Para last year; SPED teacher this year. Issues with new para

Discussion in 'Paraprofessionals' started by imissjerryg, Sep 10, 2014.

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  1. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 10, 2014

    :eek:
    Hi all! I posted a few times last year about having issues with my teacher when I was a para in a self-contained high school special education class. However, now, since the teacher was not asked back by the principal, I am the teacher of this class! Yay! However, I was not expecting to have para issues this early in the year. ​


    One of my paras (I have two but one doesn't start until next week) is a young woman who has never worked in a special ed room. I believe she was hired as a bilingual special education paraprofessional. I did not get to sit in on the hiring because my own hiring was on the fly and they had to just get bodies in the room. So, this para was hired and she was in my classroom on the first day of school. The first week was okay. We went over routines, schedules, expectations, and expected behaviors. I made sure to drill the kids constantly to establish consistency as well as maintain a schedule and uphold the rules we came up with as a class. There have been a few hang-ups but nothing too crazy.​


    Fast forward to this week. The para is contracted from 7:15 to 3:15 with an hour break. She uses her hour break as a lunch which is totally fine for now. She is to get our visually impaired student off of the bus at 7:25 and get him into the lunchroom to eat breakfast before class starts at 7:45. All was going fine until a couple of days ago. She texted me one day at 7:28 saying she was going to be late because of traffic. Now this is 13 minutes after she is scheduled to be at the school and three minutes after she is supposed to pick up our student off of the bus. Not to mention, I didn't get the text until around 7:35 when I was done responding to emails and checking on the kids in the lunchroom. Not okay... She should have texted at least ten minutes before she was going to be late so I knew she wouldn't be able to get the student off of the bus. She ends up coming in the cafeteria with the student and doesn't say a word about the text or being late (I guess she thought maybe I didn't get the text and wouldn't have realized how late she was?) So, I was a little annoyed but thought oh well, traffic is a problem sometimes.. until the next day when I get the same text at around the same time. Now this is two days in a row she is more than ten minutes late and missed pickup for my students on the bus.​


    This day was especially crazy because I had tons of behaviors due to lack of consistency when the paras were working with small groups. I had a behavior issue I had to deal with with the dean so we stepped outside of the room (with the door open) to deal with this student who was in trouble. When I go back into the room after a few minutes of talking with the dean and the student, mass chaos has ensued. Kids are running around, not sitting in their seats, talking, etc... All of our class expectations were not being upheld in the slightest. It took about ten minutes to get the class back under control. The para was sitting in the back the entire time just letting this happen. I also had a sub helping me that day since my other para is not starting until Monday. He was actually asleep... eyes closed, dozing off (his SECOND day in my classroom). Right next to him was one of my students with autism and he had a sharpie and was drawing all over my visually impaired student's braille cards. Ridiculous! I sternly got the class back under control after about ten minutes and we went on with our lesson. At the end of the day, I was really annoyed about what had happened but instead of confronting the sub and para, I just told them that we would reestablish expectations to make sure everyone is on track.​


    During this time, we were waiting for the bus to come with our students. One of my students with Downs likes to point at women's stomachs and say "baby!" This is something I worked on extinguishing last year. I told him "Student, say something other than baby like smile!" and pointed at my smile. He smiled at me and said smile. Soon after this, one of my problem behavior students did the same thing the other student had just done that I do not like. He pointed at my stomach and said "baby!" Now since he is functioning at a higher cognitive level, I said "Student, we don't say that; it's not nice and could hurt someone's feelings!" They both were laughing but stopped after I reprimanded him. Then, after telling them why it was inappropriate, my para points at one of the students' stomachs and says "baby!" I couldn't believe it! I had just told them both not to do that and she does it right afterwards! One of my students actually said "Why does she get to do it and not us?!" I couldn't say anything right in front of her because I didn't want to correct her since she is an adult with authority in the classroom. She left soon after that since it was 3:15.​


