Clever, My Work

Clever, Thank You.

V’s helper can make my WordPress not work. I am here though.

My “career” certainly hasn’t gone the way I expected it to. I taught 8 years at one school in southern CA before staying home when I had my son. We stayed busy with a Mom’s Toddler group, Gymboree and a little bit of substituting.

We moved to Minnesota and then Oregon before settling in Petaluma. I fell in love with Petaluma. Lots of parks, great schools, and nice people. After all that moving, it was nice to settle in.

Our daughter needed some extra time to adjust. She was fine, but all of us needed me home for a while. I don’t like to say this, because it sounds like I am bragging. I am just saying how it was. When we moved into our house, that was the sixth place our daughter had lived. (Including a few places just for a month). My ex and I both worked hard to keep our great family doing great, but he was working or job hunting also. So, I felt like I had really kept us together, but I wasn’t doing so well. I had some anxiety. I only went to one gas station. Thinking of going to another seemed like too much.

I had a lot to do to keep my credential up to date. I needed to study for and pass a test called BITSA. I then took two classes, took a test and earned my CLAD – certificate to work effectively with non native English speakers. In 2005, while working as a long term substitute at Liberty School, I collected some information and met with the principal to fill out an application to be labeled a highly qualified teacher.

I subbed in my daughter’s third grade class and her fourth grade class. I had no knowledge of the stalking allegations, V always made me feel comfortable/normal. He was a gentleman. So, subbing at one’s child’s school is a good way to get to know a district. I later subbed long term in a fourth grade class, a 5/6 class, and afternoons in a third grade class -teacher recovering from an injury. I received stellar letters of recommendation from all the teachers and the principal. I still have the latest ones, though they are old.

I also subbed long term in a first grade class at Liberty School, and in a third grade class at Cinnabar School. The third grade position was from January until the end of the year. I also took daily sub jobs at all the schools mentioned plus: Old Adobe, McNear, Valley Vista, McKinley, McDowell, Meadow, Corona Creek. I was a requested sub.

In the meantime, I was full time job hunting. When my daughter was on the younger side, I subbed within the Petaluma City boundaries, pretty much. I also was looking for a job pretty close to home. My daughter had a lot of after school activities, and needed transportation. My son was driving himself and then he was off to Cal Poly (computer science – computer programming).

I interviewed in the Petaluma City Schools District (numerous school sites and interviews (only one at Grant):I also interviewed at Cinnabar, My problem was that the units that would place me on the pay scale were pre 1985. Those were “old” units. I came in second for a job at McNear. The teacher substituting in the classroom got the job. I have copies of dozens of cover letters and resumes. I taught one year at Grant, though not as a regular teacher. I started the year as a long term sub, was hired as a half time reading intervention teacher, and taught an intervention summer school class for students going from 3rd to 4th grade.

I was battling breast cancer in 2005-2006, but I substituted through December. Fall 2006, I interviewed for, and got the job as the half time special ed assistant at Sonoma Mountain School. The following fall I entered the Special Education Teaching program. I did well. I did my student teaching with Barbara Clark at La Tercera School. She thought that I would be an excellent candidate for her position as she was retiring. Unfortunately for me, a teacher who had a special ed credential and worked in the district decided to go for the special education job. She had taught special ed before, but had gone into general education. I think it is a bit unusual for someone to go back to special education if they left. I am now wondering if V played a role here. Probably not, but I don’t know for certain.

I subbed at got a job as a one on one assistant the following spring. I had stayed away from middle school completely. It was not an age group that I wanted to work with. I often had avoided sixth grade. After having middle schoolers of my own, I found out that this age group was not so bad. In fact, their enthusiasm was refreshing. I decided that if a junior high or middle school position looked promising, then I would apply for it.

In 2011-2012, I worked as a Special Day Class teacher at Prestwood School in Sonoma. It was a great group of kids – despite some anger issues by four boys who had been moved from the school they planned to graduate from. Moving Special Ed students around has been pretty common – SDC – most needy group and their needs are not always recognized. This group of kids really appreciated what I did for them and they would say thank you. I got to know their neighborhood and brought in Mexican ice cream (term they used). Great letters. I was taking my first BTSA class (credential required), plus a class on autism (required) from US Davis online class.

The following year, I was hired for ONE YEAR in January to be a second RSP teacher at Wright School and RL Stevens School. I also completed three assessments and IEPs for three students at Rincon Valley. My assignment was coming to an end when the principal at Wright realized that I qualified to move right into an SDC position for a class that was moving from Wright to JX Wilson. This was a rough year, plus gangstalking started up in October. My assistant only got up from her seat once to give out reward coupons – behavior reward system essential in SDC. She questioned my judgement in front of the students. Towards the beginning of the year, I sent two students to the principal so she could just talk to them – in the same page more or less. The principal came marching into the room, showed me some sticker charts and stickers and asked if I knew how to use them. I just realized that that was the most unprofessional act I have ever seen.

This may have been used by some – I had a boy in my room who acted very immature for his age. That was fine. He had oral needs – needed something in his mouth much of the time. No problem. I ordered a few socially acceptable items that a kid could chew on. Unfortunately, his speech was very childish. He would also whine. The other students would call him a baby. Of course I didn’t tolerate that.

Later in the year, he had a foster mom. I had briefly talked to the dad to mention some non serious behavior issue. The next thing I knew, the foster mom, who turned out to be a powerful special education advocate was saying that I called the child a baby. I was stunned , by that and also because the principal assumed I was guilty. Principals need to stand by their teachers AND find out the truth.

I was also selling our house and packing it up to move. The day before we moved I was too far into a depressive state to be pulled out. That is when I was at the beginning of an 11th month depression with anxiety. Looking back, I thought of it pretty matter of factory. Bipolar disorder can be an ugly beast. However, my depression may have been helped along by someone V knows. That would change how I feel about it. Same with my broken ankle. It was an accident. Accidents happen. However, the bout of faintness I had was not normal – and I would not figure that out for a long time. I had the same thing happen a year later. I felt faint for five hours – then slept. I crept on the floor with my cat. She had a great time!

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