Saturday, September 11, 2010

So what?

Sometimes when you are good at something or enjoy working with a certain kind of student, you don't show your cards right away because you really just want to keep going with the status quo. For instance, you can play the piano or maybe speak another language or even have good tech skills. If people found out they would ask you to fix their computers or interpret for them or even accompany a Christmas musical (all true-life experiences for me). This leaves very little time for your actual job. I have always enjoyed working with students who were labeled Behavior Disordered (I'm dating myself here because that diagnosis doesn't even exist anymore), are on the Autism Spectrum, and the Emotionally Disturbed. I haven't ever told anyone that specifically, but they always find out. Here's how it usually happens. Something doesn't pass my "So What?" test, and my principal witnesses it (how's that for a lead? I know it left you wondering).

Several years ago I had a student who was totally awesome. The class would be working along, and he would bust out with a little Bon Jovi or Warrant. The boy could sing and of course I love all those songs (being a child of the 80's and all). He couldn't get a thought down on paper to save his life, and we worked through it (thank the Lord for an Alphasmart). He also knew when he needed something to help him concentrate, and was really good about using whatever was in the room to make necessary modifications. One day, he came in with "a party in his brain" (this term was given to me last year by a different friend, but it is so specific I use it all the time). We were going to start the morning with silent reading. He asked me if he could sit anywhere and I said yes. I went over to conference with another student, and when I looked back over, he was gone (or so I thought). He had gone over to the coat rack, so I strolled over and called his name quietly. He responded, "Under here." He had piled all the bookbags on top of himself and was reading. At that moment I could have made him move, but I didn't because "so what?" He was reading, no one was being hurt or disrupted so it didn't pass the test.

About that time, my RGP (Really Great Principal) came into the room to make an announcement. She got everyone's attention, and about that time pop! out of the backpacks came my friend. She continued to tell us whatever it was all the while looking at me with question marks in her eyes. When she was done speaking, I simply said, "It didn't pass the so what test." She nodded her head and I saw the look of recognition come across her face (you know the one that says, "I know where I'll put such and such, next year"). That day I know I sealed my fate as a go-to for inclusion students. I wouldn't have it any other way (plus life is boring in a classroom if no one puts up an umbrella every time it rains outside).

No comments:

Post a Comment