Friday, September 9, 2011

Not a Saint, Maybe a Poet, Definitely Crazy

Something compelled me to pursuit a full-time job. Oh, maybe something to the effect that I am not getting any younger, I have no retirement plan and it’s time for a shake down. Well, I got it. I am working full-time in a self-contained classroom composed of autistic children. They are amazing beings. I personally am wired in an odd way with the MS business and all, but I can only imagine what the electrical impulses look like in their brains. It is fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. You see the manifestations of their misfirings in everything from trying to hit you because they can’t express their frustrations and pains, or by screaming because they cannot move from doing one thing to another without utter chaos in their minds. The chaos pours out as bad behavior in their bodies and sometimes you have to be quick to not get the brunt of their feelings. I have never been more physically and mentally exhausted from a job. I hope I can keep going. I am already attached to the kids and wonder how each day will go and hope for the best. As a parent of a child who is mildly “on the spectrum” I understand how hard it is to see the future for these fragile little people, because first, you have to get through today, or the next thirty seconds. We hope for the best and for a tolerant world that will support and embrace these unique children. The crazy part is dealing with the bureaucracy of a big school system and the struggles of the teachers to mesh as much as possible with the mainstream. With no planning period and no actual breaks at all, the days are long (esp. since they are 45 min longer than last year) and beyond comprehension in terms of physical output. Currently, the district is trying to figure out how to measure these teachers in the “Pay for Performance” metric. Too bad sweat equity isn’t quantifiable in this case. If anyone is still out there, thank you for reading!