Friday, July 27, 2012
Impacting Student's Lives
How many of you have rushed through your class roster for the first time? Crossing your fingers, wishing that you don't have that "one" student in your class. You know, the one that cries out loud, runs out of the class and is just plain difficult. I know its hard to admit it, but its true. Most teachers long for a smooth, hassle-free student classroom. We see these children in the hallways the previous year and we secretly hope they don't end up in our classroom. This past school year I remember looking through my roster and not recognizing anyone that seemed too "difficult" to handle. The first couple of days was smooth sailing with the exception of a social butterfly or two. Then all of a sudden, one of my students had a major melt down! He threw his pencils on the floor, his books, lunch bag, and everything he could get his hands on. I. FREAKED OUT! During my first conference with his parents I found out he had been diagnosed with Aspergers . I had never heard of this so the parents gave me a quick explanation. I assured them I would do everything as an educator to help him succeed, and I did just that. I googled the syndrome and read a book called "Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's" by John Elder Robison. My student had several breakdowns throughout the year; he was very un-predictable, I had no idea if what I would do in my classroom would trigger him. I treated him with love and I'd tell myself everyday to treat him the way I would like for someone to treat my own son. It came to the point where his meltdowns started to diminish and was responding to me and ONLY me. He'd have meltdowns in the hallway because his shoe lace came untied or because his nail cuticle was bugging him. His classmates would try to help, but he'd fight in defense thinking they where trying to hurt him. He refused for anyone to help him even our school counselors and principals couldn't calm him down. All it took for him to calm down was for me to go down to my knees and whisper in his ear "It's me, Mrs. Concepcion. Grab my hand, lets walk to class and talk about it. Your okay I am here for you, your not in trouble, let's talk" and JUST LIKE THAT, he stopped! No more yelling, he looked up, got off of the floor, and grabbed my hand and we walked to class. His smile was seen more often in class and he felt comfortable with me. I honestly feel that he saw me as a mother figure and felt safe with me at school when he was away from his comfort zone at home with his parents. He has taught me to REALLY teach children. I am no longer afraid to get a problem child. I can do it again. Because of him I value my career as a teacher and understand that children truly look up to us. I write this today because I was reminded of him during a read out loud that our trainer, Nancy Toner, read to us. The book is called "The Bracelet" Adapted from a story by Elizabeth Ballard. When she was done, many of us were in tears. I strongly recommend you read this book before the start of the new school year. It will truly touch your heart. I found a youtube video on it, but I love the book soooo much better.