Posted in Blogging about the Blog, Career Change, Identity, Vocation

No longer a Catholic or an educator; I’m just me now

The details of why I was asked to leave the school early don’t much matter, but I did see it coming.  I had become unnecessary and was no longer this year’s “flavor of the month” so I needed to go.  Add to that a jealous coworker who, I have, over time, realized that her own job security was threatened if I stayed around too much.  She made sure to tell our boss I wasn’t loyal, so I got exited.  We negotiated a settlement and I left.

I had no choice in the matter, really.  My savings had already been decimated based on the dream that was making this school a reality.  I desperately needed my income to continue while I searched for a job.  If I had done the “I don’t quit, you fire me” thing, I would have had to take unemployment, which would have been considerably less and unreliable, too.

I ended up with a two-month vacation, paid, during which point I searched for work and began rethinking my own identity.  I started my new job just in time so there would be no real gap in my income or even, officially, my employment history.  While illegal to pay a settlement over time, that’s how my school does it.  You have to pay a lump sum at dismissal in my state, but they never do and no one ever complains since we’re afraid to say anything and lose the settlement.

Anyway, the thing about being an Autistic female is that we are so very chameleon-like that, over time, we have little idea who we are really.  I realized, during this journey, that I did a lot of things that only make sense given that I am Autistic.  Who makes these grand sacrifices, at the expense of her own career and her relationship with her family?  Well, an Autistic woman does, if she has internalized the societal rules of what a “good girl” does and what a “good Catholic girl” is like.

On the journey, I realized that, as usual, I don’t even want to be a teacher per-se or ever administrate a school again.  The fact is, I’m good with data and not great with people, assuming those people are largely Neurotypical and assuming those people are adults, besides.  Neurodivergent kids?  I’d love to spend time with them.  I always have.  But the thing is I have more in common with a Neurodivergent tween or teen than I do with a neurotypical adult.  That breeds a kind of closeness that can be unhealthy, so it’s not per-se ideal to spend too much time around tweens and teens for me.

Beyond that, why am I in education at all?  School was where I have historically been treated badly by everyone involved, except when a few teachers who were kind to me.  Everyone at the school I just left was trying to stab me in the back last year (and continued for a few beyond that this year).  And yet, I kept going back.  Who does that, unless she is feeling Stockholm Syndrome?

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Posted in Identity, Parenting, Teaching

What We Mean When We Say, “He’ll Grow Out of It,” at My School

In the Disabilities community, there’s a certain level of irritation with parents of Autistics and of parents of students with ADHD.

They blog everywhere, and they sound really ignorant a lot of the time, talking about their child’s struggles with such an intimacy, and dispensing a whole lot of unhelpful advice.  This crew often hates vaccines and gluten and thinks eradicating both would cure Autism.  They sometimes also insist they cured their kids’ ADHD or Autism by removing it or stopping vaccines or other nonsense.

All of this is nonsense, by the way.

So typically, we never, ever talk about “cure” about things like Autism and ADHD in particular because these neurotypical “cousins” (some of us have both) will continue into a person’s life forever.

But yesterday, I had a conversation with a teacher that only I could have.

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Posted in Books, intersectionality

Read this Book: Kat and Meg Conquer the World

For your reading consideration, I have another great YA title.

[Image: Cover of the book. Kat and Meg Conquer the World is in bubble letters with “Kat,” “Meg” and “World” in very big letters, “conquer” in slightly smaller bubble letters and “and” and “the” in the smallest letters. “Kat” and “Conquer” are in white, “Meg” in yellow and “World” in orange while “and” and “the” are in shades of blue. They are on a blue pixelated background (tiny squares of various shades of blue) with tiny golden coins dropping on the title. There’s a puffy red pixelated heart to the side of the title and a sword next to Meg’s name. At the bottom is a large orange skateboard. In the upper right corner, it says “Separately, they’re a mess. Together, they just might be awesome.” There are what look to be test tubes with lightning in them on the sides of the title, coming up from the bottom of the book. A LOT is clearly going on here. At the bottom is the author’s name, in blue bubble-type letters: Anna Priemaza.]

Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza, is about two girls who meet and have a remarkable friendship.  Kat is new in town since they have moved to help grandpa downsize.  She’s got to start high school all over again since in her last province (yup, Canadian book) they start high school in grade 9, but in this place, it’s grade 10 so she feels like she has to do an unnecessary stint as freshman all over again.  Kat is very intelligent and her grades typically reflect this.  She also has anxiety, and it’s pretty intense.  Her therapist has never been much help except when she taught her how to count to slow her breathing to calm down to prevent a panic attack.  She’ll be counting a lot in this book.  Where she does feel pretty good is the world of her online game, and watching videos from her favorite YouTuber.

Meanwhile, Meg is local, but can’t seem to keep any friends.  Though every bit as intelligent as Kat, she struggles in school grade-wise. She’s bubbly and energetic, always running everywhere.  She’s between friends when she and Kat get partnered by default for a long-term science project.  Meg has ADHD with hyperactivity and therefore she struggles to focus on things she doesn’t have interest in, and she also struggles to make and keep friends since she’s missing some social cues.  She’s always swapping friendship groups, though people do seem to like her in general.  She is intensely in love with the same YouTuber Kat is.  She is also very annoyed with her stepdad, who she called dad since her own dad died when she was little.  He attempted to get custody of her younger siblings (his natural children), but not her, and she’s brooding over the whole thing.  Meg is also Black, and much is made of her hair style, her little sister’s hairstyle, skin tone is mentioned and the occasional racial sensitivity nod, but I’m not sure how much she “feels” Black and hope Black reviewers will help here to see if this depiction rings true.  More on that later.

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