All of my students have the disability entitled "emotionally disturbed." Most carry another label as well. Sometimes this is "OHI" (other health impairment), sometimes it is "ADD" or "ADHD”, the sort of things you would expect to see for the variety of strange behaviors you can observe in a classroom such as mine. About three fourths of my students had fetal alcohol syndrome, and about half of those students were born addicted to another substance as well. Half of my students carry the title "bi-polar" somewhere in their IEP. This also happens to be the title that best describes my classroom right now. Somehow I fear that my job is promoting this title for me as well.

I must be taking on some of the emotions that my students go through on a daily basis. As much as my students can’t decide if it is more beneficial to make good choices or to make bad ones, I can’t decide if teaching is rewarding or simply degrading.

Yesterday I hated my job. Absolutely and utterly I hated every part of being in that school and in that classroom. I wanted more than anything to be taken away to some other world where Newark didn’t exist and kids didn’t talk and people just… well, I didn’t get that far into the scenario because the important part about my daydream was that I wasn’t a teacher and I didn’t have to hate everything.

Today I was my students’ biggest advocate and I remembered why I decided to be a teacher in the first place. I got cocky and defensive when my students were assigned a new counselor that hadn’t the first clue of how to interact with BD kids. She said to me, “so what should I do?” when she walked in, and then suggested “less structure, right?” I scoffed, and I thought I might pull my hair out of my own head just to have to deal with her. I realized that I am in that classroom for a reason. I even found myself in the office begging them not to send me to a workshop tomorrow because I need to be in that classroom with my kids.

This is the point when I start recognizing my own bi-polar tendencies because I know that tomorrow I can guarantee that I will be happy to be away from the school, and Thursday I am about 90% positive that I will be miserable to have to return to my classroom.

I am beginning to think that “Bi-polar” is a classification that must be over-used, while simultaneously all too accurate for a BD classroom, and it’s teacher.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like to call it a bi-polar problem, I like the term FAS.

1/31/2007 8:04 PM  
Blogger JohnL said...

Gratuitous advice:

Stick with the advocacy part. The kids need it and it's a lot more rewarding.



2/13/2007 10:01 PM  
Blogger Mark S. Rogers, LPC. said...

Liquid Waffle Girl-
You are an amazing young woman! To do the work you do, I'm sure, is both rewarding and frustrating. You write exceptionally well, and I'm guessing your dream to one day write a book will come true. Write about what you know to remain genuine and real as an authoress.

4/01/2007 11:41 PM  

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