donderdag 30 juni 2011
School Is Out!!!!
Ladies & gentlemen, Stallie can now officially state that she has unplugged all her electric devices and closed the windows of her classroom! Yeah!!!! I am so relieved that I made it into one piece out of the schoolbuilding because there were rather painful moments the last few weeks to deal with. I might have come out bruised and my heart aches a bit but I can now start to unwind.
So here I am now in the middle of unplugging myself. My body tells me that I went in overdrive and I am crashing. The burning process is one that will show off its powers in the next 48 hours. The tonsil stones already drive me insane. My appetite is non existing and my mind is spinning. Make-up is useless to cover up the darker spots. I am trying to find back my center. To find back that one spot where I can feel totaly at ease with myself. Because for the moment the 7 second rule about me breathing out I am totaly screwing up.
Today I wasn't the nicest individual to be around with. But then most teachers do need to cool down at this time of the year. Bad karma everywhere and also lots of touchy minds. Including myself. I always lose my focus around this time of the year. I see it coming. Every year about two to three weeks before the end there lands a tremendous huge brick on my head. My brain then makes very funny and hard to understand jumps. I am swimming out there in a stormy ocean and no landing place in sight. Nothing seems to help in order to snap out of it.
Yes, teacher are so much spoiled when it comes to free time. And I bet that if you are not a teacher that your vocab describing this profession is not always very flattering. But then I challenge you to come and spend the final month in a school and you will want to check into a mental institution. All the bottled up sensations that were stored away for 9 months are suddenly spilled all over the place. So today I was ready to get carried away in one of those straitjackets and take some Vicodin.
I snapped at people today and even started to cry at the most awkward moments. In between those rather pathetic sounding acts I passed out report cards, had meaning ful talks with caring parent &emotional pupils, did I ran through the hallways trying to shake of all the negative energy and did I had to store away all my personal teaching tools (lots of cookies and candy!!). My body on the other hand was already telling me that I was about to hit the wall but I needed to push a bit further to make it to the finish line.
And that final push came today in a rather strange form. On this final day of the school year I was asked to join a colleague for a house call. Yes, we teacher pay parents and pupils a visit in case they just seem not to be able to come and see us. It was not a 'happy' visit. Because yes, even in special ed there are children who not make the grades or do not live up to the expectations of many.
I am very big on talents and when I once have figured out what the talents are of the kids that are under my care I start to coach them to use these at their fullest potential. Today I was sitting on a chair and did I have to talk very clear language to a pupil who has got the potential but stored away those talents in a very dark spot. One of these pupils who if he/she would try a bit harder would get so much out of his/her abilities.
Instead I was facing a broken person who seemed totally lost. Who just did not talk clear language. Whose bodylanguage just wanted me to grab him/her by the shoulders and then just trying to get that positive energy back into him/her. My mind was screaming 'please snap out of it' and 'You only get one shot at this and you will regret it sooner of later' or 'Please focus again on the things that truely matter in life'. You can bet that I was tired and that inside of me there was a vulcano about to errupt.
When I signed up 13 years ago for a special ed I did know that I was putting my signature under a contract that was not covering all the bases. Special ed is in many ways so much more then just teaching numbers and facts. One look at the kids who I pushed 10 months along I can state that I am kind of happy and content. Some of them will be able to enjoy a very relaxing summer and some will have to face the consequences of the choices they made. So am I.
I can tell you that I have seen some very young kids making life-altering decessions and this on their own. This at a age that all I had to care about was getting my home work done in time and if I wanted to ketchup on my French Fries. In special ed there is never enough time, is there always the constant back ground noise of a ticking clock that might end up in a bomb if you make the 'wrong' calls.
Today I faced a kid who made some judgement calls that I just could not put my head around. Because what I had seen once was so much more that was now left over of this person. The broken pieces where all over the floor and the energy that was hanging around in that room made me shiver. Eyes were constantly searching for the right place to hang out at and that was not my colleague or me.
We ended up having a rather fierce discussion with 6 people about the future of one person. Have I seen glimpses of what the future might have in store for this person? Yes, because the moment I made this pupil recall the talk we once had in class what I think about people with hidden talents I got to see a smile and no it was not a fake one.
And then it happened. That one moment in time that the world comes to a complete stand still and that you just know that you did connect. That he/she was listening to me when I pointed this out in my classroom. He/she did pay attention!!! Our eyes met and the smile was genuine and my heart jumped up.
Do I make sense that the person who drove to that house was not the same person who came back from that trip? You have not been there with me. You have not met up with the dark forces out there. You have not seen the destruction that was going on in that mind of that 'hurt' soul. You have not felt the fear and the total lack of direction. But at the same time there was hope visible, perhaps only for a split second but I do strongly believe that it might make the difference. That this house call might make this pupil reconsider some things.
It was for sure not a fun park to hang out with some friends. So then it is very hard to make clear what I am trying to tell you what these kind of situations make me suddenly be aware of the real mission I signed up for. It is very awkward when it happens that you do feel so damn right about a decission. Stallie had one of these very intens moments today that 'helped' her. Nobody close to me at that moment was aware of it but in a way it even saved me.
The tears that fell down behind some closed doors I just tried to whipe away asap. The warm hugs and sincere compliments and smiles that I experienced I try to hold on for the two coming months. Because the negative energy hiding out there I just did not wish to pack up in the filled up trunk with left overs of this school year. This teacher was out on a bumpy road and was many times dissapointed in what she got to see and feel.
The last few days I did have not my best moments. But then I have seen also others not having their best moments. I just am happy that I did snap out of it before I was going to make a greater fool of myself. Today around 11.45 I did find out once more why I want to be a special ed teacher and it not just teach in front of a classroom. I am in for the full ride.
P.S.: The end of the game!! I have told many of pupils the last few weeks that play time is over and that they have to be prepared to meet up with the biggest challenge ever the next coming year: themselves! And on top of that this is one of Stallie her all time favorites where she can just let go and let all the emotions get out of her system.