I received thousands of emails asking what it is like to be a special education teacher. Okay, I didn’t receive thousands of emails. Okay, I’ve not even received one email asking about it. But despite your apparent lack of curiosity, I feel compelled to post a little about it. I’ve read the blogging hints and tips, and one of them is that you’re supposed to make your blog a little more personal. Show the readers a little of who you are. Since the majority of my days are spent surrounded by kids and not cooking, I thought I’d share a little bit of it every now and then.
I am an inclusion teacher, which means that my kids are in a regular classroom. I go into the classroom and provide motivation, modifications, reteaching, preteaching, and lots of begging and pleading. Most of my kids have attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) or they have a learning disability (LD) in something like reading or math.
My day is filled up with what I like to call “small victories” and “small lets-not-call-them-failures-but-they’re-definitely-not-victories”. I haven’t actually put them both on a tally sheet and added them up, because I am afraid it would make me cry and possibly start heavy drinking. But I can tell you this, I cherish every small victory. Really, no matter how small.
Like yesterday. I’m in Mrs. D’s math class, when the guidance counselor walks in and says that N. is back, but he won’t come in to the classroom. N. is one of my students who moved away over Christmas break, and is now back again. I go out in the hall, and he tells me that he’s nervous. So, I walk him down to my room. I rewrite his schedule so that it easier for him to understand and give him a little reassuring pep talk. I start walking him back to class, when I notice D., another one of my students, out in the hall. Seeing one of my students out in the hall is not good. So, I come up and I ask him, “what did you do?” He says that he didn’t do anything, that it’s something else. Oh. See, D. has gas. He has gas a lot. I’ve tried to tell him that maybe he is lactose intolerant, but he says that he isn’t. Well, I don’t know, but his body does not like something that he’s eating! So, there I am standing out in the hall trying to convince one student to go into class, while another student is trying to pass gas! Finally, D. is successful. The unmistakable odor fills the hallway. It’s bad. Really bad. I clamp my hand over my nose and throw open Mrs. D’s door and head back into class, where the air is only slightly fresher, telling N. to c’mon and follow me. I glance over my shoulder and see N. illuminated in the classroom doorway. Everyone is looking at him. He has no choice, but to follow me and come in. Within minutes, he has a new textbook, has his calculator out and is busy doing fractions to mixed numbers.
Yes, I consider that a victory.