Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Life as a Teacher

This week I've had little moments. Things that showed me why I'm a teacher. There have been moments where I've wanted to pull my hair out, but they haven't made me want to quit my job. They've made me want to work harder.

Tonight I watched the documentary TEACH and was excited to see something real. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched one of the teachers practically pull their hair out after a test her students took. I've done it myself on many days. It broke my heart when a teacher watched her students make a mistake on a district test and say, they've done this a thousand times, why did they get it wrong today?

When I changed schools I thought I'd be saying goodbye to my autism spectrum kiddos. It turns out I was wrong. And I'm sooo happy about that. It turns out a decent chunk of our kids are on the high functioning end of the spectrum. Lauren and I have decided to focus on what each of our kids needs and we are going to unofficially divide up our kids.

As we've started the year, we've discovered our kids each have one teacher they connect with more than the other. The thing I love about teaching with Lauren is that neither one of us cares if the other is the favorite teacher of a student. As long as they are connecting with one of us, that's all that matters. We've quickly discovered that I connect with the autism spectrum kids and she connects with the emotional kids. Not necessarily emotionally disabled, but more kids whose disorder has made them have more emotional reactions to situations.

Yesterday the social skills struggles were KILLING me! Most teachers would scream. Instead I turned to Lauren as I was about to yell, busted up laughing with her, and randomly created a social skills group on the fly!

Yesterday I read a book and when we were done the kids were expected to write two facts that they learned from the non-fiction book. Suddenly one kid said, "What book?" COMPLETELY SERIOUSLY!! He completely checked out for the entire book I read for 15 minutes! I wanted to scream. And then I realized which kid it was. He struggles with both expected/unexpected behavior and auditory processing. I realized just how much I need to work with this kid!

The social skills group I have been talking about for a week  suddenly became real. We have a new speech teacher who is actually going to do the formal pragmatics group, but I'm going to supplement it. We have several kids who need it throughout the day/week, and a group 1-2 times a week just isn't going to cut it.

This week has once again pointed out why I'm a teacher. I love it. Every minute...even the ones where I want to pull my hair out. I realize I want to scream when the kids don't get it because it means I care about them and their ability to get smarter and better at life.

Teaching is not just a job to me. It's become who I am. I write my dorky teacher blog, I create custom materials for my students, I write emails to authors who I love so that I can share the love of reading to my students. I do it all because being a teacher is who I am. I can't imagine doing anything else for a career.

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