Friday, September 07, 2007

I don't hate you, I don't even know you

This year our school has switched to special education inclusion into regular education classrooms. I was extremely nervous about this because I worry about my ability to scaffold material and reach all levels of learners. I feel like it is my biggest weakness as a teacher. I don't want to fail kids who are already behind. One of my partners in crime, Mr. Graham, is an amazing special education teacher and took his students so far last year. I worry about undoing some of that. I am not like some unfortunate teachers at our school who think that special education students can't or won't learn. I also don't believe they're lazy or bring down the general class room environment (really, seriously, how can you be an educator and say stuff like that about children?)

That said, I have one SPED student who is probably going to work on every last nerve in my body. I can't say his name on here, which is kind of sad because his name is just ironically unfortunate and sure to set him up for plenty of teasing when he gets to European History. Regardless, he is extremely ADHD, a chronic liar and highly aggressive. Apparently he's worse this year than he's ever been and we're worried about his home life. In the five days I have taught him he has made it through my entire class period one time. Typically he comes in asking one of four questions:

"Can I go to the bathroom?"
"Can I go to the nurse?"
"Can I go to Ms. Colon?"
"Can I go to Officer Mapp?"

The answer to all of these is no because he doesn't have to pee, he's not sick, he doesn't really need to see Ms. Colon or Officer Mapp. The no response tends to elicit some type of temper tantrum, which is thoroughly ignored by me, my co-teacher and the other students. Once he realizes he's not getting our attention he chooses from three action plans:

Throwing something.
Screaming something.
Generally being mean to someone (usually me).

At this point he usually gets moved to a back table so that the lesson can continue. Two of the days he was asked to leave he verbally assulted/tried to start a fight with someone. One day he wouldn't stop screaming. Today he threw three dictionaries off the back table in an effort "to clear his workspace." I sent him down to the office to wait for my co-teacher. On his way out the door he screamed "You hate me, that's why you're so mean. You hate me."

Yes, in the five days I've had you I have decided that I hate you and that is why I won't let you threaten others, throw books or generally verbally assault me. I'm trying hard here, but I'm losing steam pretty fast. He just sucks up so much of my energy I can hardly believe it. I feel like I'm doing an okay job for most of my special education students, but this one is most definitely going to be challenge.

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