There is always Hope – Intentional Day 57

Banksy – There is always Hope  Screen-Shot-2016-01-08-at-09.17.13

There is always hope!   In all the darkness, the tragedy, the nonsensical tearing apart of our society, the buckets of tears, THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!

As a mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and as a member of this society, The United States of America, I want to ask, #NeverAgain

We must find a way to agree on how to enforce the laws we have on the books, encourage open dialogue on ways in which to curb or stop the availability of large capacity magazines, and high powered weapons of war and the ability to adapt guns so that they become weapons of mass destruction.

I am not asking that we repeal the 2nd Amendment. I’m all for the ability own and posses guns if done legally and responsibly, which most are.  I would like to see the age of being able to purchase any gun raised to 21, with thorough background checks and a waiting period.

I am also all for the right of innocent children to go to school and not be scared of what might happen.  I am also for the right of adults to gather at a concert without the fear of being massacred.

We as a society need to find a way to come together to build each other up, instead of tearing each other down.  We as a society need to stand with the students from #Parkland and others from across the country.  They are our future and they’ve had enough of being scared.  I can only hope and will do my part to stand strong with those students and others that support them, as they pave the way to hopefully a better future.  We need to listen to them, guide them and ensure that they are heard.  I know in my heart and soul that we all can agree #NeverAgain #EnoughisEnough

Most of you know I’m an educator.  I started off as a High School Math teacher in 1999.  I stayed in the classroom until 2013 or so, and left due to the inability to function correctly after I was assaulted by a student.  As I’ve said before, the assault was bad enough, but the response from those in charge, was reprehensible.  For awhile, I had lost hope, hope of ever being able to have a ‘real job’, hope of every being the person I was, hope of ever just being able to get through the day without an anxiety attack.  But, with time, I did get a  ‘real job’. I moved to the Central Coast and flourished emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Now I’m back in the San Bernardino Mountains and still working in education.




Moving on… Sounds so Final!

Yikes, so here we are, the end of January 2018 and I have found a new path in my journey.  I will be moving on from SLOCOE, but is it really moving on, which to me sounds so final, or is it moving along, which has more of a continuous ring to it?

Since I began working at SLOCOE I have 61752_1411796780359_2996185_nfound myself even more reflective of who I am and who I want to be. I’ve gained so much knowledge both professionally and personally.

Personally, because I’ve had the pure pleasure of truly just being myself with my own needs and wants in a very tiny space. I’ve quit smoking in this time as well, most likely due to the fact that I am at peace internally.  I still have bouts of anxiety, but not as strong or as lasting. Walking along the harbor, just me and my D-dog, lost in the rhythm of the waves, or the steps or my own breathing.  It’s very soothing!

I am looking forward to going back to the mountains full time.  But I will miss the sounds of the ocean at night, particularly the seals barking!

Professionally, oh my, I’ve regained my confidence first and foremost.  Having had the chance to work with such great people, learn with great supervisors who appreciate and recognize your contributions to the organization and educational community, has been incredible. My own understanding of both assessment and accountability for Math Educations has supported my work for Access and Equity for all studemy-lifes-journey-27-728nts.  I truly believe that the collaborative work with the CA Math Community of Practice by CCSESSA, the CAASPP Institutes with SCOE/CDE and being appointed Lecturer for K-8 Math Methods last year at Cal Poly has brought me to this point along with coaching and mentoring by some phenomenal people!

So in this light, I do not see this as Moving On, but actually Moving Along my journey I was meant to take.

Thank you to all of those who have crossed my path along my journey! 

#OneWord2018 – Intentional Day 11

It’s been a few days since I’ve written about my word, intentional.  Look at that, I’m claiming it, I’m owning it, soon I will be one with it… Intentional!

This conversation that has been taking place over the past few months and the #MeToo movement has really been present in mimagesy thoughts.  Seriously how could it not be? It’s all over the place, right?!  And for good reason, the conversation about sexual harassment and sexual assault needs to be discussed as uncomfortable as it is.

As we move forward with this truth that sexual assault takes place, if and when any of us have someone open up and share with us, that they are being or have been assaulted, be INTENTIONAL in being present with that person as they share. If you are in a role of authority, be aware of your responsibilities to assist this person in finding safety first and foremost.  We need to ensure that those that find the bravery to share their experiences are heard, are validated and are not shamed.  It is imperative to be Intentionally Present!!


#OneWord2018 – Intentional: Day 3

If you recall, one of the ways in which I said I was going to be intentional was by intentionally striving to be my best self for myself and for others.

Well let me tell you, after my first day of physical therapy for the cervical and thoracic sprains I received from the auto accident back in November, I just might cross this one off the list!  Yes!! it’s only Day 3 and I’m already considering backing out of one of them468!

DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT believe the therapist when they say you will leave feeling like you had a day at the spa!  *Unless you enjoy the Midevil Torture Spa*

Seriously though, I truly am striving to be the best me I can be for myself and others.  I went to the store after work yesterday and bought healthy foods and snacks, took the dog for a walk this morning and after PT.   I also have been using the Arbonne Shake Powder and other products for a little over 6 weeks now, and love how the products are supporting intentionality thing I’ve got going on!

