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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Learning Ain’t Easy – by Helen

The principal called me to come into his office and stated, “Ms. Warden, so far from what I have seen and heard about your teaching has not been the best.” He goes on to tell me about the complaints he heard about me. Ironically, those complaints did not come from my students’ parents but by a few faculty members. He tells me how I should take my two students outside more and play ball or something with them than just be in the classroom. He likes to see all students “engaged” but did not consider lying in the beanbag looking at a book or needing to take a “break” while listening to soft music or playing a “game” on the computer was engagement.

When I finally got a chance to say my piece, I told him I was tired, burned out, and frustrated. I asked him if he would like someone in his face or with him eight hours a day. I told him I had to change diapers (although according to the union, it’s not my job), dodge flying objects such as books, “toys”, object noises/sounds, assist in feeding, my assistant inconsistent attendance and tardiness and bossy and negative attitudes, and how one of my students will grab at my face as he draws it near to his. I told him how frustrated I was about the staff and how the negative comments I heard affected me yet all the while it was ok for the teacher across the hall to call her students “stupid”. I was burned out because this was not the area in which I was prepared or expected to teach (“you were transferred to our school to be an autistic teacher”) despite my other credentials in the 18 years of teaching special ed. and the additional certifications I have.

This class did not meet my expectations of students who wanted learn or at least pretended that they did not want to learn. I had high expectations for my students yet, this year I did not achieve my goals. Yet, I have learned quite a bit more about myself–I have been challenged! I have stayed afloat. And as for my students, I have seen much more progress in other areas than those that I had originally focused on. Learning ain’t easy….but I have learned quite a bit.

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