Working with a kid who never pays attention to anything I say, ever.
Me: “I noticed you are extremely focused today. I love it!”
Kid: “Yeah well I realized that you are really smart and have a lot to teach me, and I should really listen to you because you’re a great teacher.”
Me: “Really? So all this focus is because of ME? You just woke up and suddenly realized I’m great?!”
Kid: “Yeah. Is that so crazy? I’m going to listen from now on, because you helped me see that’s important.”
Me (tearing up): “Wow, I just never knew I could have that kind of influence on you. It just goes to show that having one positive role model can really change–
Kid: “Oh and I started taking Ritalin. So maybe that’s also it.”
I couldn’t wait to read this article but then I got a text.
Eric challenged me and his friend Ari to a “Workweek Hustle,” so I spent all week strapping my FitBit to the most hyperactive kid in my class.
Today in school we gave a practice state exam. I took the kids with special needs to a separate, less distracting location to take their tests.
Kid: “Miss Emily, is it true that all the smart kids take their test in the classroom, and all the dumb kids go to a different room with you?”
Me: “What!? NO. Absolutely not. Taking your test in a different room has NOTHING to do with your intelligence. You are all VERY smart. Everyone needs different things in order to do their best work and be able to focus, that’s all.”
Kid: “Are you sure it’s not because we’re dumb?”
Me: “I promise. In fact, I used to have testing accommodations when I was a kid. Do you think I’m smart?!”
Kid: (no answer)
Kid: “Oh, yes– of course, you’re very smart! Sorry, I just spaced out for a second.”
Aaaaand that’s why you’re in here.
Being a Special Education teacher is a great profession for me because, given that I have ADD and anxiety, and given how that affected my own school experience, I can totally relate to how these kids are feeling, and can therefore be super patient and supportive.
….is what I thought when I got into this profession.
What actually happened is that I signed up to work in a hot, dirty classroom full of 30 kids who represent everything I hate about myself.
This is less a recipe for patience than it is a recipe for pulling my hair out strand by srand, finding the nearest table, crawling under it, and rocking back and forth in the fetal postion.
Good intentions, though.