Monday, August 8, 2011

The job.

Random side note, the first song on my Pandora Mumford & Sons radio was Murder in the City by the Avett Brothers.  I'll take it as a sign.  Still not a day goes by that I don't think about BFW.  D is with BFW's husband for the week and it breaks my heart to hear stories.  My heart is heavy every day for him and the family.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about my new job!  I really have no pictures of anything to correspond with this, so I'll make it brief.  I am a "therapeutic learning" teacher.  Essentially this means that I work with kids with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities.  My classroom basically pulls elementary aged students from all over the county who can not be successful in an SED (emotional disability) self-contained classroom.  I think I was chosen based on my social work degrees/experience.  I was and still am loving the ability to bridge my two passions, teaching and social work, into one career.

Right now, I have three students in my class.  Two are on modified/half day schedules.  Many of my teacher friends do not understand that this does not mean my job is "easy."  Three students, only one being on a full day schedule, does not equate to easy because I only have to grade for three students.  My students can't succeed in even the smallest self-contained special education classrooms.  We have a therapist come in to work with the students.  Academics is not our main focus because it can not be.  The negative behaviors/management of disabilities does not allow academics to be our focus.  I do have to plan for multiple subjects for multiple grade levels (my students are in three different grades now), but my students can't handle 30 minute lessons for each subject.

It has been one full week with all three students being present.  I'm tremendously proud of the kids!  While one of them has a history of violence towards teachers (read: attempting to stab a teacher with a pencil...long story), he had no "episodes," or as I like to call them "adventures," this week.  We only had two adventures and they occurred with the same student.  I'm not surprised based on her disability.  The first one resulted in myself being accidentally scratched and bruised and purposely spit on (hate ending in a preposition, sorry!).  After getting to experience one adventure, I knew much better how to handle the next which occurred Friday.  While this sounds terrible, I've really enjoyed it so far.  The only frustrating part is trying to understand how to teach the students to cope with & manage their anger before it turns to a full blown adventure.  This particularly baffles my mind since,specifically in the one student, the adventure comes on so quickly and unexpectedly.

I am sure adventures with the other two students are inevitable.  I have to continue to celebrate our small successes.  One being that M's feeling choice went from being "content" every day to "happy" today!  Having our afternoon students get along, play together, and cooperate is a success.  Having only two adventures is a success.  I hope the successes keep coming....I know the successes will keep coming.

My principal has been amazing, supportive, and very vocal about what a good job everyone (we have lots of county workers in and out of the classroom) feels I'm doing.  I love the people and the school.  I'm still a little scared that I am in the honeymoon phase, like I got in at the middle school last year, and may end up hating this.  With that mentality am I bound to hate it?  Either way, part of me feels that but the other part loves it and feels like it could be the perfect fit for me.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Christine said...

congrats on the new job. It definitely sounds like a challenge, but one that is totally worth it. I am a special education teacher myself, but for primarily mild/moderate disabilities so definitely a different world. Best of luck to you, your students are lucky to have you.

justagirlLaura said...

You are incredible!

meghan said...

I think you should offer anyone that says this job must be easy the opportunity to step into your shoes. I can't imagine dealing with behavior problems and having to cater to three different age and developmental levels. And I'm sure you'll have more people put into your class as the year goes on, and no one would choose that if given the option. I think celebrating the little victories is definitely the way to go! And I think you shouldn't think about being in the honeymoon phase. I think you should take each day one day at a time (I'm so glad I'm offering this advice when I can't take it myself). I need to do the same. I think that will be my goal for this year as well...

the hoppe pad said...

I found your blog the other day and have really enjoyed reading about everything especially about your experiences as a teacher. I am doing a career change myself and will student teach this fall.

Good luck on your half training and I can't wait to see if you pick Spain or PR...both sound awesome to me!


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