I truly had no idea what I was really getting into when I signed up to be a teacher.
Large class size, no problem. Students that range in abilities that span the range of pre-K to 6th grade - sure bring it on. I’ll differentiate all day long.
A student that is legally blind - no problem - we’ll work it out. A homeless child or two, can do.
Take less pay for more hours than I’ve ever worked in my life? Absolutely.
What I was not prepared for was the desperate, emotional needs of the students. There are so many who need so much and it’s completely overwhelming.
When I began this year, I was warned about a few students from past teachers. I was told they were ADD or ADHD and incredibly hard to handle. Recently I ran into a coworker who said, “Oh, wow. You have Student A in your class. They were in my summer school class and could not sit still at all. Oh, and I see you also have Student B. They bounce all over the place too and just wouldn’t pay attention to any of my lessons. How do you do it?”
Girl, please. Those children are the EASY ones to deal with. They might be bouncing all over the place, but they are manageable.
What I’m not equipped to deal with are students that are still sucking their thumb at 8 years old and hide under the table. Students who begin sobbing, punching, kicking and hitting at any given moment because they are upset and don’t have coping skills. Students that simply don’t do anything, flop backward in their chair and then won’t move because they are looking for attention any way they can get it. Students that attack other students with desks or run after other students in the classroom saying “I’m going to end you!” Students that have to be chased down by our school counselor, school psychologist and the school police officer because they are running a muck.
I was not prepared for students that are so emotionally distressed, they scream at the top of their lungs when other students are bothering them and will not calm down or even leave the classroom without several administrators coming in to handle them while I’m trying to teach place value.
What’s really upsetting is that I have a large group of students that are there daily, ready to learn and I CAN’T GET TO THEM because I’m dealing with the emotional circus they call my classroom.
I’m lucky to have a large group of people in place to help me, but they are constantly fighting the same battles with children in other rooms all day long. I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. They are to be commended. I am so thankful for the love and support and the giving that these people do every day - not for money - not for the accolades - but for the kids.
Behavioral Specialists, School Counselors, School Peace Officers - I am truly grateful to all of you for your endless dedication to children who obviously need you and for your beautiful souls that truly care and are doing your best to make any bit of difference that you can. You are amazing and we see you.
Classroom Teacher Doctor of Education
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