I didn’t post last weekend. I was revelling in the fact that it was still holidays and I really didn’t want to have to think about anything at all. I was also oblivious to the student who was about to start in my class on the Monday. This student gave me the most challenging start to the term that I have ever had.
Each new term is like starting a new year at our school. We constantly have new students arriving for their six-month program and students leaving to go to their mainstream schools. You know you’re in for a doozy of a student when the Student Welfare Co-ordinator asks to speak to you about a new student before the term has even begun. That was me last Monday.
So this student started. He immediately stuck out like a sore thumb. His demeanour was distracted and slightly nervous. He has probably the worst buck teeth that I have ever seen which makes it hard for him not to dribble. He has autism-like traits with different sensory issues and behaviours. He has been brought up by grandma and grandpa until now. Now he is living with Mum and Dad who are struggling to know how best to parent him. Thankfully, they are on board and are willing to get some assessments done to see what assistance he needs. At least we are not having to convince them that their son needs some sort of help. We are not a school that typically accepts students with special needs because our focus is on teaching English as an Additional Language but unless he gets a formal diagnosis, he might be staying with us.
He looks like he has the capacity to learn but to throw into the mix, he can be very naughty. He wanted to place paper into the sports bin because it looks like a rubbish bin. He wanted to continue picking flowers in sports time, despite two teachers telling him “No.” He wanted to take his shoes off because they annoyed his feet and he wanted to explore the telephone after I had needed to call the office. He may not have ever had much in the way of boundaries place on him. Certainly, by day four, he had worked out that he needs to speak to me in English. He said something to me in his first language. I just looked at him, even though I knew what he wanted. He looked at me and said, “Toilet, please.”
So in amongst starting a new term (ie. year), adjusting to the start of daylight savings, and having this child who has so many issues, I found last week overwhelming and somewhat traumatizing – to the point of being so exhausted I was numb. I had no ability to sit down and do anything that was relaxing or enjoyable after school because it was like my brain hurt.
When have you ever experienced a crazy week in teaching like this?
Have you ever been exhausted to the point of being numb? I’d love to know that I am not the only one. Let me know.