven thousand dollars? Are you friggin' kidding me?

Ok, I know. There are probably a lot of jobs out there that don't give paid maternity leave. Maybe I'm just a complainer. Maybe I should be grateful I got it last time. Maybe I should just have a baby in the summer. And maybe I won't be able to get pregnant when I want to, and then my baby will cost me $7,000. Or, in other words, MY HOUSE. Cause if I have no income for 8 weeks, I can't make my house payment. So there's my choices. I can keep my house and have no more children, or I can have a child and lose everything else.

Being a mom puts me at a huge disadvantage. The district is full of teachers who are older without kids, who never use a sick day and have accumulated YEARS worth. And yet if you are a mom, you have maternity leave and sick kids and yet you don't get any extra days. They can't just give you "maternity" days. They make you use every day you've got. I think it's total discrimination.

So thank you, JSD. You didn't cut my pay, and I thank you. But I'll still lose my house one way or another.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Many Faces of Afton

I haven't updated in forever. Sorry. Can't think of anything to write. But I've got this! How cute is that??