Posted in Middle School, personal

Bad Day? #NaBloPoMo2016

*taps mic*

Hello?  Is anyone still around?  Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be either considering that I haven’t touched my blog in, um, THREE YEARS.  But, here I am.  I’m sure I’ll have time to catch you up on what’s new with me…BUT, for now, I’m checking out the prompts put out by the good folks over at the BlogHer Writing Lab and trying to follow along in hopes of getting my groove back.  We’ll see.

NaBloPoMo2016 Day 1: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do with yourself?

The short answer is sleep.  There’s an Ingrid Michaelson song I love called, “Keep Breathing.”  In the song there’s a line – “I want to change the world, but instead, I sleep.”  This is totally me.  When I’m really overwhelmed; really, really overwhelmed, sleep is my refuge.  It’s safe.  It gives my brain a break from all the over thinking that I’m usually busy doing.  I know it drives my husband crazy cause it looks and feels a little escapist.  But, it works for me.

The longer, and more socially-accepted list includes the “regulars:”  bitching to chatting with friends, debriefing with my hubby, working out (this actually does keep me from acting on secret thoughts of punching people in the face), writing out the issue and brainstorming the elements related to/complicating the issue, hugging my furry and feathered friends, cooking, hugging, wine/alcohol (responsibly, of course), reading, and vegging out on my beloved iphone.  I guess I never thought about the many ways I help myself in times of stress.  I wonder what would happen if I started teaching my students some of these HEALTHY coping strategies.  I know they are not all model behaviors, but if it takes me all of these (and sometimes more), what are our young people to do when they don’t have as many “tools” for dealing with emotions.

Sounds like a pitch for social  emotional learning, huh?  It wasn’t the intended outcome, although I will say, it’s a welcome realization.

Thanks for stopping by.

XOXO auntytriss


Posted in Middle School, parenting, personal

Project Purple, Day 11

If you see someone having a seizure, you should:

*Keep calm

*Clear the area around the person

*Put something soft and flat under their head (like a folded shirt)

*If possible, turn the person on their side

*Keep track of how long the seizure lasts

*Stay with the person until an adult helper arrives*

(*this is written with my middle school students in mind. For everyone else – stay with the person until the seizure is over, and be sure they are safe to be alone (help them call a friend/family member to pick them up, etc)

Photo credit to Team Epilepsy


Posted in Middle School, parenting, personal

Project Purple, Day 4


Today my “fact” that I posted on my door is really more of a why:

“Mrs. Silva has a child with Epilepsy”

Working at a middle school leads to a lot of “why’s” in nearly every conversation I have, so it’s really no wonder that many who stopped by to read my door were wondering why I was being so purple-y.  I was surprised by a lot of things after posting my fact this morning.  Surprised that people I consider myself to be close to didn’t know my daughter has Epilepsy, and even more surprised at how many students wanted to talk about it.  That’s the cool part, though – the talking.  The more we talk about this mysterious condition that is so personally relevant to me, the more walls I break down.  The more knowledgeable people will be.  And hopefully, less judgemental and fearful people will be the next time they hear the word Epilepsy.

I wonder how many readers have a why…I’ve gained new blog followers since I started my Project Purple.  Care to share?  Let’s “talk,” leave me a comment!

Posted in Middle School, parenting, personal



November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and is represented by the color purple. As I have written before, my daughter has epilepsy and my husband lived with epilepsy for years before undergoing the miracle of brain surgery. Obviously, it’s a topic I am passionate about…so I decided to take action and have some fun.

I decided I would use the captive middle school audience to do some “awareness building” of my own, and I covered my office door with purple paper. I will be using this “blank slate” to post an epilepsy fact each day and hopefully a few people will read and learn a few things over the next month. I’ll be posting pictures here, too.

Lastly, and most fun, I added purple highlights to my hair! I love it…and I may have to keep them even when my November project is over.

So, thank you for stopping by after my looooooong hiatus from blogging. It feels nice to be back!

