Two Weeks In

Today I sit at the start my third week student teaching. Here is what I have learned about myself and others. First, I ADORE teaching! There are hard days, there are frustrating children, and there are some bitter, worn-out co-workers (not in my department, mind). However, this is truly the best job. Each day is new and each child is a unique glimpse in how the world works. In Special Education, some children work so hard and try so hard that it is inspiring. They struggle to make sense of what many “get” easily. However, because it is so hard, there are also children who have given up long ago. They have decided they are stupid and that school is a torturous waste of time. My heart goes out to them because I remember thinking the same thing. Additionally, some students have the saddest life stories. I can’t tell them here for privacy reasons but there is a great deal of heartache to be had.

I am finding how I fit in all of this and I have decided that working with students who have autism is one of my favorite things. My spectrum students work so hard to translate from neurotypical (NT) to their own understanding, but they fall behind the others as they work. Supporting them as they create this translated understanding and move forward is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve done these last two weeks.

Each student is absolutely adorable, of course, even the ornery ones.

As far as working in a pandemic? Yeah…

Cases have started to rise. Some schools are closing, some are switching to online only learning. Students are doing a GREAT job keeping their masks on. We hardly have any issues with it. Social distance and not sharing though? Yeah, they have no clue. … We are all going to die.

Teachers are not told that their students are absent because they are quarantining or because they tested positive. (Privacy concerns again.) Classes will only be quarantined if 3 or more students test positive. The school won’t close until 15% of the student body has tested positive. Two weeks in we had one student absent while his sister was tested (it came back negative) and another quarantining because a household member has tested positive. The students told us this, not the school, not the district, not the health department.

A non-socially distanced classroom

You know, that student I’ve been helping face-to-face, one-on-one within 12 inches of each other? Yeah, that student.

It took two weeks for me to face a potential exposure to a virus that *might* land me in the ICU because of underlying health concerns.

I’ll let you know if I end up going to the hospital.

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