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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Butterfly Effect

I confess that it's sometimes hard to see the big picture. It's easy to lose sight when things go awry, especially on days when everything seems to go wrong.  So it was on Tuesday, April 13th, near the end of my 6th period class.

It started in an unnamed teacher's room. Because she had left a box of Cheezits half-open over the
weekend, a mommy mouse had discovered the box and had decided it was the perfect place to build a cozy nest for her babies. When the unnamed teacher walked in on Monday morning, you could hear her screams reverberate in every nick and cranny of our two story building.

Within minutes the assistant principal who oversees school safety procedures had procured animal control to capture the potentially disease stricken rodent(s).

Of course, mommy mouse, sensing danger, had found an escape route for herself and her babies, and was now somewhere between a bookcase and unforeseen hole hidden behind a file cabinet along the back wall. Traps were set Monday evening in several rooms in hopes of capturing the family of mice.

Although they "say" the mice had been disposed of, rumors of a school-wide cover-up spread like wildfire that the mice had, indeed, not been captured and there were likely breeding as we spoke. A nervous undercurrent could be felt throughout the campus. Where there was one mouse, there were many, many more. However, the staff was advised to not discuss the "incident" and if the subject arose, we were told to say the mice had been caught.

Which brings me back to my story.

Tuesday, during 6th period Social Skills class, Jason, (not his real name), seized the opportunity to say that he felt certain we were going to all get the Black Plague. It was mean, but not unexpected from a student who had ED (emotional disturbance). Katy, (not her real name), had been identified as a student with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Upon hearing Jason's comments, took him at face-value, and began to freak out. Of course, the more she yelled and told him to shut up the more dramatic he became.

As with any special education teacher, we have to prioritize when pandemonium threatens to break out. Before sending Jason to the office, I had to calm Katy down by assuring her the mouse had been disposed of which made her even more hysterical. (Unbeknownst to me, Katy had become an animal right's advocate over the weekend to the point of turning Vegan).

Katy screamed bloody murder and threw a box of Kleenex across the room. The corner of the Kleenex box hit Sheldon, (not his real name), directly on a scar on the back of his head from brain surgery and now required immediate attention and a call home from the school nurse to document. Sheldon now topped the list of priorities.

While distracting Katy and trying to get Sheldon to the nurse, I kept telling John, (not his real name), he had to wait even though he said he had to go "really bad!"

Coppell ISD Curriculum Writing Team
Seventh period I got a call from Coach Roberts, (not his real name), saying that he needed help ASAP as John had decided to drop his pants while running track to relieve himself on the grass. When asked why on earth he didn't ask the coach to go to the boy's restroom he said, in a matter-of-fact tone, that his dad had told him at a recent camping trip if you have to go and can't hold it, "it's okay to pee outside."
The events of that horrible day, have resulted in an unexpected path which I am certain I wouldn't have taken if it hadn't been for the box of Cheezits and a pregnant mouse.

You see, after that incident, I applied to become a curriculum writer and coach for 8th graders for a pilot program to help middle school students transition to the high school. Since all students involved in the mouse incident were 8th graders, I wanted to be part of a team to help prepare and ensure that my students were ready for much bigger events like understanding social language and how to make new friends.
As a result of working the Summer Academy, I decided to get a masters in educational leadership. As a result of getting a masters, I became an instructional literacy coach. As an instructional literacy coach, I am able to follow my passion of encouraging educators and to help them find innovative ways to integrate literacy into all content areas. It's what I believe. It's what I love.

Check out this link!
The Butterfly Effect  by Andy Andrews
Confession Reflection:
  • Have you ever experienced the Butterfly Effect? How did it shape who you are today?
  • How can we create butterfly flutters in the students and staff we lead? How can we help open doors of opportunity to inspire and help them grow to their potential?
  • Why is it important to live a life of positivity and think beyond ourselves?
  • How can the decisions we make today bring positive changes in the future?

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