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Clematis

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About Clematis

  • Rank
    Laura

Profile Information

  • Your gender
    Female
  • Location (city, state)
    Sedona, AZ
  • Interests
    Lena (my therapy cat), Playing music (cello, ukulele, classical guitar, etc.), Watercolors, Ceramics, Flowers-growing and painting them

Previous Fields

  • Your relationship to the individual who died
    Daughter
  • Date of Death
    01/13/2016
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Hospice Compassus Sedona, AZ

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  1. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I think you're right. It makes sense that a principal would figure that the SpEd director should be an expert on the law and if there was a difference of opinion between him and a school psychologist, one might figure that he was right and go with that rather than believing the school psychologist who is leaving anyway. It may have been unnerving for her to run into this situation where she sided with him in trying to make me do something that is redundant (and therefore unnecessary) as well as do it by an illegal path. I am unable to do this thing for them given my load, but given the redundancy and legal questions, she chose the wrong person to side with. Sorry - that is not my fault. But she almost had her position eliminated and is probably feeling rather shaky...
  2. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    It has been just horrible. It seems like much of the staff has their sights set on my head and I am found to be the blame for everything imaginable. There is so much incompetence, and everyone is also very stressed by the end of the year, an upcoming strike and the unknown of the near future schedule - or lack thereof, and everything else that has gone wrong. I went to a meeting this afternoon at the elementary school and the principal I wrote about earlier just glared at me. On top of it there were other problems. The Gen Ed teacher was disgruntled because she hadn't been properly notified, the OT hadn't gotten the message at all about the meeting and we were barely able to get her there at the last meeting, and the SpEd teacher/service coordinator Edna was particularly upset that she hadn't been notified properly about the meeting. I just kept apologizing that everyone didn't have more notice. After I went home it occurred to me that Edna is the SERVICE COORDINATOR and she was really the person who was supposed to be coordinating all of this, making sure that the related service providers were notified, and working closely with the Gen Ed teacher and myself. But Edna has taken to doing less and less, while I have helped her and covered for her. And whose fault is it that she did absolutely nothing on this one? Well, it is my fault, naturally. And everyone is so used to Edna doing nothing they don't look to her but to me. When I thought about it, I realized that I have totally forgotten what it is like to work with a real special ed teacher who really knows what they are doing to the degree that they could work effectively in a team with a school psychologist. Then, after that meeting I went to a meeting at the middle school and the people were so nice to me I was dumbfounded. The principal was very sweet, the SpEd teacher was helpful, people participated with enthusiasm, no one was glaring or withholding or playing stupid games or anything else. There were some rough spots, but everyone worked together to get things done. It makes such a difference to go to a meeting where people are working together for the common goal of helping the student - rather than working together to trick/trap the school psychologist. After the meeting two of the participants made a point of saying what a nice job I did at the meeting - and at the meeting before that as well. It was amazing!
  3. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Thanks! I have SO much real work to do - evaluating kids who really need the evaluations. I need to focus on them and not let Michael drive me crazy or distract me in his effort to win this battle - to force me to do something impossible and inappropriate. I have already evaluated this girl and redoing the evaluation in an inappropriate way that the team rejected in the first place is counterproductive. He is using the ignorance of the principal to get her to align with him. The whole situation makes me feel like my head is going to explode and it is very distracting. I am trying to get as much real work done as possible before I leave and don't want to be thrown off of that. It feels like he is trying to force me to my knees and submit to his will and it has nothing to do with helping the kids. I am trying to keep my head down and avoid him, but I feel like there is a huge psychic force being leveled at me from him and it's hard to ignore.
  4. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    My coworker's reaction to all this...I almost fell out of my chair laughing!
  5. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    It's been pretty stressful at work lately, and to complicate things further, the teachers are about to strike in AZ and the schools are closing for at least one day. I have TONS of work to do and I have this other rats nest that makes me feel like my head is going to explode. At one of my schools there is a student who has one of the most horrible abuse histories I have ever heard of and understandably she has severe behavior problems at school. We met at the end of January to get permission to assess her and the principal wanted to do an FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment), which is a clunky awkward process to figure out why a student is "acting up" in the classroom. I proposed that we do IQ and academic testing because ti sounded like she probably had such an extreme variance in her abilities that she was even more anxious (this is common in gifted people with severe deficits (I was right). I also suggested that since we already knew why she was acting up in class, that we do a clinical assessment, mostly by interview, whereby I would talk to her foster mother, therapist, teacher, etc. to see what I could discover. Her DCS worker (and legal guardian with the state) agreed with me, stating that an FBA was really meant for severe autism, conduct disorder, etc., and was really inappropriate for this girl. When we had the second meeting - to talk about the results- someone canceled the meeting, but no one would tell me by whom or why. It took me weeks to figure it out and get the meeting with all its participants re-set. But the principal isn't happy. Apparently, no one was paying attention at the first meeting, when the team decision was to NOT do the FBA. She insists we have to do it anyway, and even though she was the one leading the "monkey in the middle" or keep-away game a month ago when the meeting was supposed to occur, she is angry with me because this is nor her biggest priority (and she messed it up). So she goes to the SpEd director Michael, the guy who worked so hard to separate me from my job, and he tells her that I absolutely WILL do the FBA, even though I told both of them there was no time and I could not do it. His latest is to respond to her that an FBA is part of the social/emotional assessment that we got permission for and therefore I had to do it. I called the SpEd dept at the Department of Education and they told me that I was right and they are wrong. We have to get a separate consent signed for an FBA, which starts a new evaluation process, for which there is not enough time before the end of the school year. And I am way too busy anyway to take this on. So Michael is determined determined to force me to do this FBA, which is redundant (we already have the information we would get), inappropriate, impossible, and illegal. And he keeps assuring the principal that I am going to do it, while I keep telling both of them that I am not. And this poor girl and her foster mother are caught in the middle all this. It really blows me away. The principal told me over and over that FOUR people at the meeting thought we got permission, while it was only me that was saying that we didn't get consent. Me and my little piece of signed paperwork. Four people...don't they teach critical thinking to teachers? How many people were there who thought the world was flat or that no one would ever fly in an airplane. (More than four).
