Reason #1 to stay and #27 and #32 to leave
Reason #1: On Friday I was teaching my Life Skills Drama class when a teacher came to my door and asked if I could speak with her in the hall when I had a moment. I was nervous thinking she was a special ed overlord. It made me on edge because I’ve been failing miserably at teaching this class. I’m doing some great things with them but someone coming into the room would have had a few criticisms to make; some kids unengaged, some phones out. I have a lot of excuses as to why but I’ll settle on instead on an understanding, as in being understanding with myself, in the interest of time. I am brand new at this particular brand of teaching. I have never taught significantly disabled students before and certainly never had to teach a class of 13 with five regular ed students who are causing all of the trouble. (Ooops, an excuse slipped out.)
I step out into the hall and quickly determine she is either a fellow teacher or a para. She never introduced herself to me, harrumph! In her defense I may have met her before…? She was in the halway with a student, Ad, who was shuffling down the hallway with his head down. “Tell her what you told me.” “…” “This is my prep, come on, let’s tell her.” “Well, you know.”
Eventually she told me that he was having trouble with another student in the class. A very hyper, impulsive student named Ar. “Ok, how about this?” I said and looked into the room and saw where he was sitting. I suggested to Ad that he sit on the other side of the room and I’ll Keep Ar away from him. I said I’ll deal with it if he talks to Ad at all. He balked. He was reluctant to accepting that answer so the other teacher suggests getting Ar into the hallway and talking to him. (Inner groan.) I call Ar out, they start to tell him what the problem is and in an instant Ar is shouting: “That wasn’t me! That wasn’t me it was Joseph, you dumbass. You’re always blaming things on me I didn’t do!” His face busted into to red blotches and tears.
I did the worst thing I could do. I worried there would be a fight so arrogantly thought I could get stern and stop it, the unfortante result being I rose to his level. I got between the two and demanded, in loud and angry voice Ariel go to in house and he lost it even more. He punched the wall, came back into the class room and continued to lose it infront of the class. He punched the filed cabinet and I don’t even remember how but I got him back out of the room. I noticed my wrong doing and knew I needed to bring it down and deescalate! Deescalate first girly. What were you thinking??!! I pick up my phone first call the office and as soon as they pick up say: “I need administration in 302 now” and head back to the hallway. One of my paras, and woman who moves very slowly and has very limited mobility due to several health problems, is in the doorway like she is going to be of any help! I quickly get around her and head toward Ar who punches the wall again, then my class door and I think there goes the glass – but it was ok. I try for a moment to soothe him and, smartly, the teacher takes the other kid away. “Ar, stop, stop honney, I don’t want to see you hurt, just calm down you’re not in any trouble. Calm down, I don’t want to see you hurt.” I’m trying my hardest to calm him without touching him but he looks as if he is going to hit the wall again and I bear hug his arms, saying calming sentences and quickly let him go because he calms. Sit on these stairs.. “breath…” and he does. The principal comes and I am so thankful that he chooses deescalation as well.
I get him calm and walk him to the nurse. I have two other paras in the room and I hope they have everything handled. He ends up coming back to the class and all is alright.
The thing I’m choosing not to mention is the poor poor behavior of three of the regular ed boys in that class during that same class during this difficulty. I ended up getting one of the young men to in house in the middle of all of it and kicked the other two out during the last few moments of class.
I deal with a lot at once. Even with such a difficult thing going on that is obviously a priority I had to multitask. I even taught some puppetmaking during all of that!
I almost couldn’t go back to class because I thought I couldn’t stop myself from starting to cry. I began to tear up in sympathy for Ar. I think he totally did what he was accused of but he lost is so completely, I felt bad. But that wasn’t why I wanted to cry.
I’m good at this. I good with the kids and I’m good for the kids. Yes, I make mistakes! But I’m really good at learning from them and I do right by them. And I’m making the decision to leave. I am thinking, have decided, whatever it is, that I’m going to leave them and it’s breaking my heart.
Reason #1 to stay: I’m good for these kids.
Reason # 27 and #32 to leave…ehhh, maybe that’s for another day…