Moving ahead with things; teaching, horses

The first thing that is notable about this upcoming school year is that I’ve had a surprising lack of beginning-of-school-year stress dreams (a norm for most teachers, and a feature of all my previous teaching years).  Now whether that reflects changed circumstances (new principal who I worked with as a colleague, some changes in my schedule and tasks) or whether it reflects the reality that my summer has been both horrible and wonderful simultaneously (as I have been describing it to colleagues and friends/parents as I run into them this fall), I don’t know.  I suspect it’s a combination of both.

I’ve had to tear my room apart to find where I hid my staplers when packing up last June (or where the kids who helped me pack put them), and needed to request a new password for my grading/attendance program.  Usually I know what that puppy is or else note it.  This year I totally blanked when I first tried to get in, and I couldn’t find where I put my password note.  After a few tries, I requested a reset rather than risk getting locked out.  That usually is more complicated to fix.  In any case, I’ve had some indications that yeah, one of my reasons for not getting anywhere with much this summer and being down flat has probably been a need to rest, which suggests significant brain burn from both summer events and from three challenging years with difficult building leadership.

(Granted, my definition of not getting stuff done this summer probably looks like getting a lot done to many people.  But I digress.  For me, I didn’t get a lot done.)

Conversely, I have a principal who I actually know fairly well.  I taught with her for six years and have a great deal of respect for what I see of her vision for the building.  I’m eager and engaged in doing what I can to support and promote what she needs and wants to do.

Additionally, for the first time I am an equal member of a teaching team.  Not a specialist member but someone who is teaching part of the content.  It also helps that all three of us are specialists in addition to our general education responsibilities (Sped, ELL, and literacy).  In some respects, I think this may be reflective of where education specialists need to be moving (more on this later as I think about it).

I am also looking forward to spending this year teaching Social Studies as it gives me much-needed experience teaching a content classroom which is not a resource classroom.  Plus I just plain like the content area.  Had I not gone into sped, I’d probably have tried to get into teaching Social Studies.  In any case, this gives me the experience in following content standards while differentiating instructional levels, and I will be coordinating what I do with my two colleagues.  I’m really excited by this challenge as well, as teaching a content area which is not a resource class is vastly different from teaching either resource content area classes or study strategies classes.

My other classes are also going to explicitly be intervention classes.  Not Study Strategies, not electives, but flat out intervention classes designed to help the specific students I will be working with.  That also makes me happy.

So there are several good things there.

As for the horse bit, I am still wavering about the next round of hock injections for Miss Mocha.  It’s been nearly a year but she’s still not demonstrating significant steady symptoms of needing injections.  There are occasional days where she’s funky on spins or rollbacks, but I have a serious question as to whether that’s caused by my own ouchies (rehabbing a hip muscle right now which is a big thing in cueing her) or if she’s just getting experienced and more inclined to take shortcuts.  Yesterday I picked up a bat (crop with a spanky hand on it, I prefer those sometimes to the sting of a dressage whip because it’s a broader tingle with a louder popping noise).  A couple of well-timed pops with it and she was much sharper with no discernible off feeling as she did her spins and rollbacks.  Plus I’m not getting the sense of her lope deteriorating and she is doing some very nice and springy rounded lopes using her hind end.

Last night was one of those nice quiet workmanlike schooling sessions.  Snaffle, western saddle.  It took a while for her to warm up but that’s pretty standard for her when the temperatures start to cool.  She can be a bit of a slug in cool weather but once she gets warm she does well.  She two-tracked without resistance and started working through intricate flying change patterns (essentially, random changes of direction where she needs to change with no clue about where I might send her next or when she needs to change).  I didn’t feel any signs of developing hock issues in that work.

At the end, we had a long rein gallop in both directions.  She nearly dropped her nose to the ground in order to stretch out and relax.

Not an intense schooling session.  Quiet, workmanlike, and steady.  I’m hoping this is the pattern for the year ahead, not just for horse but for teaching and writing.  I Can Haz Plans…and something like that would be very, very nice.

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