Grateful for… ME! Day 2 of #OneWord2018 – Intentional

Each day I want to intentionally recognize one thing for which I’m grateful.   I may not publicly write about them, but today I want to share how truly grateful I am for being me.  It has taken a long time to get here, this place of okay-ness and acceptance with who I am. I actually like who I am!!

I wish we all could find a way to be grateful for who we are earlier in life. However, we are all meant to take the journey we travel to become who we are, at the right time and the right place in our lives.  We need to find the ability to forgive ourselves along this journey called life. We have to be willing to look at failures as opportunities to learn and grow,  always moving forward.

I know where I’ve been, I know where I am, and I am looking forward to where I will be.

Are you grateful for who you are?  What will it take to do so?


meant to beImage Link

#OneWord2018 – Intentional

I chose the word intentional as my #OneWord2018 for multiple reasons.

  1. I am going to intentionally set aside time each week to read, both for my professional growth and pleasure.
  2. I am going to intentionally recognize someone each week who has made an impact on me, either professionally or personally.
  3. I am going to intentionally pursue opportunities to learn and become a better listener.
  4. I am going to intentionally recognize one thing each day that I’m grateful for.
  5. I am going to intentionally reach out to others who I would like to learn from.
  6. I am going to intentionally plan ways in which to better be reflective, both personally and professionally.
  7. I am going to intentionally enjoy each and every day, experience and opportunity that comes my way.
  8. I am going to intentionally strive to be my best self for myself and for others.

I will not be Dismissed!

I am not DISMISSABLE!! (yes, a new word!!) lol

Dismiss (verb) – treat as unworthy of serious consideration.

This word has been running through my thoughts since I woke up this morning. I didn’t quite know why. Why did I wake up fixated on a word? I usually wake up thinking about math! (Yes, I’m a nerd!!) What does it mean to me? How do I make sense of it? You see, it was just the word, nothing was attached to it. On my drive to work, it dawned on me…. I’ve been dismissed, again! And by someone I don’t even know!

There have been two times in my life that I have been dismissed. Once by the courts during my divorce, I was treated as unworthy of serious consideration for a long period. The second time I was dismissed, treated as unworthy of serious consideration was when I was sexually assaulted by a student, and subsequently harassed, tormented and threatened. The assault was bad enough, but being dismissed was even worse.

Why bring this up, what does this have to do with anything? It has to do with everything that is happening in our country right now. Personally, I’ve been dismissed, unworthy of serious consideration. Our President -Elect, not directly to me, but by actions and words has dismissed me.

I cannot speak about our immigrant and undocumented population, our Muslim population, our Black population, our Disabled population, our LGTBQ population, our medically needy population, and other survivors of sexual assault. However, if they are experiencing the same anxiousness and fears as I am, then they to, are being dismissed. This is in no way, to exclude those that are still recovering from the recession, as they may have felt dismissed in the past as well.

I made a promise to myself a while back, that I WILL NOT BE DISMISSED! I am worthy of serious consideration! I believe that those who are speaking out, either by peaceful protest or social media, are also saying that they will not be dismissed.

Our President Elect has made it very clear, during his campaign and with his appointments to his inner circle, that he is a misogynist, sexist, racist, xenophobic, ethnocentric bully, that is dismissive.

I do not claim to have answers, but I do know, that these past few months have shown that as a nation we have a long way to go, but it will be even further moving forward if we move backwards first.

For this reason, please do not be dismissive of others if they are trying to tell you something important to them. You are showing them that they are unworthy of serious consideration to you. t really doesn’t take but a moment to discuss these issues with someone, even if it is uncomfortable.

Finding my way back

When you hear PTSD, what comes to mind?  For most of us, we think of a Veteran returning from deployment, having endured horrific experiences.  However, rarely do we think of teachers.  Yes, teachers, and I am one of them.  It is not the teaching itself that caused my PTSD, but the continued attacks by some students and lack of support from administration.

Imagine being berated verbally, daily, by students.  Being called a bitch, being told to fuck off, having teenage boys stand up and begin yelling directly in front of you, at you, with clenched fists, being told that they would be happy to show you what it’s like to be with a real man, being pushed and shoved, threatened by gang members, threatened to be turned in as a child pornographer, all because you ask students to do their work.  Instead of trying to learn, groups of students are discussing how high they got last night, where they were going to get alcohol from for lunch, who has guns for sale, that they prefer using a baseball bat on someone instead of a gun because it hurts longer.  Imagine having a 14 year old student, 6’5” tall, 225 lbs., tell you he knows that you drive a certain type of car and I need to watch my back. Picture fights breaking out in your class on a regular basis and security takes up to 20 minutes to respond, if they even do.   Think of walking around the classroom trying to help students and you feel a hand under your dress grabbing you in your groin area, and then being told you should feel lucky.  Imagine, being told that the reason you weren’t at work for two days was because you were in the mountains fucking the cop killer.  How would you handle students dancing on desks, throwing things at you, laughing at you, cussing at you?  What do you do when students bully and threaten other students who just want to learn, to the point of tears, right in front of you and having books and chairs thrown at you.

