I wanted to share something that really had an impact on me, and reminded me of why I became a teacher. Funny how it seems that I’m being reminded of this a lot lately.
Like I’ve been sharing, we have a student who has been diagnosed with Autism, and has been becoming more and more violent lately. Well yesterday, she had an episode in my class. She had to be forcibly taken out of my class kicking and screaming. I’ve seen a lot in my many years of teaching, but I had never seen that.
I told you that the district hired an outside company to help with this student, and we learned that the parents had given permission for this company to use physical force if necessary to control the student’s outbursts. Well the company sent someone to serve as this student’s one-on-one aide.
Yesterday, was the first day that the student had contact with the aide, and it wasn’t pretty. The student focused all her anger and frustration on the aide in a way that I had never seen before. The aide was kicked, punched, slapped, scratched, and hit by this student. The aide had been prepared for this, and didn’t back down. By the end of the day, however, there were scratches on the aide’s neck and blood on her shirt, but the student had calmed down, probably out of exhaustion.
Today, the student had a wonderful day. There were no outbursts. There were no attacks. The student went through all her classes without any incidences. It was amazing. I’m not an expert, but it appeared that yesterday’s events had taught the student that all her attempts to get her way weren’t going to work, so she followed instructions and obeyed the teachers.
Later, I was listening as a teacher on my team was talking to the aide. She was commenting on how different the student was and how great the day went. Then she told the aide, “Sorry you had to go through so much stuff yesterday, pointing at the scars on her neck.”
The aide said something that made us all pause.
“She’s worth it.”
Here this aide who didn’t seem more than 23 years old had made an impression on this old teacher that forced me to re-evaluate how I see the students in my class. “She’s worth it.” She’s worth all the punches. She’s worth all the scratches. She’s worth it.
I felt a little ashamed in that I was spending a lot of time thinking how this student was taking away from my class time, from my comfort, from my peace.
As you continue on your journey through teaching, you’re going to have students who are going to cause you stress. They’re going to take away from your easy day. They will cause you pain, maybe not in the way that this student caused the aide pain, but pain nonetheless. You’re going to feel that you don’t deserve to have to put up with it, that you shouldn’t have to spend extra time dealing with their disruptions. That is normal. It’s part of the process of learning how to teach.
I would ask you to consider what I was reminded of today.
They’re worth it.
That student who is making me so frustrated because he’s not even trying, even though I’ve spent so much time with him, – He’s worth it.
That student who gets mad at me and gives me dirty looks because I called her parents after she didn’t turn in her project, – She’s worth it.
That student who makes me re-teach the lesson because he wasn’t paying attention when I gave it the first time, – He’s worth it.
Every student, even the students with the poor attitude, has value.
Let them see that you think - they’re worth it.
It will pay off in the end. Trust me. They’ll come back someday and thank you for being that one person in their life who gave them value.
Today’s Tip for New Teachers – I guess I already gave it to you.
Here’s to lots of Success In The Classroom!