Trying to Teach my Kids this one

Earlier this week, we had a tough day. Joe ran out of the build and almost made it to the street! As he ran down the hallway, I ran after him, and yelled, “JOE, FRONT DOOR!” into my walkie talkie. Immediately, 6 or 7 of my male co-worked dropped what they were doing and ran after us. Joe is 19 now and easily more than double my size. I don’t remember if I posted about this before but… A few months ago he eloped, but waited for  me to catch up and make eye contact before running out the door! When Danielle got in front of him, he started punching her. I thought I could calm him down because we have rapport, but he tackled me and bit my face. A male co-worked arrived and pulled him off me. I went to urgent care… Anyway, now a walkie talkie warning about him eloping out of the building gets an immediate response!

Back to this week… Once two men passed me, I stopped running because I knew they could handle it and I was useless for helping to restrain him anyway. However, this time it took 4 men to carry him. Usually, once someone gets ahold of his arms, he walks back. This time, that wasn’t enough. We put him in the biggest Quiet Room because supposedly it is too wide for anyone to climb. We found out that was false. Joe can still climb. He reached the sprinkler and tore a piece off. Idk why there are sprinklers in the QRs when the doors only lock when someone is standing there holding a magnetic button. Anyway, the principal of the school opened the QR door and told him to get down. He did… and then he tried to hit the principal. But we shut the door quickly enough. Joe continued trying to climb, but every time we opened the door, he jumped down. He rarely curses, but this time he was cursing at us and threatening us. It is the worst I’ve ever seen him. 😦

A lot of stressors are happening though… We’re getting a new student in the fall. Barb finally left (she worked at our school for 7 years and Joe has been there most of that time, her departure was tough on him), but on Monday she returned as a substitute. Also, our internet was out all week and his favorite break choice is surfing the web. Moreover, he thought he lost a break when he ran (he did not).

So, we didn’t get out of the QR for over an hour. By the time he was out, it was time for lunch. A few minutes after we get to class, Jacob starts leaving the room (they’re supposed to stay in class for the first 20 minutes of lunch), and doing minor property destruction, all while staring at me. He desperately wanted my attention. At one point, I offered to play a game with him when he was back in class being safe, but he ignored me. I was positive he’d elope too. When it was time for recess, he had a 5 minute delay for not following directions. Amazingly, he walked back to class and sat in his desk!

I internally did a happy dance and externally, praised him once the 5 minutes was up for making the next right choice!

do the next right thing

Maybe I should make this poster for my room! Except, not in pink. 😉

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The Icy 7 Hour SPED Bus Ride

Oh wow!! First of all, the kids didn’t get home until past 1 AM. Second, that bus driver and bus aide are saints!! I can’t imagine diving in an ice storm, with those 3 kids (John and 2 from another program), for over 7 hours!! People at work who didn’t stay said we’re awesome, but we had internet and toys to keep the kids entertained. We had McDonalds to feed them (food soothes ~almost~ everyone 😉 ) and a better than 1:1 ratio. They had one bus driver and one aide!

I’m going to make them cookies and get some type of gift.

Hmm, what should we get for them? We don’t know them well enough to get a gift we know they’d actually enjoy. Personally, I’d prefer money to baked goods or a random gift. Yet putting a cash value on their amazing work seems awkward. How could we possibly quantify that?!??

school-bus-driver-special

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Electric Play for the Win

I need to get more sleep. I’ve been so busy lately!! Today we made circuits in Science class; it was a hit with almost everyone. I know they won’t always love the lesson, but I’m excited that my first class went well! Everyone, except Sean, participated and even David answered some questions correctly! Cory switched to the older kids’ group and did well. He interrupted staff and peers much less. However, in the morning, he intentionally set off two kids in his room by targeting their triggers (You’re a weak baby and no one is your friend, respectively). However, everyone turned it around.

Jacob was incredible today! The new kid cursed him out during break and Jacob simply removed himself from the situation and left the gym! When he came back from break, I asked how break was and he started crying. We talked a bit, but he was still upset. I asked him if he wanted to go to the Quiet Room and calm down. HE DID; HE WALKED TO THE QUIET ROOM BEFORE BEHAVIORS!! So, I’m going to give him a 5 minute break pass that he can use at any point tomorrow.

