Thursday, September 13, 2012

Year 3: Week 2 - Leaving It All Behind

I hate being away from my kids.

I rarely take personal days and only if I'm bedridden or if the nurse forces me to go home will I take a sick days.  However, sometimes life happens.

Last week my grandmother passed away and after the initial wave of grief passed my mind went to the fact that I would have to go to Taiwan and take a week off of school.

One of hardest things about death is that it never happens at a convenient time and this was definitely true this time around.  I started the school year last week.  I barely got to know my new students and I'm smack in the middle of our band/choir selection process.  But that didn't outweigh the needs of me family and my own personal needs.

So I had to get ready to go.

My principals and my human resource person were amazing.  They were accommodating, supportive and very helpful.  I folding together bereavement leave and my personal days to give me the time off that I needed.  Now I just needed to figure out what to tell my substitute to do.

One of the main reasons I hate leaving my kids is that it takes more work for me to plan for a substitute then to plan for myself.  Some substitutes are competent and can follow a plan and some are barely capable of putting a DVD in and pressing play.  When you are teaching music, this issue gets even worse.

Once in a while I have a sub that I know can actually teach music, so I can leave music and stuff.  Even though the substitute I got has music teaching experience the timing of the year meant that the students barely learned how to operate in the classroom.  So I left some DVDs for the kids to watch and told the sub to do some music activities that she knew and felt comfortable teaching.

Is it a cop-out to just let kids watch movies?  Kind of, but I swear that the DVDs that I chose were educational.  And chances are, some of the kids will pay better attention to the DVD then they ever would with me.  One of these days I'm going to just video tape myself teaching a lesson to the kids and play that and see if the kids pay better attentions to me if I'm on a screen.  (Can you tell I'm writing this when I'm on a plane?)

I feel like I have so little time with my kids sometimes.  I'm constantly trying to figure out more times to hang out with them like during lunch time, before school or even during math class.  Even if they are watching movies, I want to watch movies with them so we can talk about them.

One of administrators in my first teaching job told me that you can't take care of your students if you don't take care of yourself.  I truly do believe this and as hard as it is sometimes to be away, if you truly want to do what's best for your kids, do what's best for yourself.  Even if that means going to Taiwan during one the busiest times of the school year.

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