Monday, October 06, 2008

Can You Handle More?

About how my kids melt my heart? They do. They really really do.

Today during 1st period, we were doing math. Like most "typical" kids, my kids are not fond of math. One of them finished an addition sheet I gave him (2 digit no regrouping) and got them all correct with no prompting. During the first week of school, he couldn't add 8+5 and it took him all hour to miss 3 similar problems. Today he finished a sheet with 100% accuracy, and then did more! Of course, now I have to try something else for his portfolio for that standard because he did too well for the first "official" trial for it to count (and my opinions on this I'll save for an entirely different post). Anyhow, once he saw he got 100%, he said he was finished. Ummm, no. There is time on the clock--you are NOT finished for the period. There is always more work to be done. I pulled out a sheet, and he said, "No thank you." Again, "Yes, thank you. You will do THESE problems (I circled the ones he was to do) and then if I say you are done, you are done. Do you understand?" His reply? "I'm sorry teacher. Yes teacher." He then sat down, did what I asked him, showed me, and apologized at least 2 more times for "talking to me that way". My TA whispered to me, "I LOVE our class so much. Last year...." What was unsaid? Last year, I likely would have been met with any of the following:

"You can't tell me what to do. You're not my momma."
"Stupid bitch."
"You're the worse teacher ever. I wish you never would have come here."
"I don't care what you want me to do," followed by pandemonium that might include throwing books, cussing up a storm, tipping chairs, etc.
Silence and refusal to comply
Getting up and leaving the room

This is exactly why I prefer to teach students with intellectual disabilities vs. students with emotional disturbances. Now, students with ID do tend to have behavioral problems, but it's nothing I am unable to handle. Students with ED? I am so not equipped for--patience, understanding, training, and so forth. It's not anything I feel like any education or experiences I have had prepared me for--and I knew this going into it, but didn't really have a say so. And when you mix these two populations of students? It's a double whammy.

I'm so thankful that if this year is my last time in the classroom, it is with the group I have now. They are precious. They warm my heart. They inspire me. They make me glad I became a teacher.

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