dinsdag 1 september 2009
New talents in the class room!
Well, my first day back at work is history! I did manage to get there in time and I did have my keys close to me this time. Walking through the hallways and trying to find my balance seemed not that bad this time. Still facing the pupils is something that still feels like I am walking for the very first time on high heels.
I then count till ten, before I open up my lesson folder, look into a classroom to know what I heading for. Today I got 9 new kids in front of me checking me out from top to toe! Starring at me and I did stare back.
Me being called a rather mean teacher do spend much time on explaining MY rules.
Guidelines they know thanks to the school regulation booklet but hey, I was a teenager myself and never bothered to read them all. So I made my own list of ten rules that I consider outmost important. Some of them are so straightforward like being polite and helpful. They start to yawn and almost fall asleep. Because I do follow the words of Robbie Williams before picking up my pupils:’ Let me entertain you!' I then turn on my engine one gear higher and we are off.
Remembering speech team I do know that your audience needs some action. That is then exactly what I do give them. Imitations of their own attitudes, jokes they tell, curses, they all get it back! For free and they LOL!!!!! It seems like they recognise themselves right there!
I point out that I will give all my pupils tons of chances but I do hope that they will do their very best as well!!! Pushing forward and grabbing my hand in case of an emergency! No big deal but they will need to show me what they got.
Special Ed kids have no self esteem so ever. They are very vulnerable, shout and kick and go in overdrive in no time. Your classroom can change into boxing ring in no time.
Every year I get into encounters with less smiley faces and yes I will jump right into the action with the risk of getting hurt. These kids feel so out of place in this society. Shame they express when they call their school by name. They would even rip out the first page of their school diaries in order to feel more normal. Some will even admit that they lie when they are asked to what school they go!!!
But I feel so privileged to work with these kids. More then once a year I witness incredible things. When I walk into the woodwork department I face that one bookcase that I would kill for. Or seeing my pupils welding beautiful fences make me feel so humble. The logistic aids that seem to have the patience to talk with sometimes the less friendly over 80 year old people is also something I do admire.
These teenagers have already faced more fights in their lives then I ever will. Every day when they enter the school building they face the one big fear: failure! Life is not always kind to them. School is in some cases the only safe harbour they have left. And yes, the ones that seem so hard to handle are the ones that keep coming back.
The faces I have seen today in my classroom I hope to see them all at the end of this year. But honestly I don’t get too attached to them because some of them will get involved in a very emotional and psychlogical wargame and perhaps will just give up. But they can be also sure that this teacher won't let got that easily!
Me being a religion teacher I do believe strongly in some stuff that is told in the Bible. I love some of the stories that are in there. Sounds perhaps a bit naïve but I do think that in many books with a spiritual message there are meaningful things to be read. The story of the talents was my dad’s favourite in order to point out that you were responsible for making it work.
So this week I am on talent search and I do feel a bit like the jury on Britain’s got talent. The big difference between me and those juries is that I am the one who needs to point out very strongly that they do have talents! Only convincing them of that fact takes also some time. And the harder I shout at them to more I do believe in them!
Hey, yes I made the national newspapers with a quote about my experiences in teaching and those words stand for what lesson I did really learn on day one in Special Ed! ‘When I need help, I will ask for it!!’ is a sentence that I carry into my class room every day of the year. In front of me are not sitting helpless cases but kids who are ready to fight back! And they can relax, sit back and enjoy the show because this 'mean' teacher has got a first aid kit close by. I just hope one thing and that is that at the end of the year that my class room is not looking like a sick bay!