Starting the school year off right…

Sorry guys. I apologize in advance. I feel like rambling. So yes, I could break this up into like ten posts. But I won’t. You have to roll with it. No pictures either. 

Tomorrow (Thurs) is my first day back to work. We have two prep days/meetings and then the kids come back Monday. I am trying to stay calm, but the first few weeks are definitely stressful trying to figure out scheduling. I like to work with the teachers and ensure the child is getting a time that doesn’t make him miss important items, but I also have to schedule so many kids with so many teachers at so many schools that scheduling isn’t exactly easy. 

Tomorrow I plan to go through my work emails and ensure I’m caught up on things we talked about at the end of last year, organize my files, write up a Hello Parents Letter and a Mini Contract, Print out all Goals, etc. So much to do, and I swore I’d work on it all summer, but I lied to myself, I guess…Just like we all have our great intentions. Whoops. :O

Another thing I want to write up is a little something the kids can be “tested” on which is what OT is (briefly), why that child has it, and who I am, and their goals. All in very simplistic language, and I know some of my kids know all that but some don’t and I want to be consistent. My “what OT is” is simply knowing that the term occupational therapy exists and is separate from speech or PT, and that we try to help the child be successful at school, etc etc. 

Blogging wise, I have accumulated a massive amount of things I want to at least briefly blog about, and it’s going into this one bag/box, but it gets so overwhelming. I know I should just use OT on myself and break things down into little steps, etc, but it’s kind of like how maids can have dirty houses 😉 

I’ve been walking a lot with co-workers and friends, and I love them all. One of my co-workers, Amy, is especially deep and we have similar philosophies in many ways. She is a teacher.  We discussed how she works hard to empower her students so that they don’t say “She taught me how to read” but rather “I know how to read”. Sometimes I get caught up in getting credit, or just wanting them to learn, that I forget how important empowerment is. We want the child to have a sense of self-efficacy, of being able to be independent and know how to do things and apply that knowledge, taking pride of the fact “I CAN” rather than “She taught me…” In fact, I think I want to go get the “I think I can, I think I can” tank engine book! That might be a slogan that goes on my wall… “I think I can!” 

We also talked about knowledge itself and how it’s just a foundation, a baseline. Then you build up on that knowledge, and take it much further. The knowledge is JUST the start, not the finish. Again, so true. We talked about Bloom’s hierarchy and the pyramid and working to higher levels once the knowledge is situated.  Again, not something I had really specifically thought about before, but true. In this case, I could break it down to something as simple as tying shoes. We start with two different colored laces within one shoe with a specific pattern. Once we have that, we can move on to contextualizing generally, being able to use the same colored laces, maybe making the pattern faster, being able to tie swim trunks and bows and other things besides just shoes, being able to show others how to do it, being able to take responsibility and power for knowing how to do it, maybe using knowledge of tying shoes in other formats or problem solving skills, etc etc. That was a kind of lame example, but you get the point, I hope. 
Finally, I love that she told me a story about how one of her old students Facebooked her from many years ago, and she wrote to him “I believe in you.” He wrote back “I believe in me, too”. This was a common thing she had done with her kids, always telling them she believed in them, and them responding “I believe in me too”. I love that. She has this very special way of encouraging her kids, believing in their mistakes being learning opportunities, and teaching them self-respect and self-efficacy. 
I think in *some* ways I do these things, but I need to work more on it with a more conscious view of what we’re working on. A child is never going to learn to write beautifully if he thinks he can’t, doesn’t believe in himself, etc etc. I do often talk to my kids about their frustration or anxiety budget as I’ve mentioned before, before we try frustrating tasks – tying shoes happens to be one of the worst. We decide how much frustration we can tolerate that day and go from there. Come on, we’ve all been there, days where we can tolerate a lot or not so much, depending on what’s already happened that day, what side of the bed we woke up on, etc. As adults we give ourselves a lot of leeway, we need to remember that SOMETIMES kids need it too.
There are days and times when I know I gave a child too much leeway, but other days when I see a child who desperately needs some leeway, not getting it. I need to work on putting firmer boundaries in place, while still giving the child some leeway, it’s hard to combine the two I think! But so necessary! I’m trying to decide if I want a SET discipline in check that’s the same for all kids, or maybe one for each school depending on what their special ed teachers use, or what. Last year, near the end of the year, I got bad about using candy as a reward. It works SO WELL, but I know it’s not a great idea. But most of my kids aren’t thrilled with just a sticker or a stamp. Hmmm. Still pondering that one. 
Sorry this was so long. I know I am supposed to be blogging about set topics and in much smaller doses than this, so if you read this far, thanks. Just
getting stuff off my chest, I know much of it is repeated throughout the blog but clearly it’s the stuff I’m still heavily pondering. I still need to put aside a set time to blog. I was thinking about maybe designing certain days of the week blog days, certain days of the week writing days (not for blog), for a 30 minute session. 
Majorest goal of all, besides improving my grammar, haha: NOT stressing so much about starting the school year and the transition from lazy days to running around. It’s all going to happen whether I stress out or not, so why not just be chill? 

Aug 16, 2012 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1