Thursday, August 28, 2008

Choices, Part 1

I have written one other post about teaching and I'm kind of iffy about it, for a number of reasons...
  • So many blogs out there are written about kids, but is it appropriate for me to write stories and such about my students? They are "my" kids, but only from 8:00-2:30. They are other people's kids and I feel kind of weird about that.

  • Since so many of my readers have kids of their own, will they be offended that a teacher is writing about someone elses kids?

  • Do readers even care about my job as a teacher; is it even interesting?

Well, all of those concerns have been thrown right out the window, cuz I'm writing about a student! Teaching is something I spend the majority of my time doing and it makes up part of who I am, so I'm sharing. Today was a very frustrating, but funny day and it came just in time as I was about to quit the blog since I had nothing to write about. It's a long story, so I hope it doesn't sound like I'm rambling. I need to get it down right now, so I don't forget, but if it gets too long, I'll make it a 2-parter.

As posted about in Madness, a couple of weeks ago my 2nd grade team reorganized and some new students started in my room last Monday. It has been a trying week and half with a borderline autistic, two mutes, a new student who is showing some strange/scary behavior, oh, and have I mentioned two students who are the children of some of my colleagues at school? Yah! It's been an interesting beginning of the year.

Anyways, today's post is about my borderline autistic, I'll refer to him as DAP from here on out. Well, DAP, like any child who struggles with this disorder has had some difficulty adjusting to our classroom. I have high hopes though, since I run my classroom very structured and once students are familiar with how our classroom works, there aren't a lot of surprises. I spent the first week with these new students working on and reinforcing procedures. After the first day, when DAP had various meltdowns because he wasn't ready for a transition, I also spent that first week preparing him ahead of time about what was to come. We had a lot of "talks" about what was coming next and how he might handle each of those situations. After talking about making good decisions, I gave him some scenarios and asked him what he might do. This is howthose conversations went...

Me: OK, DAP, so when the timer goes off, what do you do?

DAP: I stop working. Did you know it's my birthday in 3 months?

Me: I didn't know that. Where do you put your work when the timer goes off?

DAP: I put it in my yellow folder.

Me: That's right!

DAP: What's that? (said looking past me and pointing at my computer)

Me: That's a clip to hang my papers. Back to your work. If you're not finished with with your work, what do you do with it?

DAP: I like lasagna. It's my favorite food.

You get the picture. DAP's just a wee bit self involved, which isn't uncommon with children like this. This self-involvement is what led today's events. DAP is always the last one ready for anything, everything. As the rest of the class has followed directions and is quietly waiting to move on or leave the classroom, DAP might still be working, or maybe leisurely getting his lunchbox out of this backpack, or dumping out 15 of his crayons while trying to put 1 of them away, or anything else except what he was asked to do. For the first week, I was patient, we waited, and waited, until he was ready before moving on. But now, I'm tired of it. Unfortunately, my classroom is very far away from the playground, the bathrooms, and the cafeteria, so I can't just let the rest of the class go without me while I wait for him and I can't just leave him unsupervised while he's STILL putting his pencil away. I have lost all patience for this dilly-dallying.

This morning we had music. About 10 minutes before music, we prepared to go downstairs. That consisted of putting one (1) math page inside a folder, and one (1) pencil inside a pencil box. That's it. I assumed 5 minutes would be plenty. Well, you know what happens when you assume (you make an ass out of you and me, ha, ha). I was wrong. At 5 minutes before music, the time when we were supposed to be leaving for music, we were still waiting for DAP to be ready. I had had it!!! I lined the rest of the class up outside and herded DAP outside telling him that from now on, if we are ready to go and he is not, he will be sent next door to Mr. Show (yes, from the Jason Show!) and that might mean he will miss library or music or recess or lunch. Mr. Show happened to be outside at the time, so I walked DAP over and introduced them. "DAP," I said, "This is Mr. Show, and you will be visiting him if you choose not to be ready with the rest of the class." Mr. Show said, "Hi DAP," and before he could say anything else, DAP threw his arms down in frustration and said in a high pitch, whiny voice, "See, this is why I don't like school." It was all Mr. Show and I could do not to laugh. "I know," I said.

Are you exhausted yet? And to think, this all happened before 9:10 am. I will stop here for now. Part 2 coming soon.


  1. Awe, As hard as it is, I feel bad for DAP being a couple bubbles off center.
    Can't you just give him to Mr. Snow?

    You better not quit blogging!

  2. As someone who has worked with (and on behalf of) many "daps" thinks he needs a 1:1 aide.

    Sounds like he is doing his best, but still needing extra assistance. Sounds like his issues are taking away from you and the class....

    ding..ding...ding....someone give that boy an aide!

    :) happy weekend

  3. OOOohhhhhhhh I would send DAP to Mr. Show with a bottle of vodka and maybe he would gladly let him stay for the day!!

    I had a boy like DAP once in K...he would tell me about his life in "the village before he was him." I really came to believe his stories!

    I hope things get better soon...and that they all don't regress with 3 days off....I think I will have criers again after 3 days off!

    Thanks for the countdown message....177 days and counting!

  4. Wow, you sure have your hands full. You and all teachers get big kudos from me!!!!!!

  5. Aren't you glad to have a public forum in which to vent these things?

    I think as long as it remains annonymous there is no harm in it.

    I'm so happy that I get to be a character in your story. Will part 2 be about what happened when he came to my room?


    Mr. Show