Today Had Me Pulling My Hair Out!
I Love My Job....I Love My Job...I Love My Job
I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!
I really do love my job. It is my dream job and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love the kids, the other teachers, the principal and assistant principal. I love the school I work in and the neighborhood that it is in. I love everything there is about my job.
But some days are just more challenging than others…and today was one of those days…
Today just started off badly. We had one of our twice monthly before school meetings. These meetings are a waste of time and serve no purpose whatsoever to me, or the other special ed group. Topics never include things that we need to hear about. These meetings usually are geared toward students in the regular ed classes and we don’t get to talk about our students most of the time. Today was one of those days, of course. Today was all talk about state assessments and how to encourage students to do their best. Since the assessments are for kids in third through fifth grade I was able to sit and be completely bored for the full hour. The students I teach are kindergarten and second grade students so none of it applied to me or my students.
After the meeting, I went out to get one of my little guys off the bus. He uses a wheelchair and a walker and rides a special bus with a wheelchair lift. He uses the wheelchair just for the bus and for going long distances and in case of fire or tornado drills. When the bus aide pushed my little guy and his wheelchair onto the lift, the lift broke. It wouldn’t move up or down. No matter what anyone did it remained stuck. This meant we had to figure out another way to get the little guy of the bus. Although it was against the rules, I finally just lifted him off the bus and put him on the ground with his walker. The wheelchair was left on the bus and we went into the class.
When class started, two of my students didn’t show up. I waited and waited and finally just started the lesson with my one little guy. An hour into the lesson, the classroom teacher for my other two popped her head into my class and told me that she had forgotten to tell me that her class was working on a special project and she was sorry, but they wouldn’t be in later, either…
As I was working with my kindergarten group, my newest little friend showed me his true side. His honeymoon period is over. He came from a specialized behavioral school in California. His mom wanted to give him a chance in a regular school, and enrolled him with us. Until today, he has been an awesome little sweetheart wanting to help the other students in the group. Today, he didn’t get his way. He threw his reading book across the room and hit my little Jacob. Jacob got upset and pushed his book and supplies onto the floor and ran to the other side of the room. Another of my sweetpeas decided he didn’t like the way the new boy was treating Jacob and pushed him – even though the new boy is three times his size. Then my one little girl in the group tried to get between the two boys and was also pushed to the ground. In less than a minute I had four of my seven students crying and yelling and fighting. My other three were sitting in their seats with eyes and mouths wide open in shock.
Once I got all of the kids settled down and back in their seats, we tried to go back to reading. As one of the “good” kids – one that had NOT been involved in the melee – began to read I looked over at him. The book he was reading from was covered in blood. His nose had started bleeding while the little fight was happening and he was afraid to say anything. I called the nurse down to take care of the nose and the mess (teachers are not allowed to) and things got back to “normal.”
When my kindergartners go to lunch, it is also supposed to be my turn to go to lunch. Today the parent of one of my second grade boys – the one that uses a walker – came into my class with another lady just as I was getting ready to leave. She wanted to talk to me about the incident earlier in the morning. We discussed it and she was satisfied with the way things had happened. Then she introduced me to the lady that was with her. The lady was a representative from a company that provided walkers and wheelchairs. My little guy was going to be fitted for a new walker and wheelchair. That meant I had to be there to answer questions about his mobility at school and which accessories to both would be most helpful. By the time we were done talking, my lunch period was over.
I was getting ready for my afternoon groups, when the principal walked in holding the hand of one of my kindergartners that has class within a class services – no pullout usually. The principal told me that he had pushed my little Jacob down the steps of our playground equipment and that Jacob had bumped his head. I was told that this kindergartner needed to stay in my room for the rest of the afternoon for in school suspension. I put him to work on a math program on the computers at the back of the class.