    Now today, I had a meeting with my student teaching supervisor after she observed a lesson I did. The students are very ancy in the afternoon so I gave them a "brain break" to go run on the field for 15-30 minutes. I asked the sub and the para to take them outside for this. I told them to please bring the kids back in at 2:00. Then, halfway through my meeting, at 1:45, one of the kids runs back in. I'm slightly annoyed because I have had them interrupt planning time as well due to the para or sub letting them come back early. I asked the student if the others were coming in and he said yes. So, I tell him to quietly sit at his desk and told him if he wanted to he could go to the bathroom and get a drink of water. 15 minutes later, the para, sub, and other kids come in. I asked the para how come the one student came back so early and she said "oh, well he ran away from me. I tried to catch him but I couldn't." WHAT?! I have a student now with a significant cognitive delay running away and no one calls my cell phone or gets security/administration involved?! And this wasn't the first time it happened! He also did it at lunch today and when I realized he was gone, it was 5-10 minutes after the kids had come back in. I asked "where is student?" and the para says "Oh yeah. He ran away from lunch. I'm not sure where he is." ​


    Did these paras not get a job description? I just figured it was fairly obvious that you can't let kids just run away, especially those with cognitive delays and iqs of less than 60. The more I work with this para, the more I realize she really has no clue how to work with my students. I don't have time to train her on obvious things such as "if students run from you, contact the teacher or a principal" This stuff is a given and I feel that special ed paras should have this basic background knowledge before being hired. How do I turn this around? It's early in the year so I'm sure I can fix it but this is just crazy. Also she was, instead of letting our visually impaired kid hold her arm or shoulder when walking through the hallway, pushing him in front of her. The vision teacher actually told me this and said the para was sort of rude to her when she tried to correct her with some positive feedback. What exactly should I do? I can't have someone so inexperienced with my kids if I don't trust them at all. Help!​
     
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  3. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    You're going to have to make the time to train her.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Agreed. You need to make the time because student safety is a major concern.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Traffic is unpredictable. She might not have known 10 minutes before she was supposed to be there she was going to be late.

    I agree you will have to make time to train them. A successful classroom with both paras and teachers needs to be a team. You need to model your expectations again with the students as well. Maybe you need to accompany the class when they leave so you can understand the situations where your student is leaving and role play with him/ her why they can' just leave.
     
  6. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Wasn't one of your issues as a para last year that you felt your teacher wasn't understanding when you needed to come late/leave early?
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You're in an amazing place to help train her because you WERE her last year. What you might want to do is write a mini-IEP for each student that lists what her job is with each student. That might make it much clearer for both of you.
     
  8. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Have you provided training or gone over your expectations? If not, you need to. Don't assume that anyone knows anything. Especially if this person is new, they need to be trained on what to do. You can start out by having a meeting about safety, and really, your expectations for the team overall. Provide meeting minutes and an agenda that you can give to administration to show that the concerning issues were discussed. Also, make sure your paras get a walkie talkie since you have a student who is eloping. :2cents:
     
  9. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    How do I train them though? Outside of contracted hours? Or during the day? We don't have allotted time for meeting set aside. Also, what exactly should I use to train them? I'm brand new at this and I don't have many resources such as training programs or ideas.
    And HistoryVA, I always let my teacher know at least 15 minutes before I was scheduled that I would be late. Also, it never happened two days in a row my second week of working. I let her know that I would be a few minutes late, the few times out of the year that I was, so that she could prepare and get the students off of the bus. When I find out three minutes after the students get off the bus that my para will be late, how am I supposed to plan for that since, ya know, it's in the past at that point? And thanks so much for your advice. ::eyeroll::
    To everyone else who actually gave advice, thank you.
     
  10. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I feel your reply to HistoryVA was uncalled for. You're asking for advice and getting it. It sounds like tardiness is an issue at your school. At mine, we all get there on time.

    The student eloping: get walkie talkies for staff. They should have them on the playground anyway for safety.

    Training: work it out. Do you have no time when the kids can be covered by one staff member while you talk with the other in the corner of the room? Get creative and stop blaming everyone else.
     
