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21 January 2009

More sickness

Ugh I'm officially really sick. Like had to go to the doctor type sick. I haaate the doctor so it was especially annoying because I didn't really have a doctor here in New York, until yesterday. And I don't like having to settle on a doctor based on what doctor could get me in that day to see me, but it actually turned out ok and she was really nice. Completely 1970's style office, but good doctor I think.

And the verdict: bronchitis and the flu. :(

They prescribed me an antibiotic for the bronchitis so now I'm just riding it out. I'm already feeling better. The doctor told me to take two days off from work, and to go back on Friday, but I might go back tomorrow. I'm already feeling better and just hate staying home doing nothing.

One of my favorite coworkers just called me and told me how much they missed me today... having someone say you're missed is one of the best things to hear, don't you think?

16 January 2009

Simple little words

As most of my readers know, my school is 100% special ed. Our two main populations are kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders and kids who are emotionally disturbed (ED). My students all have autism but I still interact daily with the kids with emotional disturbances, especially at the beginning and ends of the days during busing procedures.

One of the ED kids at my table in the afternoon, we'll call him Luis, is a seemingly ok-behaved 13 year old kid, but he definitely has his days that can escalate. Today was one of those days. He's a pretty big kid, definitely stronger than me, so physical restraint is out of the question. I don't know what happened during the day with his classmate but they got to busing and things were really heated.

I could tell things could get bad so I sat by him and asked him what was going on. Normally he kind of ignores me or gives me some smart-ass comment but today he was actually talking real to me. I'm not going to do a play-by-play of the whole conversation, but simply saying to this kid "I care about you and what happens to you" made a world of difference. Luis told me that no one cared, there's no way I could care, I wasn't even his teacher. It was hard to know what to say after that, but I just told him that he's too smart to be fighting like that and that because he's such a leader, he needs to work especially hard on his behavior. He was a little taken aback that I actually told him that, and I was shocked. These kids NEVER hear that anyone cares about them or what they do. Sometimes we think that it's implied we care, but unless you explicitly say it, they have NO idea.

And his response to my profession of care and concern?

"Yo, sorry I got mad crazy for a minute Miss A. If I knew you cared I woulda been better this year. I try harder. PEACE."

Oh kids.

15 January 2009

Hanging in there..

Today is my first sick day. I wasn't violently ill or throwing up or anything, but I definitely don't feel up to par. Chest cold I think, but not completely sure. At least Dr. Google says it's a chest cold, and if it is, I don't want it turning into bronchitis. More than anything, it just makes me grumpy. And I was one grumpy teacher yesterday. Let me explain.

One of my students, we'll call him Mr. Chatterbox, got on my last nerve yesterday. Normally, I absolutely love him because he's silly, funny (even though he doesn't try to be), and is generally a good student. But ohmygosh, chatterbox is the only way I can describe him. This kid DOES NOT stop talking! But it's not like you can understand anything he says. He has severe speech problems so usually it's just a mix of words and I try to decipher the idea based on the 2% of words that are actually articulated.

At breakfast, the kids usually put their backpacks and coats under one end of the table. Our breakfast table is right next to the lunch line. Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go upstairs to our class, Mr. Chatterbox got his things and in the process flung 3 jackets into the lunch line. I told him to look at where the other jackets are. That's what happens when you aren't paying attention and someone can slip and fall on them. (I tell him this everyday so this isn't the first time he's heard of this concept.) I told him that he needed to pick them up and put them back under the table so no one stepped on them. He of course didn't understand me and just said "WHAT? NO!" So I simplified my speech and just told him to pick up the jackets. Again, "WHAT, NO!" So frustrating.

Then all day, it was "Miss A, I DID IT! I FINISHED! I'M DONE! LOOK AT ME! WHO'S THAT (on the phone)?? WHAT TIME IS? WHAT DAY IS? WHAT DO NEXT?** MISS A MISS A MISS A MISS A!!!!" Normally this doesn't bother me too much, but yesterday it was just too much. I eventually just started ignoring him. Sounds horrible, but really... I had to just ignore him.

During my prep periods another teacher comes in the room and is their teacher for that period and sometimes I stay in the room because I need to be doing things at the computer or around the room or whatever. But every 2 minutes, Mr. Chatterbox has something to say to me. So now I can't spend any preps in the room because it's way too distracting.

Everyday, this kid says my name well over 60x. I never thought I'd hate my name as much as I do at the end of everyday. It sounds horrible but it's true. I can't stand how he interrupts every conversation regardless of how much we teach not to. Guess I need to start doing more social skills lessons :-/

**This type of speech with the verb at the end seems to be the new "axed" (as opposed to asked). At first i just thought it was because my kids have severe language/communication delays, but my friends in general ed. are saying they hear this all the time too. And I've heard it being used outside of the school too. Anyone else notice this??

11 January 2009

Lazy blogger

That would be me. Vacation was relaxing and full of resting, but I still wasn't ready to get back to the city and start work. It took me like 3 days to even open my suitcase... oops.

The first week back wasn't horrendous, like I was expecting. For some reason the past week was plagued with absences, and I only had 4 students for 3 of the 5 days, so that definitely made the week easier. I got a new U shaped table for my class so I was able to move my bean shaped one over to where my SmartBoard is. Sounds silly but it was SO exciting. The U shape is better than the bean shape because you can actually physically reach the kids. Not as much work space, but proximity is definitely my #1 priority. One of my lower-functioning students doesn't have any skills yet for whole or small group instruction and has been sitting at a separate desk instead of the table with everyone else. However I'm slowly trying to incorporate him into more small and whole group instruction activities so he has the opportunities to learn those skills, and the U shape will definitely be a huge help in that.

I also (finally) got a literacy curriculum! 4 months into the school year... but better late than never, right? My school has given me "Fundations" by the Wilson program, does anyone have experience with it? It seems to be pretty comprehensive, we'll see how it works out. The other 1st grade teacher at my school is also just getting familiar with the program, so hopefully we can collaborate on some things. Ideally, I'd like to split our two classes into two different literacy groups and have her take one group and I take another. Then we can switch groups every month or something. Maybe won't happen this year but it's definitely a goal for next year.

Well it's already Monday morning (12:04 am)... oops again. Better get some sleep to kick off the week. Happy Monday everyone!