Thursday, January 24, 2008

shhhhh-taka-tak-a-tak-a-tshhhhhk. Click. BOOM!

At work we've recently had a slew of kids with ASD, ADHD and a variety of other initials join our classes. Not that we didn't have our fair share already. There's now roughly one child with some sort of diagnosis per class, and more like two, really. It brings an extra dimension to teaching when you have to deal with Lego obsessives and impromptu aerobics exhibitions, the blu-tac fiddlers and the shouty shouty boys. Some days they band together and machine gun one another with their ruler guns across the classroom. On others they argue incessantly with one another, me, their classmates, the walls: desperate to have the last word. Mostly the best way to deal with it is to ignore it all, praise the desired behaviours. Some days this is easier than others. Some days this is hell on earth and results in small nervous breakdowns behind toilet doors. Don't get me wrong: I like my job, and I like those kids, but on occasion I wonder how the rest of the class are managing to learn anything, or whether we're just all getting an excellent lesson in ignoring the elephant in the corner.

After the children go home
I sit in staff meetings swinging on my chair, doodling, folding pieces of paper into tiny missiles and launching them around the room into the cups or hair of my colleagues. I exclaim and harrumph, and today I caught myself making sound effects as I prepared to take out a Newly Qualified Teacher's head with my fearsome laser arm.

All that ignoring can't be good for me.

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