  11. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I DO like the idea of getting another para or even the principal to cover your class for a half hour while you have a planning meeting. Even if it's just once a quarter, you need and deserve that time with your para. Talk with your admin about accommodating that time request.
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I know that the part I quoted isn't the main part of your issue, but can you clarify this? I'm confused, mostly about the "for now" part.

    I agree that you're going to have to make the time to train her and anyone else you have in your room (subs, other paras). Ask admin for coverage so that you can train your para. You're going to have to go over what you want your para to do, and very specifically. I recommend typing up a very well-defined daily schedule. You should also explain exactly what you expect the para to do when working with small groups, how she should respond to particular student behaviors, and the protocol for handling certain emergencies (like eloping students).

    I do find it curious that what upsets you a lot right now is a para who is tardy, when you yourself had similar issues with tardiness last year. Can you see how the teacher you worked with last year might have been upset about your tardiness and the fact that you left him/her high and dry at times?​

     
  13. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Hm, sounds like your school expects you to do certain duties whenever you have the time. I wonder when you are ever going to get time to do paperwork and such?

    I find it amusingly ironic that you spent a fair amount of time last year:

    A) complaining about the teacher and how she had to do paperwork and other administrative duties during the school day,

    B) were not interested in listening to or taking advice,

    C) then went on to take the same job with the same seemingly unsupportive school, and are now

    D) complaining about a para that is pulling the same "unavoidable" tricks you yourself did last year, AND

    E) are finding yourself in the same unfavorable position as said teacher from last year.

    That karma. She is a witch sometimes.
     
  14. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree with others that have said you are going to have to find time to train this aide and probably the one starting Monday. I'm sure they can stay after school one day to get the training started. I like the idea of typing up a schedule and a list of what that para is supposed to be doing during that time and writing a mini IEP for your paras to let them know what each student needs to be working on. Good luck.
     
  15. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Gonna be a little blunt here:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The trick will be in making it a YOU SOLUTION. I think you can do this.
     
  17. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Nowhere did I blame anybody. And VAHistory's comment was not advice at all but an underhanding snarky comment. I was asking for advice on how to deal with an unknowledgeable paraprofessional; not asking for comments regarding posts I made five months ago that have nothing at all to do with this post. And yes, I can have one staff member watch the students in the room and talk to the other; however, I am asking what exactly it is I should be doing. I figured someone hired as a special education para would have some knowledge of special education.
     
  18. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I was literally tardy about three times the entire year and I left texts about 15 minutes before I was going to be tardy. There is a reason this teacher did not get her job back; she applied and I got the job over her. I have had many people this year say they are glad she is gone because she literally did nothing. All of the meetings she scheduled were with the same district coordinator I have met with this year and even he was annoyed. They met about twice a week and he was providing her with resources she asked for but never, ever used. Also, my situation is literally nothing like last year. I don't expect my paras to watch the entire class during core periods. I also do not expect them to lesson plan. I have provided them instructions each period on what we are doing and how to do it. Last year, the paras were left with absolutely nothing. Also, the teacher frequently complained about the lack of resources she had. I just cleaned out a closet FULL of resources that would have been amazing last year. I am using them this year in my class. My main problem here is not the tardiness. I understand people get stuck in traffic but a text three minutes after the student is supposed to get off the bus is unacceptable. Also, I texted my entire team last year, both paras and the teacher, at least 15 minutes before my contracted time letting them know I would be a little late. It was never an issue with the other paras who gladly picked the students up off of the bus. However, how am I supposed to arrange to get the student off of the bus when I find out someone is going to be late three minutes after said student is supposed to be picked up?Please, let me know if you are aware of some sort of time telling device because it seems like that is what I am supposed to utilize judging by your comments.

    And the hour lunch is fine for now because I gave my para options for her hour break. I told her she could use an hour at lunch, take a 45 minute lunch and a 15 minute break, or take a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks once our other para arrives. She said she may want to choose one of those other options. There is no hidden agenda in that comment, sorry. Looks like you were really digging for one though.