  6. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I think you are right. Part of the reason this has been so traumatic is that I went through the same thing in another district; the SpEd director, STG, did the same thing to me. I think I have PTSD from it, but also more awareness that this can happen. I had no real allies there either, thought people were my friends who turned out to be making up stuff and reporting it to STG, and so on. STG had a real affinity for the underdog, the disabled, the incompetent, etc. She also liked men. She had no problem with me when I started. I was fresh out of school and floundering, as I was the only school psych and had no one to help or advise me. I figured it out and by February of that year was all caught up and on top of things. Within a week of when I had caught up, she started actively bullying me. STG had a pattern of hiring competent women from out-of-town, and then trying to dismantle them. She would try to bully them into quitting them mid-year and if they didn't leave she would work at rearranging positions and reshuffling the work so that this person's job was eliminated. She spent two years trying to bully me into quitting and then tried to eliminate the position for two years. The first year the board told her that everyone knows it costs more and not less to contract professional services like the school psychologist's work. The second year, the board had changed and they didn't know what they were doing and so they opted for contracting the work. It was a four-year nightmare for me. But not long after I left, someone figured out how to get rid of her and since then she has bounced around all over the place. She never gets in more than one year anywhere. Then, this current year, she ended up as a SpEd teacher in the same district where I have worked. Not only did she butt heads with the SpEd director here (no surprise - they are both extreme narcissists), but she apparently had a year from hell. A school that had been a delightful little school with no big problems had five high-needs really difficult kids transfer into that school and she had a room with all five of them. I know another teacher had a really bad year because she had three of these difficult kids in her mix, and STG had FIVE of them. It was clear a long time ago that they were going to get rid of her...and she had had fantasies that she would manage to be promoted to be the SpEd director here. Anyway, I believe you are right, and I have believed that for a long time... that Karma takes care of things and I don't need to get mixed up in it. I think I will be ok. Truthfully, I really only need to get through a few years and I will be good. When I lost my position in 2009, I was terrified because I was a LONG way from retirement and had no idea how to get contract work and had no contacts. Now I have contacts and an idea how to get work. In 2009, my dad helped me enormously, at sometimes carrying me entirely, as I struggled to find any work I could, tried nursing school, taught ukulele lessons, did medical social work for a home health care agency, and so on. My dad promised to not let me drown and he was true to his word. By the time the economy had recovered a bit and I had found work again, I had LOTS of more skills and a much stronger bond with my dad, which continued to the end of his life and beyond. I had to learn to trust and depend on him, and a gradual change happened where he had to trust and depend on me. I miss him every day even though I feel him with me... I think that's wise. Last night I was wishing I had someone to advise me, but I think I figured out the right thing in the end. Leaving the trail as clean as possible - I like that and think you're right. The Twilight Zone... that sounds familiar. When I was working for STG and after I was forcibly separated from my job there, I was angry and bitter and I talked about it ALL the time. Eventually I realized that any one I knew fell into one of three groups: they were still working with/for her and were afraid to get involved, they had escaped working for her and didn't want to get pulled back into the negativity by hearing about it from me, or most frequently they had no idea who she was and the things she did and said sounded SO crazy it made me sound crazy to even talk about it.
  7. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    When I was given the results of my evaluation and the news that the district would not be renewing my contract, they told me that I could respond to it in writing and that would be filed with the evaluation. I have pondered this over the last nine days, but couldn't figure out if it was worse to say nothing or to protest. I finally decided to say nothing. If anyone ever read it and actually looked at it carefully along with my resume, it makes no sense. And also, I did in the end resign. I guess that's ok like it is. When I finally started to write, anything I wrote looked kind of crazy. Somehow defending oneself against crazy illogical stuff makes a person look crazy, it seems, and there is no way to say anything without it being excessively lengthy as well as seeming whiny and defensive. So I decided to not write anything. I think it would somehow make me look worse. Nevertheless I feel angry about the injustice and kind of feel embarrassed and humiliated at being separated from my job. But I didn't do anything wrong. I guess I shouldn't really say anything to people at work either...just say that I resigned and am going back to doing contract work. I told a few people this today and of course no one questioned this at all. Who would stay there in a job like that when they could make more money in less time with far less aggravation doing contract work? I still feel badly about it all, but there really isn't a single person who feels badly for me about it. Other than myself. And that will probably change once I find something else. Or a few of them... I called the guy I worked with before - I did contract work for him for five years before taking this job the last year; he was delighted to hear from me and said he was fairly sure some things would be opening up this next year. Nice to hear he was happy about the prospect of getting me back. Also, I have a phone interview with a company that does evaluations and therapy over the internet. That might be good - it sounds interesting, anyway. I could be a stay-at-home cat mom. Just stay right here and work at home over the computer, while Lena lounges in the chair next to me. Or maybe do that part time and work for the guy I did before part time - like one or two days a week...
  8. Clematis

