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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Teaching with Fibromyalgia

I have mixed feelings about writing this post.  Part of me wants to hide behind "everything is fine."

Teaching is not an easy job but it is an extremely rewarding job.  I love teaching but last year was a rough year.  I've had some health issues.  The best thing that happened to me was becoming a mommy. It was rough returning to work leaving my beautiful baby to teach other sweet babies.  It has changed my perspective dramatically.  I knew i would be more tired this year.  With the new baby, there was less sleep and more activity.  I was especially drained because I had shooting pains in my abdomen.  My doctor said it was an umbilical hernia from the pregnancy and to wait a few months.  The pain will lessen.

It did not and it was so excruciating, I had to go to the ER after school one day.  Tests were taken and I needed to have surgery.  With this surgery, I could not lift my daughter for a whole month.  I missed about a week of school in September I believe...

This should have fixed the problem BUT I still had pain.  My doctors said I should lose some weight and that the pain should improve.  It was in my back, abdomen, and hip.  One day I was fine, the next I couldn't walk.  If I did any activity at all, I would suffer the next few days.  I was running on empty at school and at home.  Everyone thought I was tired because of the new baby but it was more than that.  Anyone who has had chronic pain understands how draining it is.

I went on a diet and lost 37 pounds and I still had hip problems, back problems, abdominal pain, and my knees and ankles hurt.  I went back to the doctor.  More tests...nothing.  More tests, more waiting...nothing.  

In the meantime, I gave the children my all.  I pushed forward because this had to be temporary.  

In May my rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.  After a year of chronic pain, I was excited to be diagnosed.  It explained why I was having more difficulty concentrating (Fibro Fog).  It wasn't the sleep deprivation.  I knew it wasn't because I've had many periods in my life when I was sleep deprived and I could still concentrate.  I've worked two jobs or taught and went to school for the majority of my career.  It's only been the past few years that I have just taught.  Having the diagnosis meant that I would live.  It's not life threatening.  More importantly, I wasn't crazy.  There really is a problem.  It wasn't all in my head.

June- Reality hits...

Fibromyalgia doesn't go away.  

The pain doesn't go away.  

I have to learn to live with it.  

In my case activity aggravates it.  Then end of school caused me to be in major pain where I could barely move.  

It's debilitating. 

My doctor put me on a medicine when I was diagnosed and I was hopeful.  I felt better the first week.  Then the pain retuned.  I talked to my doctor and he said I had to wait six weeks for the medicine to work.  It's been almost six weeks and I have still been in pain.  That's why I haven't posted as much as I would like.  My doctor prescribed a second medicine and it's only been two days but I am hopeful.  

If it doesn't work I pray for the strength to give my all to the children and my daughter.   I have to be more conscious about the physical aspects of my job and ask for help from time to time (very hard for me to do).  I have to keep pushing forward.  

If you know any teachers with this, I would love hear their story.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Using Apps in the Classroom

I went to a workshop last week where I learned more about using apps in the classroom.  The presenters have a website  It has useful resources.

I really liked the app Haiku Deck for creating presentations.  It would be great for back to school night.  You can take pictures of the classroom and the kids, write cute captions and display it for the families.  This app is also great for the kids to use to create a presentation or report.  I was thinking that it would be perfect for science experiments.

They also went over using QR codes in the classroom.  There are many ways that they can be used but I like the idea of using it as a "what to do when you finish your work" activity.  I would like to make 4-5 QR code sheets, one for each reading group.  I wand to make QR codes for apps that would benefit the kids in each group.  It would allow me to differentiate to meet the children's needs.  I could even do this for math.  I'm sure the kids will enjoy scanning the codes.  I only have one Ipad so I have to think of an appropriate management system before implementing...

I went to to make this QR code for this Groovy Educator website.