So, I am "student teaching" this summer to finish up my masters in ASD (Autism Spec. Disorder). I was thinking that this experience would be like the one that I did eons ago for my bachelors. Um, how wrong was I? MAJORILY wrong!!! I found out last week (classes started today) that not only would I not be in an early childhood/elementary room - I would be in with high school kids and I, yes me would be the teacher with a para pro. FOR REAL? I know how to make play dough and teach kids how to be nice to each other. I know NOTHING about high up and what is expected of them and what these kids could do.
So last week, while I was being told about my group of 6, 15 year olds I started to get really anxious and it took me 4 days and about a total of 10 hours to write my lesson plans for the first week. This is not normal to me. I am (if I may toot my own horn) creative, fun, quick on my feet, and a pretty awesome teacher. I was told my group was low functioning but to still teach to the GLCE (state standards) even though these kids are completing hs and not graduating. So I made these lesson plans that included group activities, sorting of many different kinds of objects, place settings and floral arrangements (job readiness) and for Science we were doing the senses.
School was supposed to start at 8:30, the buses got there between 8:15 and 8:45. The minute the kids hit my room, we were up and running. Out of my 6 kids, all of them are nonverbal, 3 of them are runners, 1 stood by the door and jumped up and down for 3 hours (I got him to put crayons into the package and that was a HUGE success - or so the para pros tell me), I have 2 that have potty problems. All of them seem to have some sort of obsession with the bathroom, I had kids coming in and out of my classroom bathroom in all states of undress and had my biggest kid (about 320 lbs) come out of the bathroom with no shorts or underwear on because he had an accident. I have never seen so many privates in my life!
The big kid's twin brother is not so big and talks like Darth Vader all day long. He recites lines from Star Wars and I almost peed my pants when I first heard it. He for sure made my day. He likes to be patted on the back too. It seemed to calm him down and me down at the same time. I have one who keeps his hands down his pants all day long and we had to keep telling him to wash his hands constantly and he would just laugh really loudly and then go wash his hands. The boy who stood by the door all day jumping and then sprinting across the room seems like he wants some interaction with others, but doesn't know what to do. He participated a little bit during science when it involved food, and they ALL sat down together at the table for snack. Which was totally their bad, because now I know that they can all sit down, be patient, and wait their turn when it's something they want. So, Ah HA! I got their number. We might all gain 10 pounds in the next 5 weeks, but at least they will learn something from me!
I was really upset that I my plans didn't go as I expected and I feel like I should have done more then, just kept them busy with matching, sorting, and puzzles. My para pro has been in the school for a long time and she said I did a good job, but she might have just been being nice since she has to work with me for the next 5 weeks.
Now that the first day is over, I know that tomorrow isn't going to be miraculously different, but I know what more to expect. I have different activities planned, and we are going to be doing some cutting and pasting since their pencil/paper skills aren't that great. FIRST thing in the morning we are going to go over bathroom procedures and how to knock! I saw wayyyy too much bush today and would like to keep that down to a minimum from now on.
Out of my kids, I have a soft spot for the twins. They have the sweetest faces in the world. Although, when I put away the snacks I thought for sure that the big one was going to body slam me for more goldfish. However, his brother made it better by using his hand as a puppet all day long and taking like Darth Vader..."Luke I am your father." Another one of my kids I think has narcolepsy. He is incredibly intelligent but he echos back what you say. If you give him a task he does it and then immediately falls asleep. I've never really seen anything quite like it. Then again - all kids who have Autism are completely different. I am hoping to make this experience better, and I think that I might be happier changing diapers at home and not at school - but I miss the babies. I miss the crying and all that good stuff. I remember my first student with Asperger's. The first day of preschool 6 years (almost 7) years ago he sat on my lap all day long and slept. Gosh - I love babies :)
So, here's to the babies that end up growing up into men and women....someone's gotta love and teach them...I guess it will be me!