PD Week 2–learning about myself. Ouch.

I started week two of a two week PD at Wake Forest. The program originated to address a need at a much higher level than 8th grade math. The education center is part of the Wake Forest Medical School. Seems medical students could pass tests but could not apply, connect and transfer their knowledge into practice once they got into the hospital with real patients. A new and different approach was needed. The center for education was created to address this need. Somehow, and I don’t exactly how this came about, the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium was created. This then merged with a group out of UT Dallas as I understand it. The program I’m at is called PTech. The method is somewhat a PBL (problem-based learning) approach, but not exactly. The elevator speech is that content is delivered as needed rather than up front. Students identify what the problem actually is and then determine what they know and what they need to know and this helps students define the problem(s) to be solved. Instruction is delivered as the need arises. Basically the approach is context then content rather than the traditional content then corny application.

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Today (Monday of week 2) we started our personal profiles. This included Myers-Briggs as well as looking at early personal commandments that we grew up with such as ‘clean your plate’ and early experiences such as ‘being homeless for a period’.

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My early commandment was “love and grace trump all”. What this means and meant to me is that I could screw up, but my family would never leave me or hate me because of it nor should I judge somebody else for a screw up or something that I don’t understand or agree with.

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My early experience was pretty enlightening. (Why I chose this, I don’t know.) When I went to college my second year, I was not allowed to register because my bill wasn’t paid. I was embarrassed and shocked. I went up to the financial aide office and they acted like it was no big deal. They helped me apply for loans and whatever. With that done I went and registered. It didn’t keep me from getting any classes; it was merely inconvenient and embarrassing. The thing is, I was the 3rd kid in college. One of my parents had just driven me 650 miles one way. In all that time, how college was getting paid for didn’t come up. Really? I learned that I had to just figure things out and problem solve as I went. My family just didn’t talk about unpleasant things—like money. And, I never asked. If you ask you get answers. If you don’t ask, you don’t get much of anything.

When I think how this affected me further down the line, it takes 25+ years for it to manifest itself. Education was a given growing up including college (though not how it got funded.) My kids were raised the same way–you will go to college–no discussion. We were fortunate enough, however, to be able to fully fund our children’s college educations. I suppose at a ridiculous level I expect to be thanked for that regularly by my children. Stupid, I know. We did that because we chose to. Because we could. It just happened. No scars. No stories. No trauma. (For the record, much to my surprise, my parents sent me a check for half of my tuition each semester when I was in graduate school. I never expected that. They didn’t need to do that, but they were then in a financial position to do so, so they did. Kinda swell. Thanks Mom and Dad.)

So, how that affects me now is, when people don’t appreciate what I have done to make their lives easier without being told, I get irritated. Sometimes I can’t stand it and I let them know what I have done, but I sincerely feel like they should have noticed without being told. Unreasonable, I know. If I cut the grass and my husband doesn’t notice or gush about it, I’m livid. I fold the laundry but I don’t put it away. If I do, it will go unnoticed and therefore, in my mind, unappreciated.

So let’s circle back to school. That’s why I’m taking this training, after all. When I sponsor clubs like math club and quiz bowl, these cost not only time, but also substantial amounts of money. There is no compensation and no reimbursement. A quiet thank you may come once a year. We actually have to invite admin to the banquet even though the events are in the daily announcements. We want the kids to be acknowledged by admin. We get a quiet thank you, maybe and that is all that happens. Groups go to state and even nationals. The school picks up the entry fees, but mileage, hotels, meals, these are all on the teachers. End of year celebrations/awards/banquets are completely funded by the teacher sponsors. Yes, we do it for the kids. But still, gushing appreciation is actually expected for the glory that is brought to the school. But, no. “Thanks for doing that” is all we get. My head really wants to stop this nonsense and stop sponsoring these clubs until the school and county decide they are worthy of paying for, but waiting that out hurts the kids, so I don’t do that. I continue to be abused and unappreciated. I keep going and doing and paying…for the kids. The school and County literally bank on that.

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When I first started teaching, the treasurer came to my room with my first check during class because auto deposit was not yet set up. I opened my check and my eyes filled with tears. I had just spent 65+ hours each week for four weeks and I got $1,900. I made more at Sea World in the summers 20 years earlier and now I had a Master’s degree. I actually almost threw up. I then spent the next eight years spending as little of my own money as possible on school (with the exception of clubs). I still gave my time because clearly that was priceless-not worth a thing. I would see teachers with these elaborate bulletin boards and treats for their kids and decorations for their rooms and storage systems and workbooks and whatever else. They bought all of these things with their own money. Many had the only salary in their houses and they spent way too much of it on school. I refused to do it. They all thought it was normal. I used to get paid mileage reimbursement in my real-life job before teaching, so when I went to math competitions on Saturdays, I submitted my mileage to my principal. He was conflict avoidant, so he paid it. I soon learned that nobody else submitted mileage, so I stopped. I should have never done that. I should have insisted that all teachers submit mileage reimbursement. I hate to be a jerk, but perhaps it’s time to start submitting mileage reimbursement again. They can tell me they won’t pay it. But they’ll at least have to realize that the personal investment took place.

So, what I’m getting at is that I learned that early experiences affect what I do now and how I react to situations. I love my students and will walk over fire for them, but spending money, wow. That’s for the state, county, school and parents. Seriously. And they need to be told.

Dang. Guess I had some processing to do. I hate that this sounds like it’s about money. That’s not it. It’s about appreciation. I want my efforts and financial contributions and sacrifices to be acknowledged and appreciated. Is that so bad?

If you’ve read this far, you have earned another VLOG merit badge. Go you!

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