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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Prayer of a Yiddishe Mamma

OK, maybe I should have gone into graphic design. Or accounting, programming, OT, architecture, pharmaceutical research, nursing, or one of the other fields that drew me when I declared "Education/Special Ed" as my major.

That said, it's too late to turn back now, at least until June.

No, it's not that bad. I'm just tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling incompetent though I know it's not my fault that 'they' didn't give me enough to work with in advance. Now I just need to pull through until Succos and then I get a week to relax and prepare my game plan so we can start fresh after vacation.

No amount of college courses could have prepared me for how very difficult and heartbreaking special education is in action. Just the same, no one would have been able to make me believe -- before -- that I'd start feeling "nachas" so soon. I feel like throwing a party every time one of my kids does something that was hard for him or learns something new. Then I come home and beat my head against the wall until an idea falls out for what I can possibly do tomorrow!

OK, now for the story. I do (usually) have a reason for my titles, you know:
....So it's Wednesday night and to say it's been a hard week wouldn't do it justice. There's only one day left but I don't think I can make it that far. I want to prepare so I can get some sleep already but every time I think about having to go back in the morning I just start crying helplessly...
....So I come in on Thursday sketchily prepared, at best. Guess what? My lil' Nightmare (Dreamer -- you like this better than Mr. Attitude?) is absent. My day goes great (relatively) and all the kids get full marks on their behavior charts for the very first time! At least now I know it's not just me, all those other times...
....Still on the verge of collapse, I practically float into the house and yell out the news I just told you: "GUESS WHAT?! My Attitude didn't come to school today!" It may be the first time my family's seen me smile since August.
....Mom doesn't look surprised. Instead, she calmly says...
...................."Oh, good. I davened he should be absent today."
Keep praying, Mom. Only nine months left...

And now, Ladies and Gentlemen: The pictures you've all been waiting for!
Sorry about the crummy quality. I didn't have a real camera handy.

Anyway, as you can clearly see, the sign on the door says "Miss Melech's class: Where every person shines" and each kid's name is written on a star.

And here is the famous, theme-coordinated behavior chart. Each student has his name on a rocket and is trying to "Reach for the Stars."
And on the way, they have plenty of opportunities to earn... get this... ready?
STAR BUCKS!

How cute is that? The kids totally don't get it but the point is that it cracks me up. I wish I had a picture to post, but I'm sure you can imagine the idea...

Anyway, when/why did this start turning into a personal chat blog? That was SO not supposed to happen! Oh well. Let me know how you like it. And by the way, vote in my poll on the upper right. I refuse to accept that I only have 6 readers with an opinion...

10 comments:

halfshared said...

Firstly, these personal posts are great! Keep it up. I voted last week already. Also, this story you wrote about is just amazing! Keep praying that this child should NOT need special ed. Your signs looks great. Having helped my sister who is a teacher with her signs, I know how much goes into it. I never knew how much effort goes into teaching until I had on in-house teacher. I also used to think that teachers LOVE school and LOVE tests and LOVE giving assignments and HATE snow days. Now that I see the other side of the story, I truly appreciate all the teachers that made a difference in my life. Keep it up..things WILL get easier. Hang in there girl!

The Dreamer said...

the signs look awesome.

no, i don't approve of the new name.

:)

nuch a chosid said...

beautiful!

wishing u a gut gebencht yohr!

Anon101 said...

Having worked intensly with children with special educational needs for quite a few years, I know how frustrating it can be. How some days you are not even able to give over the lesson you prepared but know that in the end it is worth it, the children see the love you give more than the fancy charts (although they are truely beautifully) and that eventually (with a large dose of reinforcing behavioral barriers) it is worth it. The more you harvest the more you reap. :)

Bas~Melech said...

HS- My in-house teacher made it look like real fun... Anyway, thanks.

Dreamer- I know, I just had to put that in for you :P

Nuch- Thanks, same to you. Nice to see you around these parts again.

101- You've been there? And you're still alive? Ah, hope...

David_on_the_Lake said...

I love the personal touch..
You sound like an amazing teacher..
We sooo dont appreciate our teachers and our kids teachers..
Just so admirable..how much work and effort..and creativity goes into everything..

bad4shidduchim said...

Wow. Did you have no idea what special ed was about?

I know it's a field with great returns, but I also know I haven't got the energy it takes to do that every day after day...

Good luck! Think about the end and the middle will be more bearable. Also remember that if you switch to accounting, this will be your last chance to make such a difference in children's lives.

Bas~Melech said...

Shidduchim (Sorry, can't bring myself to call you "Bad")- Yes, I had an idea what Special Ed is about. It's my major (almost there...) and I have some experience in the field. But I was never in a class quite like this one, and from what I hear from the pros it's a bummer of an assignment. I've heard worse, but most people at least have an aide, maybe some more structure... Whatever, I'm happy with my job, I just need to adjust and work some things out.

I'm not sure if I have enough energy to keep this up... I really never wanted to be a classroom teacher in the long run. I'm doing this for the experience, but eventually I hope to be the pull-outer instead of the one who has to teach between the pull-outs!

DOTL- As much as I used to think I appreciated what teachers do, I never fully comprehended it nearly as much as I do as a teacher. It is totally unbelievable how long every little thing takes between planning and execution, never mind the paperwork -- a topic for another post, perhaps!

Leo said...

I still think the best for women to help children is to get married and have children of their own and push other women to do the same. You can do much more as a mother then you can as a teacher. A job is a job. You should do something you are good at but it is a job. I always looked as a job more of a way to help support a family and recognize the limitation of any job. I know that is being a little old fashioned.

Bas~Melech said...

Right. A job is a means of earning money. And I'm choosing to earn my money by helping kids learn. If one wants to have a family, as you mentioned, it is prudent to try to earn something...

Welcome :)