Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Teacher's Nightmare

To be completely honest, the last two weeks have been incredibly rough. I was very excited to get the opportunity to work in a district so close to home and that had such a strong union - especially in terms of special education. After getting hired, though, I found out the truth about the mess that I was inheriting. 

So, the story of my class...apparently last year's teacher was a brand new teacher to special education and had very few (and when I say very few, I really mean NO) classroom management skills. The classroom fell apart and she "babysat the kids" - according to my current principal. They ended up sacking her mid-year. They hired a substitute teacher that came in and shortly quit the job thereafter - because of the kids. They hired a second long term substitute that almost shared the same fate but the district called in the school psychologist and behavior specialist to assist. Add a few aides that also quit in between because of the class, and you can see how muddled this whole mess was.

Fast forward to three weeks ago - I had NO idea what kind of class was getting thrown at me. I had heard from various teachers and service providers that this class was a nightmare. Great. But I still went in thinking I could handle it.

Unfortunately, I had no idea how bad the class really was until I started the school year. I had two students run out of the classroom the first day and had to be chased down by my aides. I had one student crawling on top of tables. I had another child doing somersaults across the room. I had one child who told me flat out he didn't want to be in my class. I came home every night during the first week and a half of school and cried. I also started looking for other jobs. 
How I felt on the first day of class
The program specialist stopped by the Monday after we had started school just to make sure that I had come back. I'm sure she thought I wouldn't last the weekend. 

Two and a half weeks later and things have calmed down a bit - but only slightly. I still get pangs of anxiety some mornings as I drive into work. I still want to cry after a hard day with these kids. I know that I am my own worst critic and I am incredibly hard on myself. I've had several people approach me and tell me that the positive changes in the students and classroom is noticeable and that I'm doing a great job. Easier said than believed.

I just hope that I can get through to these kids. Say a prayer for me!

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