1. Number of successful teacher evaluations
I passed my preliminary evaluation for my professional teaching certificate. I
have to pass the final evaluation next semester to earn my professional
2. Number of students arrested.
While only two students have been officially arrested, sometimes I feel like a
special education degree should be accompanied by a minor in criminal justice.
I have learned more about the legal system this semester by trying to answer
questions and help my students navigate the courts than I ever cared to.
3. Number of Special Olympics field trips I
I have a love/hate relationship with field trips. I love going on them and
having a change of pace for the day, but they can be a pain to prepare for. And
sometimes that change of pace is a shift into high gear at full speed.
4. Number of preseason soccer practices.
I am the assistant soccer coach for the Dorman men’s soccer team and head coach
for a middle school soccer team in my district. Next semester, I have 31 games
in eight weeks between the two teams plus daily practices. Busy semester ahead.
5. Number of school events I attended to watch
my students participating.
Many times students with disabilities are not very involved in extracurricular
activities. Whenever I do have students involved in school activities, I do my
best to attend.
6. Number of different drinks my students sold
at the coffee shop.
Tea, hot chocolate, coffee, mocha freeze, lemonade freeze and strawberry
smoothies are the base drinks we sell. We mix it up with new flavors sometimes,
but these six are our staples.
7. Number of times I have said I’m never
coming back to school again.
8. Number of times I showed up the next day.
Teaching can be extremely tiring, taxing and sometimes downright terrible. Like
101 colleague Charmelle pointed out, trying to avoid burnout is a very real
concern for teachers. Varying statistics are out there to illustrate this
point, but I like an
article by Joiner and Edwards in the Journal
of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education. In the article they
reference studies that suggest half of all teachers leave the profession within
the first five years and 30 percent leave within the first three. That’s staggering
I don’t have a solution to teacher
retention problems across the nation. My personal solution is to come back for
another day. Keep coming back. Keep learning. The days turn into weeks, weeks
into semesters, failures into lessons, and before you realize it, you decide
you might just stick it out with this teaching thing.
“A wise man falls seven times, and rises up again.”- Proverbs 24:16
9. Number of IEP meetings I have attended this
The number is probably higher, but I lost track. IEPs are easily what I work on
for half of my time at school.
10. Number of students on my IEP caseload that
still need to pass the South Carolina exit exam.
In South Carolina, all sophomores take an exit exam in order to earn a high
school diploma. Students take the exit exam during the second semester of the
sophomore year and continue taking it each semester until they pass or
“graduate.” However, if you “graduate” without passing the exit exam, you don’t
really graduate. You get a certificate of completion and best wishes on your
future without a high school diploma.
Last year, I had to tell a set of
parents that their child would not graduate with a diploma. I cannot express
how difficult it was to console them in their tears. I’m hoping I don’t have to
do that again this year.
14. Number of blog posts for
Reality 101 I have written.
I have loved writing for Reality 101, documenting the life of a young special
education teacher and interacting with other professionals from across the
country. Thanks for reading and I hope you continue next semester!