So I went back… again….

I posted before that I had visited the Orthopedic doctor for my back.  He spoke to me at length about my symptoms, he decided that we would not try physical therapy again because it did not work previously, and prescribed an MRI.  FINALLY.  I have wanted to get an MRI done for a long time now and hadn’t been able to get a doctor to agree with me that I needed it.

The dark gray disc towards the bottom of my spine is the herniated disc.

So on Monday I went in for my first MRI (which wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be) and got my scans there and then.  Of course that night I looked them over – the amazing radiologist that I am- and froze when I spotted a huge white blob next to my spine.  I was positive that I had a tumor/ cancer.  The following day I was a wreck.  My next Ortho appointment wasn’t until Thursday and it was only Tuesday.  It felt forever away to figure out my actual results… but then a co-worker told me that I could call the radiologist and request copies of my written results within 48 hours of my MRI.  Perfect.  I was scared, but I called and requested them.  I booked it over to the radiologist and picked up my results 30 mins before they closed.

I opened them.

I didn’t have cancer.

Thank you, God.

What it did say though was that I have two herniated and ruptured discs pressing against my spinal cord, affecting my nerves (Stenosis).  Well crap.  I was so happy that I didn’t have what I originally thought, but what is this??

Today was the official appointment with my Ortho doctor.  Basically what he said was that this will never go away.  My options at this point are all to just alleviate the pain and numbness.  Steroids, Cortisone shots, or surgery to remove the part of the disc that is pressing into my spinal cord.

I really do feel lucky and blessed to be spared from the big “C”.  I was so worried and, being the pessimistic person I am,  was POSITIVE that is what I had.  I can still hike, camp, throw, teach, etc- as long as the pain is gone.


So I finally went…

… To the back doctor.  Or Orthopedic doctor.
For those of you who are potters, artists, or teachers you probably know the feeling.  I have really been putting off going, but my back has gotten so bad that it is hard to do every day things.  Like getting dressed… or sleeping.  Or walking.  Or bending over to pick something up. Or…. the list goes on and on.
So, long story short, I have had back problems for quite some time now.  I went to the same doctor months ago and he prescribed physical therapy, but did not diagnose my issues.  So I went, but with no positive results.  Needless to say, I stopped going to PT and kind of forgot about going back to the doctor.  (Secretly I was hoping that this would all go away…
Now fast forward more than a few months and here I am.  Back is worse.  Pinching and numbness.  So what does he think now?  I have a pinched nerve.  Oh what joy.  Curse you, pottery!!  (Not really… I still love you.) So now I am going to get an MRI on Monday to confirm that is the correct diagnosis.
It sounds bad, but I am almost thankful that he figured out what was wrong.  I have been this way for so long that I thought that maybe it was all in my head- I was crazy.
So there will more than likely be an update next week as to what is going on.
WORD TO THE WISE- go to the doctor.  Don’t abuse your body.

Room is ready… but am I?

ImageWell… It is ready (the classroom that is).  Both of my schools are set for the new school year, but in my mind it is kind of a dream.  It feels a bit surreal actually.

I might sound a little bit crazy, but I am really excited about being organized this year.  I made a HUGE data notebook for myself for one of my schools (complete with art progress sheets, behavior management sheets, attendance, seating charts, etc). I also made each student their own notebook for warm ups with the art room rules inside and their reward sheets for daily classes.

Image In an attempt to keep the room clean and the materials organized, each table has their own bin for supplies and pencil box for their colored pencils and #2 pencils.  I also created an “Artist of the Month” wall as well!  My principal at one of my schools had given me this giant frame last year randomly and I had no idea what to do with it…. so it lived in my small storage closet all year.  This year that was not an option for me, so I decided to do something with it!  I am pretty happy with my decision.

ImageNot only did I add an “Artist of the Month” wall…. we also got a Promethean board!!  It was a huge surprise when the music teacher and I saw it this past Monday.  It will be a great tool to use for both art and music.

Although I am excited to be organized, I am nervous that my organization won’t last because of everything that I will be doing this year.  Dan and I are planning our wedding, I will be teaching between two schools every day again this year, and I just found out that I will be presenting at the MAEA conference this year in October! AH!  (Just a little stressed.)


Teaching Preparations… Bring It On!

As summer break comes to an abrupt end and the school year looms closer, I have been making attempts to really organize myself for this year.  After battling my way through my first year of teaching, I have realized that I really need to be much more organized in the beginning of the year, especially considering I am still going between two schools.  I am really focusing on organizing myself for the special needs school right now.

So here is what I have done thus far…

1. I have been making a Data Notebook for myself to keep track of:

– Daily Attendance for each class

– Star Chart for each class (this is their reward system)

– Student Pages (each student gets a section with Level 2/2A Data- discipline for the school, behavior data sheet, art progress

data sheet)

2. I found colored plastic bins in the dollar section in Target and decided that this would be much better for each table rather than using all of my random recycled bins for art supplies.  This way each table will be labeled with a color and the colored bins will correspond to each table.

3. I found .50 cent plastic supply boxes at Target.  I labeled each of these boxes with the table colors as well and each colored bin will have a corresponding supply box with it as well.  When the student work time begins during class, an assigned student will pass out each colored bin the the correct table with the supply boxes inside.

4. Student notebooks.  Last school year I used colored pocket folders for each class for their warm ups.  This year I am avoiding extreme clutter by using student notebooks.  Each wide ruled composition notebook has the art rules in one the very first page with a line for their signature.  One the first day of class, each student will sign on the line agreeing to follow the art rules.  This can be used as reference throughout the year and gives the students ownership for what they choose to do.

On the inside of the front cover I have their reward choices listed.  At the beginning of the class period everyone will complete their warm up inside of their notebook and then choose their reward for the day.  I typically allow reward time for the last 5 mins of class.  If the students follow the art rules and the school rules, then they will be allowed to have their chosen reward.  I chose to pre-list the rewards because last year got a little bit out of hand when every student was doing something different.  By pre-choosing the “art” rewards I will be limiting the amount of chaos at the end of class.

I am really hoping that all of these things will help make the school year go smoother.  The students will also benefit from the schedule of events each day and the repetition.  Organization benefits every student when it comes to learning, especially those students who have special needs.  As I better my teaching tools and my classroom organization, I am bettering their learning.

About Me.

Oh hi.

My name is Allison.

I am an art teacher based in Maryland.

I enjoy art, ceramics, sketchbooking, dancing when no one is around, singing in the car, decorating.. and redecorating, cooking, people-watching, and random music.

I am engaged to the love of my life... I can't wait to be married to him.

I like learning about new things.

I find people to be interesting.

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