Thursday, March 12, 2015

Post Chemo #2 and book

So things seemed to be a little easier initially this time.  I was super loopy and drugged up coming home.  Took a nap.  Thought my tummy might be a little weird so I took "nausea #1".  Then I hung out in bed and surfed the inter webs for a long time.  I'm thinking, "I'm feeling alright.  I'm gonna do some yoga."  So I did some really gentle yoga on the bedroom floor and then joined Superman and Superson on the couch for some T.V., and ate some more saltines.  Then around 8:30pm, I all of a sudden felt like "UGH!" and I went to the bedroom and took "nausea #2".  I was feeling just yucky and a little shaky.  So I laid down in bed, wrapped up in my homemade prayer shawl, and cuddled with my elephant.  I realized I left my water on the coffee table, and texted Superman (YES, FROM THE BEDROOM TO THE LIVING ROOM.  I know.) to please bring me my water and some 7up.  Take a couple sips of both and I was knocked out.  Superman woke me up around midnight to check on me.  I was feeling fine.  By the morning alarm clock, I was still feeling good.

I had a dentist appointment this morning too.  Look at the cute bottle of mouthwash they gave me!!! Perfect to keep in my purse for during the day.  Yeay!
Then I have to go get my blood cell booster shot at 1:30 today.   That will cause me to feel like chemo-blob for about the next three days, so I'm enjoying the relative comfort and pain-free existence right now.

I thought I would write about my book ideas for awhile.

So I have to make sure I spin this topic in such a way that NORMAL non-educators, non-political people, will want to read it and be interested in the subject matter.  People, I assume, like inspirational stories about breast cancer survivors that kickass, and they also really care about their kids.  The book has got to be about the best education possible FOR THEIR KIDS.  I can't be about boo-hoo poor teachers, you treat us so bad.  It has to be about, if we get teachers/staff the time and resources they need, then they can properly serve their lovable children/the clients.
The actor Matt Damon is a great advocate for teachers (his mom is one), and I admire how outspoken he is on the subject.  What I don't like is that his approach is, My mom/teachers are such great people.    But this IS  NOT WHAT I WANT MY APPROACH TO BE.  Teachers can not be portrayed as martyrs.  Look how wonderful art thou they are.  They put their work in front of their families (which many times we do, and its because we HAVE to in order to be good at our jobs.  Well, I speak for myself on this one I guess, but I'm sure it applies to others.)  The way our government has and will continue be turning is that ONLY MASTER-TEACHERS will be able to keep education afloat and they will continue, as skilled as they are, to put in more and more hours, and to jump through more and more hoops.  But what about new teachers?  They have no support.  What about mediocre teachers? A mediocre teacher should be able to work this job and do ok.  Its only realistic.  And then, genuinely bad teachers, whatever that definition might be, should be handled on a separate protocol, for sure.

Anyways, I'm rambling, here are some Matt Damon Clips:

Again, I admire him a great deal for what he has chosen to speak out about.  But this...
Superman sent me this the other day.  This is the truth.
A new teacher, or a mediocre teacher, can not possibly live up to these expectations.  We need to change the system.  I mean, I write obviously from the perspective of a band/orchestra teacher, which has its own set of challenges regarding having time to do all the "administrative" things.  But what about, for example, those teachers who have to grade annual "writing summatives".  I honestly don't know what those are and what they entail, but I asked someone, "do you get time in the school day to grade those??"  She replied, yes, we have a little bit of PD time (because we have an awesome team of principals and leadership team), but most of it has to be done outside of school.  WHY WHY WHY are teachers expected EXPECTED (and then belittled when we can't keep up) to do all this administrative stuff outside of the school day.  Concerts are one thing for music teachers.  We receive a stipend for those things, and we SHOULD.  But what about the rest.  There's no time.

Back to the book -
So I want to start with an outline of my "prologue", and then list some topics that I may or may not cover through out the book.  Again, ANYONE who would like to offer feedback or ideas, feel free to comment below or email me privately.  I want this to be good people.  Bestseller.  Or at the very least, a notable book that teachers, politicians, and just plain normal citizens will want to read and make a DIFFERENCE.  (Do you wanna know what I make?  I make a difference, what about YOU!! ~Taylor Mali)

Prologue Outline:
-describe the general list of responsibilities teachers are expected to uphold, and what a typical week/month/year looks like for our to-do tasks, OUTSIDE of teaching time.
-outline my career, how spread out I was at my last job.
-the new challenges of my current job, and the stress accompanying my everyday work load.
-the effect on my family time and amount of HOURS spent on the weekends and evenings doing JUST lesson plans
-the onset of my breast lump discovery and how I avoided making a doctor's appointment for MONTHS, because it "wasn't a good time" to leave work for a day to go see the doctor.
-The official diagnosis.
-how treatment as affected my work schedule and forcing me to let go of a bunch of mundane tasks, and allowing subs to take care of my day for me.
-the suspicion that my lifestyle has (not caused cancer) fed the growth of my cancer.  I know this can't be scientifically proven, but it is a large suspicion.
-and then, when this book is published, hopefully I'll be at the end of the treatment journey, and this will be the uplifting part where I describe my shift on work, life, and health and that I am a better and stronger person because of it.

Other ideas/topics for the chapters:
-a comparison with other countries.  Example:  Finland, Europe in general
-Health care for teachers
-Legislators and drawing their line of expectations and how they are unreasonable
-Matt Damon and his advocating for teachers in a way that makes people "prickly"
-The misconception of summers off
-Substitute teachers and the disrespect they receive everyday (I worked as a sub myself for 4 months)
-Divisions among staff on who has the most work to do.  Grade level teachers, vs SPED teachers, vs Elective teachers, vs various support staff
-Support for new and mediocre teachers.  We can't expect everyone to be a master teacher.  No business would ever survive if EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM had to be 100% awesome all the time.

Those are the only things I have written down at the moment.  I'm open to MORE IDEAS, PEOPLE!

Alright, have a good day.  Off to rest, I go!

*edit - I Facebook messaged this blog post to "Matt Damon's Official" page.  Lets see if he actually gets it and replies!!!!*

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