August 7th 2009 5:14 pm
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Harley and I started back at work on Monday. The first three days were professional development, and were a mixture of loud craziness and boring long meetings. Our school district has the motto, "We work hard, we play hard". When we went in the first day, we had a meeting in the library, and the principal had the song, "Back in the saddle again" playing fairly loud. We were sitting at a table and one of the other special ed teachers came up and asked me how the "situation" was with the service dog. I pointed down and she jumped back because she hadn't seen him. The principal said that he kept thinking he was going to step on him because he would forget he was there. He did introduce Harley with the new faculty and explained his purpose and the rules of etiquette
Tuesday we had district Orientation. This was nuts. At the beginning, the tech lady was on the stage singing southern rock songs complete with principals and band directors playing electric guitar, key boards and drums. Then the superintended dressed up like ZZ Top and put on his own little show. We went up into the balcony and sat on the front row (where there was leg room for Harley). Harley did fine. At one point, they had trumpets and saxes out playing and Harley seemed to like that. He perked his ears and was wagging his tail (on beat). We were sitting with a bunch of teachers from our school and they all said later that they were really impressed. Then we went to lunch where several teachers asked me to train their dogs.
Wednesday was boring and we started with a 2 1/2 hour Special Ed department meeting. I could tell then that the teachers at my school had accepted him. Each school's department head's were introducing the teachers at each school and when she didn't introduce him, the other teachers from my school chimed in that she had forgotten the newest one. So, then the district department lead introduced him along with explaining him. Then we went and got lunch and went back and finished up in my classroom. He is really feeling comfortable in my room. But because I am an inclusion teacher, I go to four other classrooms with my students to help them with their regular ed classes, so we aren't in my room but 1/2 the day.
Thursday the kids started. I was a little worried at first because we got there, got out, and Harley stopped by the car and wouldn't go forward. I thought, "Oh no, not today. not the first day of school". I used cheese and got him in (Oh, the power of cheese!) Once we were in the school, everything was fine. He did great. The school had done a call out to all the parents about the service dog on campus, so many of the students knew he was going to be there. I went around to all the classes on my hall and explained to the kids why he was there and that they couldn't pet or talk to him and why. They were great, as kids normally are when I explain this to them. Harley alerted in my class so the kids got to see that on the first day too.
We meet our classes every other day, so today was basically the second first day of school, and we were in different classes than yesterday. Harley did fine. I realized what had spooked him about going in. They are doing some major construction right by the school. This morning, he stopped again by the car and looked at the new BIG and LOUD equipment. So, instead of walking towards the front door (which is toward the equipment), we walked around to the side where there are doors going directly into our hallway. He did great...not a problem. I also rewarded him because I want him to see going to school as a good thing. A couple of times I put Harley in a down stay while in another class room so I could help a student (I have some tough ones this year) and he did fine. He did watch me the entire time and the kids noticed that, but that was good.
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