A Small Victory

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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.

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  1. says

    I appreciate the small victories! Hooray for you for helping those kids and, in the process, their families. My kids are at the other end of the spectrum, and, believe me, it was frustrating in first grade when my youngest had taught himself (yes, that’s correct) addition by first figuring out what it meant and then memorizing all of the tables – at the age of 3 – and his first grade teacher was insistent that he had to do “touch points” with all the other kids. Of course, I had homeschooled him for Kindergarten, because he was “too young” to go to school, and after that incident, it was back to homeschool. (I had had enough expierence with the older 8 that I knew this wasn’t about to change.) Others may not have that option, and how very fortunate for them that they have you!

  2. Debbie Cook says

    Thanks for sharing part of your school day. Now if only I could get *my* kids to “go out in the hall” when nature calls.

  3. says

    Small victory? Big victory! I don’t mean to laugh….but you know I understand. Bless you for being in inclusion. The mix of disabilities keeps our days moving! But, inclusion teachers make my days easier. Thank you!

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