Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Looking Forward

Fourth of July 2013, view from a friend's dock on Oneida Lake.

I haven't had much to say about Safety Guy lately, but that's not because there's nothing going on.  He's had a fairly laid-back summer as far as activities go - counseling biweekly, his fitness class several times a week, swimming at the local pool occasionally, and lots of space for his favorite activities (iPod, Netflix and video games).  He's been doing extra chores to save money for a car.  He's mellowed out a bit from the stress of the spring, but anticipating the new school year is weighing on his mind, and on mine too.

Safety Guy is worried about going back to school in the fall.  He'll have different teachers and a different routine, but he'll still have the same kids in most of his classes, probably in much the same combinations as before.  He's afraid he'll be bullied again, and he's afraid he'll lose his temper.  I'm afraid this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy:  he expects to be bullied, so he'll be looking for excuses to react to provocation, and may actually make the situation worse before it has a chance to get better.  

I'm relying a lot on the new combination of teachers, which is a different setup than he had in junior high.  The past two years he had the same resource teacher all year, in all of his core classes and for a smaller math class.  He spent a lot of time with the same kids in the same combinations and with the same teacher.  And his resource teachers, while excellent each year, were not miracle-workers.  They had a tough combination of kids each year, with no breaks for any of them from each other or from the teacher, aside from lunch and two class periods for "specials" or study hall (which also usually included the same kids on the same schedule).  This year he'll have not one but FOUR resource teachers, one for each core subject area.  I'm hoping that having more eyes on the students and situations, with more space in the high school, will help avert smaller problems before they become big crises.  I know all of the resource teachers he'll be interacting with, and they're all very good at what they do.  I hope, oh how I hope, they can keep the upper hand on the teasing/picking/bullying and help Safety Guy navigate his freshman year without huge problems.  The second half of last year was just awful, and I do NOT want a repeat of that.

The other part of my anxiety for him is that I may not be working in his school.  I've been applying for full-time teaching jobs around our area, none of them in our school since the one I didn't get hired for in June.  So far I haven't heard back from any of them, and if nothing turns up I'll continue to sub in my kids' schools.  But if I do get a full-time position elsewhere, that will change our family dynamic once again.  And I really NEED a full-time job.  I'll have to continue to look for one even if I have to continue to sub day-to-day or long-term in our local district this fall.

I'm trying not to worry, but this weighs continually on my mind.  I fear for our son in school, for his own attitude and behavior, and the behavior of his peers toward him.  He's already convinced that the school in general is out to get him, that the teachers and administrators don't care that he's having all these troubles with a core group of students who tease him and bully him.  I can't assure him that these incidents won't happen again.  I can't tell him that it will be okay with any degree of confidence.  I won't lie to him, and so I can't really reassure him.  It's not so much IF something happens in school, it's WHEN.  And I hate that "waiting for the shoe to drop" feeling.