Sean actually did work today and didn’t call me a whore, so, yay? Lol, we’re alike in many ways. I think he is depressed right now. All he wants to do is sleep. Therefore, nothing motivates him. Also, more importantly, he didn’t run out of the building. He eloped 3 times yesterday. Surprisingly, he walked back to class from outside without help, although I got down to “1” in my countdown.

Joe was upset and made me nervous because the principal left for the few hours and Joe is a strong, big kid. When he has a meltdown he needs 4 or 5 men to keep him safe. I’m proud of him for walking with me to the Safe Place (aka QR) and talking about why he was upset. It was great!

Apparently, my boss knows me better than I realize. The new BCBA asked if I was dating. I said I wasn’t and my boss chimed in that I need a dominant man. Someone suggested ChristianMingle and she said, “No, Christian men are too nice for you. You need someone to take control.” The way I responded made her choke on her food while laughing, “How do YOU know that?” I guess it takes one to know one, she said he husband puts her in her place, but not in a mean way; he is dominant.

Day 1

My day was a mixed bag. I talked myself into teaching reading too. Oops! Other staff were very helpful. I’ve noticed some behavioral issues and academic problems. Somehow they stopped Writing in the afternoon. I told them after Recess that we were going to start Writing again. It did not go well. I anticipated behaviors over it and no one did anything wrong. So, I’m not entirely sure why I want to cut or binge/purge and I’m not sure of the identity of my current emotion. I suppose in hindsight I see things I could’ve done differently. Those differences may or may not have altered the outcome of the situation. For example, telling Ginny to come back to the room or reminding the kids that they didn’t have to work. They can say no thanks. We won’t force them to work, but that means they won’t earn their work check. My coworker said some of that, but I didn’t know because I was out of the room when he said it and I didn’t want to step on his toes or inflame the situation. Maybe I’m reproaching myself for those slight errors? It could’ve been worse and it could’ve been better.

I’m frustrated with myself for agreeing to do more work! Damn people pleasing and genuine annoyance at the lack of academic rigor. If my boss wants changes to Reading, she should ask the classroom supervisor in charge of Reading to change things. Although, I’d much rather teach Reading to everyone, than Science, History, and Writing. Granted, my boss said, “That won’t be any extra work, right? All you have to do is get library books and model elements of a story, etc.” I nodded in response. I failed.

 

Edit: I’m alternating between looking up how to teach paragraph structure to 7th graders, sleeping, researching state standards for 4th grade History, and binging. I haven’t purged or studied so far. I need to do both. I got my lowest grade so far on a test. 90. 😦 *sigh* I don’t think I can teach. I can read out of a book like Ashley does for History, but I don’t think I can let it go at that. Also, I don’t actually know how to teach someone to write an essay. On the bright side, I haven’t cut or whined to Ginny, or anyone else…yet.

Edit 2: Maybe I should go over the expectations (which aren’t actually different, but co-workers rarely followed through) in the morning. You earn break by earning all 3 checks. You’re responsible for earning checks. To earn your Do You Work check…

Edit 3: Since I talked myself into teaching Reading, maybe we could switch Reading and Writing. As of now, Writing is at the end of the day. There is no incentive to work because after class is over, they have one break and then they go home. We could also make Writing follow through to the next day if you have a behavior (other than sitting quietly and safely, but refusing to work). We could also change the contingency. If you complete your writing assignment and earn all your checks, you get a token, if you earn 5 tokens, you can exchange them for a 5 minute break card, which you can use at any point during the next week (if you’ve had a safe body that day, if you’re unsafe you can’t use your extra break card that day). Or If you complete your Writing, respectfully review it with staff and make any needed changes, you can go on break early.

Quiet Rooms and Playgrounds

Work has been good lately! I’m doing well accepting things I can’t control, even when I disagree with decisions. I’m still uneasy about the promotion, but I feel trapped now. Therefore, I’ll try it and hope it works out. I still freaking out over the potluck tomorrow. But I took youmeanme’s advice and planned 3 things I think I can handle.

