Wednesday, January 28, 2009

conversations

so what do you teach? the girl sitting beside me at the teacher in-service asked.
kindergarten and first grade special ed, i replied, with my 'isn't my job wonderful' voice reserved for those who teach the upper grades and assume teaching kindergarten is all roses and rainbows. the teacher i was talking to taught middle school.

the girl on the other side of me snorted with laughter. 'yeah, isn't that the best?' she replied. 'ah, the temper tantrums, the unreasonableness of a five year old with special needs, the fact that while you know you're doing the right thing everyone in the building assumes you can't control your children? the physical exhaustion, the dread of having to walk children into the hallway? the eyes of your coworkers, nicely suggesting 'just be more structured' and you want to stuff their suggestion up their rear ends?'

the middle school teacher looked horrified.

'i use to teach kindergarten, now i'm in second grade' the teacher smiled. 'but i remember, all too well'.

yeah, i laughed, that about sums it up.

it's always nice to hear someone else describe your job that way. to be reminded that i'm not crazy, there are others out there, getting those same 'what's wrong with you?' looks, the same 'you should...' suggestions from those who don't know...

thank you stranger for reminding me i'm not alone.

3 comments:

eiela said...

There is not enough money in the world to convince me to teach kindergarten. If the choice was between that and NO job, living in a box under an overpass, you'd probably find me in a box. I love them individually, and for about half an hour for library time--but 20 little people all day? And the pressure of being their first exposure to school? uh-uh. I love reading your stories, and I am thrilled there are people like you out there! I have so much respect for our K teacher--they've all been teaching K longer than I've been in this world.

M said...

Chin up kid, it's worse when you are the parent and you have kidless couples judging you at a book store. All you can do is throw the kid over you shoulder and saunter out like it's perfectly natural. I have nothing but respect, because I know you are doing the right thing. Hard as it may be.

organized chaos said...

M,
Thank you! You are so right- being a special ed teacher in a school is entirely different than being a parent out in public. We have a signifigant amount of children with autism at my church, and we are always looking at ways to help the other families understand the needs of our friends with autism during worship. It's so easy for them to judge when they don't understand.
I am fascinated by your blog. It's incredible. When did you begin it? What a great way to keep in touch and on the same page.