Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PS- the kids hit us. When are we going top talk about MY kids, PartIII

Special ed teachers have the challenge of teaching academics to a wide variety of students with disabilities and abilities. In District 75, all the schools are specialized schools. That means in order for a student to be placed there, they have had to exhibit physical, behavioral, or academic deficits so severe that they cannot be supported in another type of special ed classroom. The special ed teachers in D75, therefore, not only have to implement "rigorous" academic instruction, but also plans for instruction in behavior, social skills, activities of daily living, even toilet training. It's a lot of work,. a lot of trial and error, and a lot of just thinking to make a plan that addresses all these areas for 6,8, or 12 students that's do-able. Especially when the kids hit us. Or scratch us. Or push us, or throw chairs at us. Or other students. Or punch out the glass in a window. Sometimes the student may not understand what they are doing, but sometimes they do. And hit a teacher intentionally. Or scratch one intentionally, Or push one, or throw chairs at one intentionally. Or call a teacher a "fucking cunt" intentionally. Sometimes there's a gray area where a teacher can't quite figure out if it's intentional or not. But we get hit. Often. And from what I've been reading lately, there's been an awful lot of 911 calls from community schools who do not have the supports in place for an out of control student. Often the student is taken to the emergency room but is not admitted and in school the next day. Maybe after several incidents the student may be transferred to a D75 school, but I'll tell you what - we don't have the supports either. The way the system is set up, it's becoming increasingly difficult for teachers and schools in general to keep staff members from getting hit. We are not supposed to restrain a child, so what are we to do when they beat us and smash their fist through glass - all the while calling us names that even make a person who calls herself "Miss RIM" blush? And even if we could "just hold him down for like a 1/2 hour" like a parent suggested to me once, how are the other students in the class supposed to get the rigorous, highly effective instruction I have to develop and deliver in order to keep my job? No one says this. No one outside education acknowledges that we go to work knowing that students verbally and physically abuse each other and the staff. Bill Gates doesn't go to work and get smacked. If that happened to Geoffory Canada at the Harlem Children's Zone or Eva Moskowitz at Success Academies, the student, oops, pardon me, "scholar" would receive demerits and be "counseled out"....(then be "our problem") If some kid called Michelle Rhee a "fucking cunt", they'd get tape over their mouth. What gives? With all the hullabaloo starting a big national conversation about education, let's have this conversation.

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