I recently received my substitute license, no I have never been a teacher, but I enjoy a classroom setting and I love to learn so I figured it would be a way to make some money while I am figuring out what the heck I am doing with my life.
The first sub assignment that I chose is in a classroom with 6 affective needs boys ranging from 2nd grade to 5th. For those of you that don’t know, an affective needs classroom is a self-contained classroom where the students have emotional disabilities and can’t be in the general population. We focus on academics but more so on social skills and regulating our emotions enough to be able to learn.
My first day the main teacher was also gone. Another staff member came in and told me to prepare myself to be hit, kicked, spit on…..what!?!?!
I didn’t get kicked until my second week (by a 2nd grader) and thankfully I haven’t been spit on.
I have witnessed many outbursts, the other 2 teachers in our room have the appropriate training for restraint so I generally am in charge of keeping the others focused on a task and hopefully engaged enough to not want to participate.
Typing the word restraint I worry that people reading this will think oh my, what are you all doing to those kids?? But the restraint is truly for their own good, so they don’t hurt themselves or others. It is heart breaking, more than once I have had to turn away with tears in my eyes, I just want to hold them.
It has been a learning experience for me about me. Not really a learning experience per se, I already know that I take things very personally in my life, always have. I know I am “not suppose” to, what other people think of me isn’t any of my business, nothing has to do with me, it is their perception of reality and their stuff, blah blah, I know.
It has been interesting for me to recognize that when one of the boys has an outburst and I am cussed at and told I am hated, screamed at because I asked if they need a pencil, how I then feel about that child later in the day. Later in the day when they come up to me and want to give me a hug and ask me to play Trouble with them….I think, um no, you hurt my feelings, you were mean….haha, yes I laugh at myself. They don’t carry a grudge, at all. In fact, they don’t generally make a connection from one moment to another. Wow….I would like to be able to do that to some extent.
I am not saying in an adult world it is ok for us to treat each other that badly and then just bam expect there to be no hard feelings or boundaries but I would like to be able to let go of some of the past transgressions I’ve felt, those things I have taken personally and still allow those people to be in my life in a healthy manner, if warranted.
It goes back to the many blogs where I have talked about change. Change for myself. I have always been the person that I let you in, I love you, I will bend over backwards for you until you hurt me, then you are out. Admittedly I am pretty sensitive and easy to hurt, lots of open wounds that I haven’t worked to heal completely but that being said, I have also been truly hurt by people, we all have.
The result of living a life like this is that I don’t have many friends, people who truly know me and I can turn to in a time of need. A couple of weeks ago I had such an occasion, I was crying and couldn’t get a hold of myself and felt so lost, I thought who can I call to talk to…..I came up with no one. My kids aren’t appropriate and my mom and I have a complicated relationship, sort of…
So I called my ex-husband and you all don’t know me but this is the last person I would have thought I would have called. But he knows me, has for over 20 years and even though he can be the biggest jack ass I know, he will always be there for me if I need him and he was. He let me cry, he consoled me, he talked me off the ledge. The next day I was pretty embarrassed and wondered if I would hear something cocky (funny to him) from him but I didn’t. He didn’t say anything to our girls and the next time we spoke he asked how I was and told me to hang in there, he was genuine.
Anyway, the point is that I have lived my life protecting myself, pushing out those that hurt me, not giving people a second chance. And now with my intention of making changes, of growing into who I know I am, I am struggling to find a balance. When has someone done so many things to hurt me that I set a boundary and let them go? How do I now take that chance with people who in the last couple of years were doing the best they could with the situation and I was just collateral damage?
I don’t know, no answers today. But I can reference my last blog and tell you that I am pretty low on energy, feel pretty worn out and am using the energy I have to make some other changes for myself that I deem more pressing. If I am a lump of crying goo on the couch nothing changes.
I feel better daily, even though this classroom is a very big, stressful beyond compare challenge for me they have asked me to be there until the end of October and I said yes. Feels great to have somewhere to go where I am needed. I know there will be lots of challenges but lots of good too.
As for my personal life, I will get there–there might be to let go of the hurt caused and take a chance or to just let go and move in a different direction. Lots of breathing, expectation management-I can’t expect more than what I am willing to give, I get that.
I have started listening to a new book, I’ll share when I am further in, but the premise is that we are who we are suppose to be already, we have all the great goods and potential within us. We don’t need to fix, we are not broken. I like that.
Be kind to yourselves!