    Heartbroke beyond words

    Awww- How adorable! I love the kitten picture with the tiny paws steadying the bottle and hand. My cat Lena does that when I’m holding a treat for and it always touches my heart to have her little paws reach out to my hand. That is such a young age to lose a pet. It’s terrible at any point, but that is really sad. I feel for you. When you lose a pet or any loved one after many years you lose your friend of all those years...and the longer you’ve been together the deeper the relationship is. But when you lose someone after so few years, you lose the potential of all of what might have been and that is really hard.
  9. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    I have been thinking about this. A Special Ed director is in a unique position in education. Most of the school system seems like a goldfish bowl, but most people aren't very interested in what we do or how we do it. They just want those struggling kids out of their rooms as much as possible. No one is really looking and even if they are, they don't really understand what they are looking at. One needs to have a certain amount of information to understand what is going on. Therefore, the SpEd director has a tremendous amount of power to do whatever they want with no repercussions because no one is aware of it. I may even try to meet with him after the school year is over. Or maybe I will run into him and can have a word with him. I just want to make sure that I meet with him alone.
  10. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Definitely a help; I felt relieved when I was told they were not renewing my contract. I felt badly that the superintendent, who was the one who was pulled in to tell me this news, is a good-hearted guy that I have always good feelings towards and from. I'm sure he has no idea what has gone on and what the situation is; he is merely supporting his administrator in an administrative decision; he wasn't part of the process and he is unfamiliar with the details. I feel badly about that. It's hard to go in to work - I feel really uninspired. Other than that, the future is a little uncertain but I fail optimistic about things. I'm finding my way through things, including this workman's comp puzzle. Thanks for your support, all of you. It really means a lot and has been very helpful.
  11. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Yeah...I seem to suddenly have a suboptimal attitude towards work... I wish I could stay home and enjoy Lena and the flowers.
  12. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Anyone know anything about Workman's comp? I went to the ER and they said to follow up with a doctor in Phoenix who has the same last name as my local doctor but a different first name. They said that was a mistake, but that is what my ER discharge papers say. I got a big packet of paperwork from the workman's comp adjuster and asked her about how to follow up on the ER visit and she said that the only approved places in town are the ER and Urgent Care. I asked her if I can go to my own doctor and she said only if he will bill workman's comp. I called and asked the person who does billing if they will do that and she said probably not or some fuzzy negative like that. I am still having neck pain and stiffness from this injury - from the kid hitting me in the head. When I look down - like at something at a table of a desk, I get a headache that doesn't go away with Ibuprofen as most all of my headaches have always done. I think this has triggered the head/neck injury from the car accident 22 months ago. I can't figure out what to do. The adjuster told me that if I do nothing within a 30 day period, the case will be closed and so I have about ten days to figure this out and go somewhere of I will have to deal with it on my own. Should I go back to the E.R. and get them to straighten out the paperwork? They are about1/2 mile from my office. Should I email my doctor and make sure what I was told was correct? Just go see him? Call the adjuster back and question her some more? Make an appointment with my chiropractor? I'm sure they will bill workman's comp... Should I do all of these things?
  13. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    May 25
  14. Clematis