Posted in Middle School

Hello Moon

(written in jest with apologies to Margaret Wise Brown and my inspiration: “Goodnight Moon”)

In the great big world

there are children

And lots of adults

And a picture of…

The sky and a big full moon

and there were a few punks, stinking like skunks

and some school personnel going through hell

and a little smile once in a while

and a wish and a plan and a middle school clan

and a crazy counselor wishing for “He-Man”

Hello world

Hello Moon

Hello punks, you stink like skunks

Hello school personnel

Hello hell

Hello smile

Hello once in a while

Hello wish

Hello middle school and hello clan

Hello nobody,  hello plan

and hello to the counselor wishing for “He-Man”

Hello hope, hello care

Hello educators everywhere.

Posted in Middle School, personal

My Epic Fail

Last week at a before-the-school-year-starts meeting, we participated in a version of a great ice-breaker/party game: choose a character (real or fictional) that you identify with, write the character’s name on a name tag, explain why you chose that character and then refer to yourself and your fellow participants by their “new” name.  The game was not my failure – in fact, I did pretty well, I tied for first place.  But I want to really embrace my character and why I admire her…so let me explain:

I chose the (modern version) My Little Pony character, “Twilight Sparkle.”  She’s a unicorn and protegé to Ponyville’s Princess.  What I admire about her is that every day she writes to the princess, reflecting upon her day and sharing the lessons she learned.  I often wonder how much I could gain if I took that kind of time to deliberately reflect DAILY on my day…and in writing!  Okay, so now that you’re up to speed on my character, back to my EPIC FAIL.

Tomorrow I will officially go back to work.  It’s the first day of the 2011-2012 school year for faculty.  I have wonderful and exciting plans for the year.  I am in the process of completely reorganizing and renovating my tiny office.  I am full of hope and positive energy.  However, I am coming off the absolute worst school year of my eleven year career.  It was an absolutely horrible year professionally for me.  I know I hinted at it in random posts, but I need to really own how much last year sucked.  How low I really felt.  How much I really did fail.  And I want to do this so that I can walk away stronger, smarter, and just better.  And now is as good of a time as any.

I obviously can’t really write in detail about my year because of counselor confidentiality, but here are the things I have identified as the main ingredients of my “Epic Fail” year:

1.  A seriously broken male student, let’s call him “John.”

2.  John’s father openly hated, and refused to cooperate with any other faulty or staff member other than me.

3.  Our school administration, seeing the problem with John and his father, allowed me to serve as teacher, counselor, and administrator in order to keep things civil.

4.  Feeling the burden of (unrealistic) responsibility that I placed on myself for John I ended up spending probably 90% of my time dealing with him and his father, seriously neglecting my other students, job duties and my own sanity.

5.  I allowed myself to be used by my school (which I don’t think was intentional), John and his father – and by the time I finally figured it out it was too late.

6.  Feeling desperate, I resorted to a very left-field idea to remove John from campus, which worked.  It made the school community very happy.  I was happy, too – but the kind of happiness that is covered with guilt.

7.  I was never able to help John get the services I think he needs to heal.

8.  I really let my other students down.

9.  I can’t go back and fix it, change it, do it over again.

10.  My knowledge of this student’s “broken-ness” still haunts me in a very real way.

*channeling Twilight Sparkle’s magical energy*

In thinking about all of this, I now realize that I must be an advocate for myself, just as much as I am for my students.  I realize that however unorthodox my “good” years may look from the outside, I am a good counselor, and in failing last year, I now can see all of the successes I have had in other years.  And above all else, I am not going to be able to save every kid who comes my way…and as much as it breaks my heart, I have to be okay with that.

Failure is a part of life.  I have failed.  I have learned.  I will have an epic year – but the good kind of epic, thank you very much.

Posted in Middle School

The Worst Week Ever

It’s amazing how a few bad days at work can wreak havoc on your intentions to be a better blogger.  Monday was bad, Tuesday was worse, Wednesday led to meltdown number one, Thursday I succumbed to meltdown number two, and by Friday I questioned why I was even bothering to come to work.

I was used.

I was conned.

I was lied to.

I was stolen from.

I was dismissed.

I was disrespected.

But I will survive somehow.

I am trying to I WILL take my job back.

Project “work smarter not harder” has begun.  Wish me luck.  I certainly need it.