So, I took the plunge and started my new job. I’m now an elementary school special education teacher in a 3-5 Autism classroom. I know, right? I have 27 years of teaching and social work under my belt. I have dealt with nearly every special condition, trauma, behavioral set, and taught adults, preschoolers, high schoolers, but never, until now- elementary school children. It’s a foreign world and when I walk down the hall, I still don’t quite feel like I am in the right place. These children are so little. I have been teaching high school for almost 18 years, so when I walk down the hall I feel like Gulliver among the Lilliputians. I can’t tell you how it’s going yet, because I am still in free fall- I started January 12 by working to get my room ready for the children who would move down to a new room on January 21, but then Mother Nature intervened giving us a snow/ice day and making Jan. 20 a school day instead of a workday and voila, the children were to arrive a full day early. Egads! I carried on though-night and day- to make it happen and I have now nine  school days under my belt with this group. As I said, all in a rapid free fall of time that has been a virtual blur of learning names, IEPs, co-workers, & schedules, assessing skills and learning styles, dealing with behaviors surrounding new teacher/new room/new expectations, and finding one computer that will boot up and allow me to access CECAS, let alone project a video onto the front board. I have three new IAs to orient and team build with who are looking at me like “how long will you actually stay,” but the school is top notch, small, community oriented, and every staff member looks happy to be there. I have had great support and I don’t have time to hurt at all.
My RA is not in remission. I hurt, I just don’t realize it until the end of the day when I drag out to my car and when I sit down after supper. You know it’s a lottery of sorts, so this week it’s been my wrists and hands. Blessedly, the amount of standing and running and walking about that I do seems to be helping my feet and they are feeling okay right now- no bloody stumps. I can’t open jars, pill bottles, yogurt packages, or milk cartons very well, and sometimes I have to ask for help, but I am super proud of the energy level I have had given three weeks of 12-14 hour workdays and maintaining both jobs. Luckily I only had 2 plans this month and one revision for the Group Home.
I had to reapply for the state health plan, which sucks and is ridiculous since I only moved one county over and I am still a state teacher, but that meant moving my rheumatologist appointment forward and delaying further the introduction of biologics. In my imagination, I will get better before the appointment when the Plaquenil finally kicks in and joins forces with the near max dose of Methotrexate to prompt remission, but I know that is not likely. I am putting off biologics as long as I can since I am now working in a petri dish of germs with kids hacking and sneezing all over me all day long. I’ve had my flu shot. Next stop- shingles and pneumonia vaccines.
I have had some really cool stories to tell each evening. I’ve had some glittery moments where I think I am exactly where I am supposed to be, but I have also had a couple mornings where I put the pillow over my head and didn’t want to get up and go back. I’m energized when I am learning though, and I grow when I stretch and reach, so I know that’s happening-for sure.