In my last post, I was busy counting the blessings of holding a job that many people, at the mention of, may run and cower
Looks can be deceiving.
So far, I've hit up 3 of 5 very good ways my job can be easier than the typical middle school teacher:
1) The evils of Inclusion: 2) Academic freedom:
3) Isolation--the good kind
4) A good excuse for bad behavior
Any given day at my job promises some sort of behavior abnormality and/or dysfunction amongst the students. A day free of that would be, frankly, a little bit scary. But I signed up for my fair share of bad behavior when I signed my name on the line to an ED position. Though I'm not saying I'm always going to handle the run-of-the-mill outburst, shut down, or work refusal with total grace, my tolerance runs quite high for it because these kids are coming in the door with a piece of paper (the IEP) that's a license for deviance.
What really tests my limits? The kids who act much the same way but without the piece of paper that says their behavior is medically/psychologically/intellectually proven. They're just plain old bad boys and girls. Degenerates, menaces to society, what is this world coming to? When I was their age....! Yeah, regular education kids quickly turn me into stubborn, crotchety old man convinced the world is going down the drain with every new generation of kids. They're the future of America, for crying out loud!
And my kids? The ED population? Well, they get a free pass.
And finally, the ultimate reason my job is better than other teachers'...
5) Blondes (from a bottle) have more fun--particularly when they're special ed. teachers
With all the freedom and isolation and good excuse for bad behavior, Annie and I really make those lemons into lemonade as often as we can.
I ask of those in the mainstream teaching profession: When was the last time you helped out a student too nervous to present in front of the class by giving him a pink handle bar mustache to wear while he did it?Or how about required everyone to end all of their sentences with "Meow". Taught a lesson on how to express emotions using finger eyebrows and mustaches? ( Mustaches are a pretty big deal in Room 501).
While using humor in the classroom is sort of an afterthought in the good teacher textbook of your undergrad years, it's pretty much a prerequisite to developing solid relationships with students and getting things accomplished. I don't know about you, but a job where inciting laughter is mandatory and you actually get a decent salary and benefits to do it (sorry, stand-up comedians), sounds like a sweet deal to me.