    I have already typed up a well-defined schedule as of yesterday. I'm not sure how much info is too much though. So far it is 8 pages of bullet points with time slot headings explaining what should be done for every student during the time slots. I am only at 3rd period though. Is this too much information and too detailed?

    The question I am asking is how am I supposed to train a completely new to special ed SPED para? Should I go over SPED laws and regulations? Or should I just give job duties?
     
  19. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Nice advice... Please refrain from commenting if you are not going to address the question. No need to be rude and useless in this thread.
     
  20. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I am not in the same position as the teacher from last year. I will never ask my paras to perform illegal duties or watch the class for the entire school day. Also, the teacher from last year also applied for her position again so there is a huge difference; I got the job... So, shows you I was not the only person with a problem with this teacher. No one liked her and everyone thought she was lazy and useless. These are other peoples' words too; not mine.
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I wasn't digging for anything. I just found it curious and confusing that you mentioned the lunch when it seems to be a complete non-issue, which makes me think that it is actually an issue.
     
  22. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    [​IMG]
     
  23. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    ^^^Your "advice" is pretty terrible, dude.

    Yeah, I have my phone on me but I kept forgetting to turn the ringer on. The problem wasn't that I got the message late but that it was sent three minutes after the bus gets there. I'll just let her know to please text me by 7:20 ish if there's traffic so I can get the kids off of the bus. I don't mind that at all; I understand people are late. I just have to know beforehand to make arrangements. Everyone is kinda twisting my words around here. I'm not UPSET that she was late; that is NOT the point. It's that my kids were sitting on the buses for a few minutes after arriving and the bus drivers get pretty ticked off if that happens.
     
  24. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Nope not an issue at all actually. It was a little tight the first week with one para but should be fine starting Monday when our other para starts. You're looking just a LITTLE too deep into my post. Seems like everyone here just wants to pick out little, unimportant details or mention past posts with rude memes instead of actually giving advice...

    This site is sort of full of people who just want to pick comments apart and look for dirt on the posters.

    I really just wanted advice on how to train my paras and what exactly I should do. I didn't want everyone to go back and look for dirt on me and post rude memes or rude comments that offer no advice at all. It's fine if you have some issue with my post but if you do and don't have any advice to offer on the original reason I posted, move on and don't reply.
     
  25. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Your comments ====== USELESS. Go away if you don't want to actually give advice, troll.
     
  26. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    If that's all you wanted, then perhaps you should have just asked for it. Instead, you opened with a very long post detailing every last misstep your new-to-the-job para has made. Totally unnecessary.




    Name calling isn't nice, and he didn't comment in that post. ;)
     
  27. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    I like to make sure my post conveys exactly what I am asking. I think that by explaining the para is not understanding that students must be supervised, etc. is important information for what kind of training I should provide. That is what I am asking and it seems that a lot of people on here are just reading too far into my post. Yes, I gave lots of information. Thanks to those of you who did give advice. It's much appreciated. I just wasn't sure what kind of training I should provide. Should I give them all of the laws and regs of IDEA, including IEP laws? Should I show them the IEPs? Do I need to train them with each student in the class? Should I model how I want them to treat every student in every situation? I really have no clue where to start and you guys picking apart my post is just ridiculous and not helpful at all. I'm a very detailed person; you didn't have to read the entire post and if you think I provided too much info, get over it. I am the original poster and I can write as much or as little as I want... Now if you want to give advice on all of the questions I asked, shoot. If not... BYE FELICIA!
     
  28. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Who's Felicia?
     
  29. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Anyone who wishes to comment is allowed to do so in any way desired as well, as long as it's not bullying. There has been no bullying from responders in this thread, so you may want to get over it.

    As for advice, I suppose I should have been more blunt for you to understand. Your posts are full of blame and criticisms. If you sounded a little less negative about the people you've worked with, the responses would be different.

    That's actually quite valuable advice, though not the advice you requested.
     
  30. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Who cares? ;)
     
  31. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    The OP is quoting the movie Friday.

    Bye, Felicia! = dismissive farewell

    You can watch the clip here. Caution: language.

