(The Heat Escapes the Dryer at Laundromat, circa 2020)
Arrrgggg!! Sometimes I feel like I am living in the purgatory of Group Projects!! Yes, I love group projects when everyone does their part. However, it is one of the most frustrating things when some people in your group are not doing their part. In college, I would often just do the whole group activity as a backup all by myself. I worked myself through college. If a person didn't have their part done, then I had the backup so that if there was a "Lack of Planning Becomes Your Emergency Moment", then I was prepared. I had to be prepared. I didn't have the luxury of not being prepared. I had to go to work and school. At times I worked 3 jobs and went to grad school. One year, I taught high school special education, taught after school at the orphanage for teenage moms, worked nights and weekends at the Cinque counter at Macys, and took graduate classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I didn't slow down until I got a cancer diagnosis in 2009. Thankfully, the doctors removed all the cancer.
As a teacher, in brick-and-morter school, I often did a lot of the work. Yes, I am picky and have high standards. I'd just rather get it done myself, than have to wait on someone who may not be reliable. I think one of the most challenging things as a special education teacher are the legalities relating to education. It puts special education teachers in a conflicting role with our colleagues. Sometimes General Education Teachers don't turn in their teacher input forms or show up to an IEP late, if at all. We sometimes have to challenge general education teachers and hold them accountable. After all, our names are all on the IEPs. As a case manager, I am my students advocate and legally responsible for my students. My husband says that I do not have to go into Lisa Simpson mode. I want to fix things that I see need fixing. However, I keep telling myself, do not pull that string or you may have more work to do because it will be put back on you. In a brick and mortar school, often extroverted teachers can talk their way through not doing their part. There is a hierarchy of status with teachers. Usually, I would just do the work.
As I teach virtual school, I am learning to set boundaries. For the most part, teachers who teach online don't have the time for social hierarchies. We are judged on the quality of the work we do. However, some teachers haven't learned this unspoken rule and try to bring the brick and mortar female pecking order and social dynamics into play. Today I was getting anxious again. If I didn't acquiesce what would happen? Would I be excluded and socially isolated? Other's lack of planning was all of a sudden my emergency. My heart was pounding faster and I could hear my breathing thorough the feedback on my microphone. I had to say to myself, no. I have been trying for over 2 weeks to work with these individuals. I asked for a draft of what they have so far. No response for over a week. I asked if they would like to set up a Zoom call for supports, no response for over a week. Now that it is due, now my help is needed. I said no today. I canceled the Zoom. I said, we will have to reschedule for after the drafts and PowerPoints are sent. I will not do others' work during this season. I can't be a General Education as well as a Special Education teacher. Yes, I have taught both before. But cannot do both full time. Often General Education Teachers want the Special Education Teachers to just teach their students with special needs. Moreover, some Gen Ed Teachers don't want to teach children with special needs at all. I have to set the boundary. The General Education Teachers must do their part, so that I can do my part. I have enough work to do.and it is time to do laundry again!