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Katie Ulrych


How I made it through the last 3 months of teaching preschool in a public school system

Basically in Detroit. I took this job on as a challenge. Catholic school kids are too together. Sure they can be whiny at times and a bit emotional but they've got it together. I learned after my first week of school that I was going to have to FIGHT for these kids.I'm not a fighter. I'm a hugger.

    1. My assistant

    When two 4 year olds would get upset and start throwing punches or blocks or chairs or whatever they could find.. she was there to grab one of them while I grabbed the other. She is not from the USA and she asked.. is this what it's like here? I had to explain to her that no. I have not experienced this and I am just as in shock.

    I get defensive at times. It's a very passive aggressive defensive but it's still there. I feel like I need to do everything. She was the perfect assistant for me. I am so sad that she will be leaving but I think I figured it out enough where I can manage my own reaction to another adult in the room.

    2. 2 Root Canals, 1 Cold, 1 maybe RSV that turned into Laryngitis and Pink Eye for me

    In the course of 3.5 months.. I had 2 root canals, 1 cold, 1 maybe RSV and pink eye. I have 10 sick days.. I am down to 3.5. :(

    But I was so happy for each day I took off. I wouldn't have taken them off it wasn't for these things happen. I never take my sick days. I liked the root canals more than teaching this year.

    I have never worked somewhere before where every one was sick. Every child in my class was sick. 14 kids. They were all sick. 10 of them didn't come to school one day but the rest did. I think I know what nurses feel like. It's so gross. I felt gross everyday

    3. After School Calls with Helen

    Helen is my best friend from High School and life. She picks her kids up from school as I am leaving school. I would call her and tell her the insane things that would happen at school. She would talk about how to handle situations with her kids and discuss things with teachers. We had like a 20 minute complaining fest every day. It's really nice.

    4. Frequent reminders from Shannon

    Shannon became one of my best friends last year. She is the secretary at the catholic school I worked at. I would call her to vent and she would say " you don't wish you were back here.. it would be something different here if you were here" "You can do this!" It was big sister talk. We also vented about our boyfriends.

    5. Therapy

    My therapist is a retired school social worker from a district in a similar tax bracket as the one I work in. She was able to problem solve with me all year long. I told her on Wednesday " These kids are learning NOTHING this year! They won't know their ABC's, they can't sound out letters, they might not even be able to write their name!" She reminded me "They are learning how to interact with a different adult, they are learning to be social with other children, they are learning to sit at the carpet etc."

    6. My Boyfriend

    We stared dating at the end of October. He is an amazing problem solver. He is calm. He reminds me a lot of my dad. I can be freaking out to the max and go to him and he will just say.. let me help you with this and I completely calm down. We go on adventurous dates and I just feel peaceful when I am around him. It's great!

    7. My Roommate

    She knows that I am having a hard time at my new job. I didn't want my old school that she works at to know. She sugar coated it until I was ready to fill them in. It was 2 months in and I ran into the principal. I said "it's a growing year for me". She has gone to her boyfriends more than him coming here. That has been HUGE! I 100% appreciate her for that.

    8. Notepd.com

    I don't lesson plan while the kids are napping. I write lists. I LOVE writing lists. I was telling my boyfriend the other day. He's like yeah.. that's like your thing. I'm like it's my thing? It is totally my thing. Whenever I am bummed I just make a list and feel great. I feel purposeful. I feel like I have other options. I can create something out of these lists. I love teaching preschool but it's not my only option.

    9. A lockdown gone wrong

    The high school in our district went into lockdown for an hour and a half. There was no real threat. Communication was mixed up. It was a week before the anniversary of the oxford high school shootings. We had an extra Professional development day to discuss our procedure. It was an emergency day off. Teachers were anxious. We need hazard pay. I am telling you whenever the PA comes on I get nervous because it doesn't happen much in early childhood centers.

    10. 5 Previous Years of Experience in Schools

    I wouldn't have made it if it was my first year. I have 5 previous years of experience teaching. I never felt like I didn't get paid enough to do my job as a teacher. I feel it this year. I got a $10,000 raise this year and it feels like it's nothing. I knew coming in how to lesson plan and adjust my lessons to the kids I am teaching. I knew that when a kid is throwing a tantrum they are just frustrated and not evil. I am still learning but that experience is great.

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