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.
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!