Sunday, 6 February 2011
My New Life As A Non Maths Teacher
So people have been asking 'how is the new job going?' I guess it's a little early to tell but I gotta say from where I'm sitting now...I'm loving it.
I'm working 4 days and deliberately taking a whole day off, unlike my previous job where I was 4 days scattered over 5 and staying way over the 5 on most weeks anyway. I am the Special Education Co-ordinator from Reception (Kindergarten) to Year 12 and I have two amazingly talented SSOs (School Support Officers) working under me. I used to work at this school 5 years ago, before Himself, before marriage and step children, and I loved it then too. The Baby Angel went to this school before she made the move to my Alma Mater and had a wonderful time there; although not quite so wonderful on the academic front ....due mainly to her having....a wonderful time!!! :-D.
Previously, I worked mainly in the Primary section of the school; this covers children from 5 years of age to approximately 11 years. I had also taken a small group of rowdy boys in Year 8 for three lessons a week in what was called 'Additional English'. This subject was offered instead of a language to those pupils with diagnosed disabilities or learning difficulties and was used variously for spelling and grammar consolidation, the development of writing skills and curriculum support in areas such as maths, science and SOSE . At one point, in response to the protestations of the 'rowdy group of boys', who said they didn't need to learn spelling and reading as they were going to work in the hospitality industry, we planned and ran a cafe for staff in the school hall. This was a 'laugh a minute' exercise and resulted in most of them deciding they were never working hospitality again! :-D Well, at least I taught them something.
The Additional English group worked so well that it has been developed in the time I have been away to include Years 7, 8 and 9. As well as my co-ordination role, I take 8 lessons of Add English a week in the Middle School.
The final part of the job is developing the pathway for students with disabilities as they progress through into Senior School. With the advent of the New SACE, most pupils with disabilities should be able to complete 12 years of education in a mainstream school at their own level. The SACE is, in effect, an attendance certificate but be that as it may, schools are being called to respond to this challenge and provide inclusive education for all, way past the point at which they would have done in the past.
So last Monday the kids came back.
I had been given a run down on the main 'pupils with issues' by my predecessor who has moved to another area of the school to focus on Gifted and Talented education. Now, I distinctly remember her saying "Don't worry about Albus until week 5. His mum takes him in isolation as he's too violent to be allowed in the classroom. He has 'oppositional defiant disorder'.
Me: *gulp* And how old is he?
Predecessor: Oh he's six.
Six. And too violent to be allowed in a classroom. This was going to be an interesting one in 5 weeks time.
Guess who was sitting in my classroom drawing a picture of a 'potion' at 8am on the first Monday back?
It was a particularly good picture of a potion complete with red and black stripes, bubbles and a testube like container. Albus looked me in the eye,
"I'm waiting for my mum. She's talking to the Principal."
"Yes. She's got to go to work."
So much for working in isolation until week 5.
And that's how I came to spend a whole day with Albus, who was still too violent to be allowed back in the classroom, but apparently not violent enough to be a threat to the Angel with the Flaming Sword.
"Do you want a knuckle sandwich?" he asked me volubly a few hours later as I insisted he complete a task before playing with Lego and after I had walked him hand over hand to the rubbish bin to dispose of the pieces of ripped up paper which were all that remained of a worksheet I had been helping him with.
"I don't think so," I replied,"but I'll let you know if I change my mind."
The next day Albus's mum decided to take him back to the public system where he will be expelled within 5 minutes and then be eligible for the intensive behaviour unit. We simply didn't have the funding to go through the one on one process of re-establishing boundaries and re-introducing him to the classroom. A shame really. I had a wonderful day with him.
Of course, today the seemingly angelic Year 8 and 9s of last week have started to grow horns so I guess I will have plenty of Flaming Sword work to do as it is. Better get on with it.
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