Now, imagine crying every night, having night mares every night, waking up screaming thinking you are under your desk begging for your life as a student tries to rape you.  This leads to withdrawing from your life, pulling away from your family and friends, not going to sleep because you are afraid of the nightmares, hiding out at work, fearful of walking across campus, not knowing what was going to happen. Maybe the student who threatened to throw another teacher over the balcony is waiting for you. Imagine you get to a point that you can’t even go to the grocery store any longer because you’re afraid one of your students will be there.  Picture desperately trying to hold it together and teach; redirecting negative behavior rather than teaching. Trying not to yell, or scream, or cry, while a student screams that you are a fucking bitch, that you need help, that if you don’t watch it, something bad is going to happen to you. And the only thing you can do is tell them their behavior is unacceptable and that you are going to write a low level referral.  They laugh at you.  Imagine going to the administration time and time again for assistance and support, and getting blank stares, because it must be something you are doing to bring this behavior out of these students and you must not have the classroom management skills necessary to engage students in learning.

A movie plot, I’m sure you are thinking by now.  No, this was my life for a while.  I reported, wrote referrals, asked for help, called home, called counselors, set up meetings, requested students to be moved, everything a teachers is supposed to do.  The day I was sexually assaulted, (the groping incident), I went straight to the principal’s office and explained what had happened.  The principal told me to report it to the vice principal and have her do an investigation.  The investigation consisted of interviewing four students the next day.  The students all denied any knowledge of the incident, and then proceeded  terrorize me the rest of the year with their bullying, harassment, name calling, under handed threats of violence and flat out bad behavior.  They knew they had the upper hand.

I once reached out to the district Positive Behavior Support Specialists for assistance and was told that if I continue go outside of the chain of command, that I wouldn’t receive any assistance at all.  I received the message loud and clear, I must take the abuse that the students dished out to my other students and myself.

Living in fear on a daily basis I began to shut down, emotionally, mentally and physically.  Depression set in, my immune system was stressed,anxiety reared it’s ugly head, tinnitus developed, as well as developing an eye twitch and muscle tension in my shoulders and neck.

I was fired from one of my positions as an academic coach, because I wasn’t supporting the teachers, I wasn’t able to bring myself to move around the campus for fear of retaliation from some of my students.  I stayed in my classroom when I didn’t have classes, to hold onto any sense of safety I could muster before the end of the day and I could go home.

I transferred schools at the end of the year, with hopes that the new administration would understand my requests, to no avail.  I was put in charge of two classes, both of which had more than a handful of students who had similar behaviors.  Once again, I asked for assistance with these students, but nothing happened.  At one point, the Behavior Specialist asked what was wrong with me.  I was harassed, bullied and terrorized once again, not only by the students, but by other teachers as well as support personnel.  I am not a weak person. I am a single mother that raised two girls and put them both through college.  I own my own house and have rebuilt parts of it.  I put myself through college, with two small children, and have recently completed my second master in Math.  The last straw was when a fight broke out in my room and I received no help from security.  I haven’t returned to the classroom in over a year now.

I went out on medical leave.  My personal doctor informed me he would treat me for just this one appointment, but this was a work related issue and sent me on my way to file a Workers Compensation claim.  It has been over a year now, Workers Comp was denied, attorneys were hired, union attorney has been involved.  Four different doctors have confirmed that I have PTSD. One doctor even stated, that what I experienced is no different than what a war veteran experienced.

Through therapy and time, I have begun to heal.  There are still scars though.  Leaving the house is very difficult for me.  I’ve altered my mundane errands to fit into a certain time frame if I have to go out alone.  Being in public takes a lot of effort, and even then it’s filled with anxiety and hyper vigilance.  The nightmares have ceased, but sleep is still not restful.  I no longer receive a paycheck or benefits as I used all of the extended sick leave, even though I had been released to return to work.  The school district wanted more documentation that I wasn’t a threat to myself or the students.  The sad thing is, I was never a threat to myself or my students, certain students were a threat to us.

I was a great teacher.  I was a master teacher to pre-service teachers.  I was a mentor teacher for new teachers, just starting out. I was involved in various different committees, wrote grants, provided professional development, organized workshops and continued my education.  I was in the process of earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and working on my Thesis for Secondary Mathematics Education.  I was on state wide work groups, organizations and committees.

Currently, I am doing freelance and consulting work for various companies to make a living.  I don’t know if I will ever return to the classroom, but I am still a teacher at heart.  I am a teacher with PTSD.  I am finding my way back to a life.  It’s not a easy journey.  I still have days that I can’t set foot outside, yet they are fewer and far between.  I still have days that are unfocused and filled with overwhelming anxiety, but I’ve learned my triggers and can slowly alleviate those days. I have begun to regain my self-confidence.  I am scarred, but not down!