Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stuff You Can’t Make Up: A Day when 10 out of 12 Students Can't Get to School (Thanks again to the bus strike)

A glimpse into the characters that you meet during a day in a NYC District 75 school and why a good sense of humor is even more important for special educators than our famed “patience.”

  • After 4 years in the same classroom, the DOE suddenly decided that putting an outlet inside the bathroom would not be such a bad idea, so that we no longer need a 30 foot extension cord to plug in our changing table. Its a newer building but was oddly built with no outlets in the bathrooms and very few outlets in the classroom.

This led to:
  • Discovering a dead mouse and the source of a really bad odor that has lurked around my desk for about 2 weeks, which was causing some awkwardness since the smell arrived at the same time as my new student teacher. In addition, of course the timing of this smell coincided with the 2 weeks that I have sat at my desk for the most consecutive time ever. (Again, thank you bus strike.) Sadly, I had just accepted that the smell was coming from the radiator and that there was nothing I was going to be able to do about it besides invest in Febreeze. Turns out the little guy was stuck behind the one set of bookshelves that I didn’t check behind, whoops.
  • An outlet for an adjustable changing table was also installed in the nurse’s office so a student not from my class can be changed there. The nurse spent her entire day complaining that the outlet’s really not necessary, redirecting the electricians and causing confusing because in her opinion the student should not be changed in her office. Excuse me? I couldn’t think of a more appropriate and private place than the nurses office for a health procedure.
  • So my new student teacher goes to lunch, I gather my papers and prepare to go get something myself and find my coat missing. How long would it take for her to realize that she’s wearing my coat? (So that I could get my own lunch) Not until she returned to school a half hour later and I said, “So do you like my coat?”
  • One of my best paraprofessionals is moved to a 6:1:1 autism classroom with pretty independent kids, bringing the total number of adults to 6 in the room. (Obviously, the stellar teacher was jealous that she didn’t teach “those” wheelchair students and have only 2 students, and so complained to the admins.)
  • The ESL teacher usually spends Thursdays with my class, so I coerced him into teaching a science lesson, or a lesson on anything he wanted, just something. Result? He sat at the table texting on his phone while my one student (the other was at physical therapy) was looking at a magazine for a good 5 minutes before I realized it was too quiet and looked up from my data sheets. I asked, “So are you going to actually do an activity today?” He jumped out of his seat like the idea hadn’t occurred to him and grabbed a book off the shelf for a makeshift read aloud.

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