At some point in the first few weeks as a teacher I had a problem and sought out the principal for some advice. (I don’t remember the situation.) I explained to her the problem, oh it was something either involving modifying inappropriate behavior or something in that area. After explaining to her my situation, she simply said, “What are you going to do about it?”
After a moment, I thought, and then responded, “Go back to my room and figure it out.”
I made a comment in an earlier post about the concept of there being teachers of teachers is somewhat false. You can’t teach someone to be a teacher. There is a certain mix of innate ability and some learned skill, but most importantly a desire to be selfless in helping another person find a way to improve something about them.
One of the defining moments that lead me to leave my first job was rather traumatic.
I had been working with Emotionally Disturbed (ED) high school kids for 4 years. (ED is the label they put as a qualifying disability on their IEP.) (The reasons for their disturbance ranged from severe abuse and/or neglect, or they had a clinically diagnosed psychological disorder.)
My class size would range from 7 to 14 students. Because I was so good at working with damaged kids, my last class was 14 students. It included, among others, 4 girls diagnosed with schizophrenia.
One took no medication, no therapy. (She was actually the easiest one.) Two of them took meds and therapy inconsistently. Last one fairly consistent meds and therapy (She was my favorite; she talked to angels)
One day, one of the girls of the inconsistent two saw or heard, or thought she saw or heard another student, boy, do or saying something that warranted her flying across the room and pouncing on him like a lion on a lamb.
I had my assistant quickly take the others from the classroom, separated the girl from the boy, and directed him out of the classroom. The girl then went about doing one of the best jobs I’ve seen destroying a classroom.
I sat and hoped that she would tire quickly. Really, how many times can you pick up and throw a desk or chair. File cabinets full of papers are pretty damn heavy and took quite an effort to knock over. Ever tried ripping pages out of a textbook?
As she tired, she shift focus on herself. This is where things got crazy. First it was the metal edge of a ruler, then a compass (the ones used to make circles), then, and I’ve never had one in my room since, a glass bud vase.
Each of the last three items she used to puncture and gouge her arms and wrists. It all happened so quickly. I took one thing away, and then she would grab the next. She smashed the bud vase and really started doing damage with that.
At that point I restrained her. (I had been trained on how to do this without harming the student or myself) This position did bring us rather close, and now she’s bleeding and crying on me. Over and over she kept sobbing, “I don’t understand. I don’t understand!”
I shared that thought with her.
That was the same year another student beat me on the head, well my arms mostly, with the classroom phone.
I’ll save that one for another day.
I did go back, several years later and worked a Junior High class (6th, 7th, and 8th graders), designated for students labeled ED. That student is an entirely different animal. An entirely different experience from high school ED. Plus I had 3 instructional assistants, (that class cost the district ALOT of money, and doesn’t exist anymore), and many years under my belt in classroom management.
I’ve seen great teachers with poor management skills. This makes them not so great teachers.
I’ve seen average teachers with great management skills. This makes them great teachers.
You have to know how to manage people to get the most out of them.
Teachers are the most difficult to manage, as a group. I am TOTALLY baffled as to why anyone would want to be a site administrator, unless it’s part of their career path to district management.
So crazy experiences, but I survived them, and most of those students learned something because I managed them well.
The book I hope to one day write is starting to take shape in these posts. I usually don’t like talking about myself, but I do have some interesting stories, and do have some thoughtful words to share.
😀 (He says humbly!)
Thank you for taking the time to read. Hope you enjoyed. Tell a friend. I can’t see who is reading, unless you follow (Hi Becca!) She’s my only follower 😦
🙂 It’s cool. Like I said, eventually I will find a book in here and that’s what this is all about for me!
Oh, I had a few first time readers of some old posts. I had forgotten what I’d written so I reread. My proof reading sucks. I will work or that and let you know when I’ve cleaned stuff up. Maybe you’ll reread because something didn’t quite make sense.
See y’all tomorrow.