As I prepared for my afternoon, I remembered that the teacher that had come to see me earlier had told me that I would not have the two students from her class. I prepared just for the two students that would be there. The two I expected came in and we got to work. After about five minutes, the other two came in. The teacher had decided not to work on the special project in the afternoon and had sent the students to me. I had to rush around and try to get all the materials I needed for the students I had not expected.
After math, it was time for some one-on-one time for Jacob and I. Jacob had been having a pretty incredible day, and was working towards having an “all smile – no frown” day. This meant that on his behavior chart that his regular teacher, the specials teachers, and I wrote on all day, he had all happy faces circled – meaning that he had no or very little trouble in all that he did today. I was in the process of telling him how wonderful he was and getting ready to make a “good day” call to his dad when a disturbance in the back of the class got my attention.
My little buddy that was in for in school suspension had gotten frustrated with the math program he was supposed to be working on. In his frustration he pushed the computer keyboard onto the floor, nearly pulling the computer monitor over onto himself. He then took his headphones off and threw them across the floor. I had to call for someone to come and help me to get the problem back in control. The principal came in and took Jacob out for a walk so that I could deal with the other guy.
I grabbed the little buddies hand and pulled him away from the computers. When I grabbed his hand, he went completely limp and fell to the floor. If I hadn’t seen him do this before, I would have been calling the nurse again. But I knew this was his way of being defiant. I picked him up from under his arms and helped him walk to our time out area. The time out spot is surrounded by metal bookcases. He decided that it would be fun to kick the bookcases and nearly knocked one of them over. I decided that it was time for a gentle restraint – one that I had been specially trained to do. I call it the "hug me" sit because I basically sit the student in my lap and wrap one of my legs around him. I cross his arm and hold both of his hands. Usually, this calms the student down pretty quickly, but not today. Today my little buddy kept throwing his head back and hitting me in the chest. I held him this way until he calmed down, which took about twenty minutes.
When he had calmed down, I called the principal again and had her return Jacob. I then put both boys to work on a letter matching game and was glad when they played nicely for the next fifteen minutes. By this time the school day was over. I took both boys back to their separate classrooms and prepared to go home. As I was walking down the hall, I heard my name being called from my little buddy’s classroom. His teacher told me that he had “melted” again and she needed my help. I walked into the class and asked my little buddy if he wanted to return to time out. He immediately stood up and put on his coat and backpack. Because he was having so much trouble, I decided to walk him to the bus.
We walked to the front of the school, where his bus parks. His bus wasn’t there. This was the bus that had the wheelchair lift that had broken this morning. When I called to find out where the bus was, I was told that they were using a substitute bus and driver, and that she had become lost and then trapped behind a traffic accident. I was told to expect her in about ten minutes. So the six students that rode that bus and I waited. The principal came by and asked if I wanted her to stay. She said she had a meeting downtown, but she was willing to stay, if needed. I told her to go ahead and she left.
As we waited, we played alphabet games and “I Spy.” We played several rounds of each when I noticed that it had been nearly half an hour and we still had no bus. I called the bus company again to find out what has going on. The bus had driven over some of the wreckage from the traffic accident and now had a flat tire. Another bus was being sent. It would be another twenty minutes, at least. Now the kids started to get restless. They were tired of the games and just wanted to go home. I understood completely – I wanted to go home to.
The bus finally arrived and I helped put the kids on and finally was able to go back to my room to get ready to go home. I puttered around cleaning up and preparing for tomorrow morning. It was after six before I finally left. I got outside and reached into my coat pocket to get my keys and check to see if I had messages on my cell phone. I came up empty handed. Both my phone and keys were not in my pockets. I must have left them inside.
I walked up to the door to go back to my class. The door was locked. The custodian had locked them before he left. That meant the alarm system – the one that I did not have the code for – was also set. I was in trouble. There were no other cars in the parking lot, either. I decided that there was not much else I could do, and prepared to walk the mile and a half back to my home. What a day….
I love my job….I love my job…I love my job!
© 2012 LaDena Campbell