The kids are mostly doing well. Gage was adorable yesterday and today! I didn’t work with him either day, however, I was in his classroom during the kids’ lunch. Yesterday he was on break and my student played baseball for his break. Gage sees me, walks over to the bin of gym equipment, grabs a basketball, tosses it at me, and says, “Come on”! We shoot baskets a lot when I work with him. 🙂 Later, during his lunch period, he was unusually subdued and laid on the floor without eating. About halfway through lunch, he sits up and plops down on a bean bag. Then he looks at me and pats the bean bag next to his. I prompted him, “If you want me to sit next to you, you can say, ‘Sit here please.'” He said it and I chilled out with him for the rest of lunch. Today I was in his room during lunch again. During the first 10 minutes of recess, we went outside. He sits down on a swing and I ask if I can swing with him. He said yes. I wasn’t really swinging because I needed to be ready to jump off if someone was in crisis. Apparently, Gage thought I needed help! He got off his swing and pushed me a few times, saying, “Wee! Awesome! So high! Gage!” It was cute!

I was with Cory today and David yesterday. David threw furniture both days. However, he WALKED himself to the quiet room, which is great progress!

Promotion Pros & Cons

may-your-choices-reflect-your-hopes-not-your-fears

Despite the above quote and the desire to be brave, this doesn’t look good! There are twice as many cons as pros.

Pros:

  1. $4,000 raise
  2. Practice managing people
  3. Practice teaching
  4. Practice giving people feedback about their behavior plan implementation
  5. My opinions might be listened to more/ have more weight/ be better respected
  6. I can ensure the behavior plans for the kids in my class are implemented with as much fidelity as possible and reasonable
  7. I won’t feel inferior to Ashley anymore
  8. It looks good on my resume

 

Cons:

  1. Stress because of increased responsibilities like lesson planning
  2. I might not be as good at teaching as Ashley. More than that, I might be bad at it! Therefore, I’ll look inept and stupid. Even worse, everyone will realize I’m unintelligent, inferior, and simply not good at my current job.
  3. I’ll never believe I deserve it because my boss refused to do interviews because of me. She wanted to hire me in June, but everyone else thought Ashley was better after her interview. As a result, she didn’t conduct interviews and just gave me the job.
  4. Lesson planning will take time. Knowing me, it will take lots of time (Ex. I planned lessons on Thanksgiving last year while I was a temporary classroom supervisor)
  5. I’ll feel responsible if the paraprofessionals in my room mess up implementation of plans or forget to fill out IEP data.
  6. I’ll have to wake up earlier
  7. Lesson planning is really hard when you have no idea what you’re doing! Incorporating state standards, etc. seems overwhelming.
  8. Plus, I’ll feel the need to make it interesting. I might take it personally (meaning, I did not do a good enough job making it fun and interesting) when kids have behaviors during my class.
  9. The way the kids’ academics are structured by “grade level” will mean I’m never satisfied with how hard it is for the kids (either too hard or not hard enough).
  10. A $4,000 raise isn’t that much of a pro because I’m a pathetic human being and don’t actually pay for most things (Ex. Rent)
  11. Parent-Teacher conferences
  12. I’ll be stuck with the same 3 or 4 kids forever, or at least, for many, many months, since we seem to switch up groups twice a year. I suppose I’m with the same 4 kids now, but I like working with those 4 kids the best! I’ll be stuck with kids I find boring.
  13. I know I’m good at my job. I’m secure in my worth compared to other people with my job. I might be the worst classroom supervisor!
  14. I won’t be able to be second on a kid to gain indirect experience hours
  15. I’ll have to teach topics I don’t really know much about. I don’t actually want to teach these subjects. I enjoy teaching reading and math, but that is it. I’m mad at myself for agreeing to let Ashley teach Math and I’d teach Science and History.
  16. I’ll be judged by higher standards as an employee and I might not meet those standards, which has a negative effect on my employment
  17. My boss won’t think well of me if I try this and crash and burn and have to ask to step-down. She might refuse to write a later letter of recommendation