So I said I'd post when I knew something more about student teaching. Well, I do and I don't. I got an email Tuesday afternoon from the program coordinator that he had heard from the school I was waiting to hear from the previous afternoon and they couldn't take me. Great turnaround time, huh? Yeah, he's just my favorite person in the world. Anyway, he asked me if Central Bucks School District would work for me, but warned me that it's a long shot, if not he said his only other option would be Philadelphia School District.

I wrote him back that any of the high schools in Central Bucks would work for me and gave him a few schools in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia that I think wouldn't be an excessive commute.

I also had a nice long conversation with my classmates before seminar on Wednesday night. It seems like a lot of other people have had problems with this student teaching coordinator that's given me so much trouble. I told them all about the problems that I've had with him and the college over my time there and some of the things he's said to me that were discriminatory regarding my disability and everyone agreed that if I don't have a placement by Monday (the last day to drop or add a class) I should the university. I've been thinking about suing for a while now. The reasons are many, dating all the way back to 2008 when I did student teaching for the first time. At that time, the advisor at the College of Education advised me that I would be okay graduating without my certification, that I should be able to work for private schools because they don't require teachers to have certification. The truth, which I found out once I started looking for a job, is that since the No Child Left Behind Act was passed, in 2001, no schools are hiring uncertified teachers, private or public, so I couldn't use my degree to teach. Another reason is that they're not continuing the post-baccalaureate certification program after this semester, so if I don't student teach at Temple I'll have to go to Delaware Valley College, which has a similar program, but will cost me another $12,500+. So I should be able to sue for lost wages (maybe several years worth, but at least one), for tuition paid to Temple for this program I won't be able to finish, for the difference in tuition between Temple's and Del Val's post-bacc programs, possibly for disability discrimination, and for additional damages for the wages that I'll lose while going through another program. I don't want to have to do any of that though, I just want a damn placement and to be certified at the end of the semester.


At Last

I went to the doctor yesterday, MRI in hand, and finally got a diagnosis as to what's wrong with my hip. I have osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis of the femoral head. Meaning that the part of my femur that butts up against my pelvis to form my hip is dying due to lack of blood. This is caused by either my long-term steroid use, my lupus, or both. It's frustrating to have another major medical issue to deal with, but at the same time having a diagnosis makes me happy. That may seem odd for those of you who've never had a major illness that wasn't immediately identified, but I'm sure you can understand how frustrating it is to just not know what's going on with your own body.

The treatment options aren't great. It's not like I can take a pill or do some physical therapy and this will go away. It's probably going to require a total hip replacement, which causes a problem for someone as young as me because the lifespan on prosthetic hips is only about 20 to 30 years and I'm planning on making it well past 58. They can do a revision on the surgery and extend it's life by a few more years, but they're not always successful. There are also new kinds of hip replacements including ceramic and metal-on-metal that purport to last longer, but they have not been around long enough to have really been tested and both have problems of their own. There may even be options for me that don't actually require replacement of the hip, but rather an implant of some other kind, or even injecting my own stem cells into the necrotic parts to try to regrow the bone.

I'll know more about what my options really are after I see an orthopaedist at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson Hospital on the 1st of February. I'm also getting a second opinion at Abington Hospital three weeks later, just to be sure about where I want it done and who I want to do it.

Rothman and Abington both have great programs, with rapid recovery that has you up out of bed and walking in the first couple of days. That sounds painful, but also exciting and less like I'll be an invalid for some length of time afterward.

Alright, that's all I wanted to say about that for now. No news on the student teaching front, but I'll let you know when I know and I'll let you know more about the hip surgery once I know more.


Déjà Vu

I really thought I'd set things up so that they'd go smoothly for student teaching this semester.  I had a meeting with the Associate Dean of Teacher Education and my Disability Resources advocate, we worked out what accommodations that they could give me without disrupting the goals of the program and I came out of that meeting feeling like I could be comfortable about how they would move forward to find me a placement.

That was probably mid-to-late October.  When I hadn't heard anything about my placement by mid-December, I emailed the program coordinator.  He told me that they were working on a placement at one of the local high schools, but they hadn't secured anything yet.  That made me nervous, but I figured I'd wait some more and give them a chance to work things out before I went to someone farther up the chain.  After all, what else could I do?  I just hoped that I'd hear something before the first day of student teaching, January 19th.  Alright, I wasn't really going to wait until the 19th, but I did give them until last week.  I tried getting in touch with the Student Teaching Coordinator all week.  After leaving message after message on his voicemail, I called the Associate Dean last Thursday (who actually answered the phone after two rings).  He admitted that they weren't having much success finding me a placement, but assured me that they were going to continue working on getting me a placement that worked.  He also assured me that if I didn't get placed by the 19th it wasn't going to be held against me.

I have Graduate Student Teaching Orientation and then my first Student Teaching Seminar on Wednesday afternoon/evening and then on Thursday...well probably nothing.  But I'm all ready to go!  I've got lots professional looking new clothes, I've got a nice new bag to carry all of my lesson plans, notebooks, and supplies. Unfortunately, not knowing what grade and subject I'll be teaching, what book I'll be using, I feel unprepared when it comes to the subject matter.  When they're training you to be a history teacher, all of the classes are very specialized, like The History of the American Presidency, Colonial America, The Modern Middle East, Race in America, American Military Culture, Dissent in America, you get the picture - SPECIALIZED.  When you get a job, part of that job is to become an expert in the subjects that your teaching.  The first time you teach a course, you're learning almost as much as the students are, especially when it comes to the specifics and the organization of the materials.  So once again, I'm nervous as hell, I hate not having prep time before I get into the classroom.  I'd like to have the textbook, had time to design some powerpoint slides, get acquainted with the material and my cooperating teacher well before I got into the classroom.  As things stand now, I'm going to be working my ass off that first week just trying to get ahead of the materials so that I can plan ahead.

On the positive side of things, our Christmas went well.  The custody swap went beautifully.  We had the little man on Christmas Eve, which we spent having a "Christmas Morning" here and then  going to my mom's for dinner.  Christmas LM went to his mom's house and then BF and I went to my dad's in-laws for the day.  We also had another get together on the 26th at my dad's with the Earnest family.  It was great to see my cousins, who I rarely see, and really just to see that whole side of my family.  It was a long day, but a really nice time.  And then for New Year's Eve, we went to my cousin and her family's house for a nice little get together, which ended promptly at midnight when we figured out that we are too old for New Year's Eve to be the all-night party it once was.

My hips are still doing pretty terribly, but I had an MRI about a month ago and I have an appointment with my rheumatologist to get it read on the 23rd of this month.  I'm hoping that she'll agree to do a hip replacement surgery to just end the pain in my hips and all of the other trouble that my hips are causing; my ankle is a wreck, my leg is always turned out to the side, my knees ache, and now my lower back is acting up as well.  Not that I would be able to have a hip replacement until after student teaching, but if all went well I would be laid up for the summer, but I could be ready to teach by the fall, or at the latest the spring semester of next year.

Alright, I suppose that's it for now.  Not really all that much going on without school going, but things should be speeding up pretty soon.  Not too much I hope!