A question for my fellow educators: Is it bad when, after the first day of school, you spend 7-12 minutes speculating on possible self-inflicted injuries that could land you on medical leave for an extended period? Is it pissy to be annoyed at the fact that the district computers are incapable of opening the eleven documents that have been electronically transmitted, and by which we are required to take attendance sixteen times a day?
I didn’t think so!
It’s not the kids. Except for the part of the kids that talk incessantly and listen to exactly two directions out of the approximate 73 directions given today, many of them repeatedly and with visual aids.
“To make this flip book about the amazing behavior choices that will enable you to become a role model, you will first WRITE this—-THIS THING THAT I HAVE WRITTEN ON THE BOARD IN HUGE LETTERS—-each and every student will WRITE these words as your heading before you do anything else!”
Student: “Are we supposed to write something here?”
Get to know you activity: First Day of School Questionnaire. Question 3: Name the state or province where you were born.
Student (non-refugee, white American) response: Country. When pressed, he stuck by his guns, reiterating that he did, indeed, mean “country.”
Me, in pastel voice: ” You’re pretty sure you were born in Country? Me too! Sweetie, can you go home today and check to find out which country that was?” Sweet baby Jesus, the kid who wrote “Africa” as his state or province can tell me he was born in Kenya.
There is a program in our district designed to provide intensive intervention for kids who have SEVERE and continuous behavior problems. There is a lengthy process of data collection that must be navigated in order for a student to earn a coveted spot in this program. This is reserved for students who are extremely disruptive on a daily basis. When one goes through this process at the end of the school year, and it is determined that the student needs this extreme intervention, the student will actually start the school year in this program. It’s established—the child needs very structured intervention in a very small group setting before he can try the general ed setting again.
I have one of those in my class, slated to begin his new program today.
Guess who showed up on my doorstep this morning? Severe-and-Continuous-Disruptive-Behavior-Boy! It would seem (according to the grapevine, not an appropriate communication of this information) that our district has not closed negotiations with this program and has failed to contract with them in time for these super at-risk kids to start the school year where their parents are expecting them to begin. Way to go, school reformers! What a relief that you are in charge!
Did this child smack other kids today?
Did he make fart noises several times over the course of the day?
Did he refuse to return to the classroom with the rest of the students, after we practiced your typical first day procedures in the hall?
Is it fair to this kid that his plans have been abruptly changed?
God bless us, everyone.