    I'm on another message board where "Bye, Felicia!" is considered a violation and can get you banned.
     
  32. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    In a nutshell:

    You should tell them everything you want to happen, in your classroom and with children in your care, from start of the day to finish.

    You should not expect people to know things you have not explicitly shown them yet.

    You should model the same behavior you want and expect it in return. Which means your toilet better not overflow this year. Ever.

    You should not begin accepting behaviors that are not going to be ok in the future. If texting in is not ok, then don't accept it.

    AH, AH-before you even start-don't give me this crap of "well it's ok if she just texts when I want her to," like I know you were getting ready to say. If it's not ok sometimes, it's never ok. My husband's company has a 48-hour policy. If his employees have not given 48-hour notice they get an unexcused absence. Your policy doesn't have to be 48-hour, but whatever it is should be consistent every time.

    You should refer to school policy about IEP's. Surely you knew that already.

    How's that?
     
  33. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Texting in is the best way to get ahold of me in the morning. I'm just going to say in my list of job duties and such that all texts for tardies must be at least fifteen minutes before contracted time to allow for arrangements to be made in the morning. I know my schools is okay with me outlining IEPs (and yes, of course I already knew this... I wouldn't just go around handing out IEPs to anyone) but I am wondering... should I make a little outline for every student in the class? Or just the ones each para will mainly be working with? I know I will give them a list of all the students accoms/mods but just wondering if they should know a little bit about all student's goals and present levels of performance. I definitely don't expect them to know everything. I just figured the admin would ask questions about the students who are "runners" and what one should do in that situation. I thought that someone hired as a special education parapro would have some basic knowledge of special education. Suppose I thought wrong. I have already emailed my paras resources about special education law, including resources for the outlining of IDEA and NCLB as well as info on IEPs. I also emailed them a work style questionnaire designed for parapros as well as a worksheet detailing what they think they may need training on. I think this is a good way to start things. I have started working on their schedule as well. It has been difficult to develop a schedule as the other para does not start until Monday. Their work times will be staggered as to provide the most support. I also am giving them the option of taking an hour lunch, 45 minute lunch with 15 minute break, or 30 minute lunch with two 15 minute breaks. As soon as I get their preferences, I will be able to make a more structured schedule. Thank you for the advice. That is exactly what I was looking for.
     
  34. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    And to all of you guys STILL commenting on this with no advice or lame comebacks, just stop. Go somewhere else. It's not helpful or necessary. Maybe get off of the internet for a couple of hours and take a nice walk in the sunshine. Have a great day :)
     
  35. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    And "Bye, Felicia!" is actually quite hilarious. I say it with humor, not being rude. It's basically like me saying "Your memes are irrelevant and not helpful" but I was getting sick of typing that so thought I would add some humor. And if you don't think the movie is funny, I feel sorry for you because it's hilarious.
     
  36. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    [​IMG]
     
  37. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    But seriously, your original post had nothing to do with the question you're now asking. I read your entire first post. If I had surmised you wanted help TRAINING your para(s), I would have left the thread immediately without a care because I know zilch about paras.
     
  38. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    And, it was fairly obvious to several people that the issues you describe could have been written by the former teacher last year. That is the definition of irony.
     
  39. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    And with the perfect definition and example of irony, now we have all learned something worthwhile. I wish I could get my kids to recognize it when they see it! :cool:
     
  40. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    How do I turn this around? What exactly should I do? Those are the two questions I asked. What should I do implies that I'm asking for help on the situation. Gah this site is just full of know it alls and people picking posts apart. Go comment elsewhere. I'm deleting this thread because you guys are just annoying now.
     
  41. imissjerryg

    imissjerryg Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    Thanks to all of you who gave actual advice instead of digging up old posts of mine and criticizing my post. Some of you really need to get a life though. Don't you have planning and such to do? I think it's great that you have the ability to research my past posts; shows that you are dedicated. However, it is really completely unnecessary. I have read various posts across this board and there are tons of negative people who like to pick apart others' posts. Those of you who like to do that should really join a debate team. Maybe there's one at the school in which you work.
     
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