    My father's ashes

    Thank you, Kay, for your wise and thoughtful comments. Looking back, it seems clear that my supervisor was never too keen on me from the beginning. He did hire me, but he didn't have a lot of choice. There was only one other applicant and the other person wanted a lot more money than the district would pay. I actually think he might be more comfortable with someone who was fresh out of school than a seasoned professional. I think he found me intimidating. I don't take things at face value, and can recognize half-truths, illogical conclusions, and things that aren't thought out rather easily. This would include most of what he says and writes. I was polite and respectful, but never obsequious, which seems to be what he wants and needs. Nevertheless, he is not really my concern or my problem at this point. I need to figure out what to do about my evaluation. I can leave it as it is, or write a response to it. I don't want to write anything to extensive or too extreme, but I feel uncomfortable about leaving it stand alone. I would like to optimize my likelihood of doing any contract work that is possible with this district - being paid per evaluation (independent contractor via 1099) in the future. I am thinking that if I write something that simply straightens out a few things without protesting too much, it would good. He won't be there much longer and they are likely to need contract work done in the future. They may not be able to fill my position and all of that work would be contract work. In the future, if there is a new special ed director, if they went to look at my file to see why I left, I would like to make a few points from my perspective as to what happened. I did high quality evaluations and my writing was excellent, but I was boxed into a double bind of either being seen as insubordinate or following directives to not adequately communicate with parents, even though following his direct orders was against my clinical judgement. I was criticized harshly in my evaluation for doing what I was told. Meanwhile, I woke up this morning and ran some calculations about what I have been making as compared to what I could be making - and was making before - as an independent contractor. If I worked two days per week at the kind of work I did before, I would make about exactly as much as my current take home plus the value of my insurance. Three days of work per week would bring me one-and-a-half of my current income. That would be good. There is also a company that does online evaluations and therapy. I could work online and not even have to drive anywhere. I saw a mug that said, "I just want to be a stay at home cat mom". Perhaps this is my future...
  15. Clematis

    It's been a year

    My mother died 11 years before my dad, and I coaxed him into moving from PA to AZ to be with me. We had ten good years together - just me and him and my cat Lena - and I was devastated when he died. I remember a really vivid dream a few months after he died...in the dream he was alive and suddenly came home from the hospital, demanding to know why I was getting rid of his stuff and what was he going to do without this and that. It was really unsettling, but it was just a dream and the way I was processing his death and handling of his affairs. I was afraid that he would die within a year of her death, as many older men do after their wife of many years dies. I spent a ton of time talking on the phone with him before he moved and then spent most of my time off work with him once he was in AZ and living in a condo less than two minutes from mine. I was really trying to keep him alive. I remember thinking for awhile that he might find another woman to be with and people used to tell me that my dad really should find a new partner as if I was supposed to facilitate that. But eventually he told me that he really had no interest in anyone else after my mother, and that relationships are more work than he was willing to devote. So we just settled into being there for each other. We became very close from spending so much time together, and that made the time sweeter but the loss deeper. I also was very isolated after his death. I had spent all of my time with him and hence had really no friends that lived near me. I have built some relationships since his death, and that is good.
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