Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thanks for the "birthday" wishes...

At EBDBLOG, one of the sites I check daily, they have noted my second year anniversary as a blogger.

Feels like it was just yesterday when I impulsively pushed the Blogger button and began to figure out how the blog thingee worked. I always knew I had something to say, it was just a matter of deciding that THIS was the right forum. Even as I get distracted and blog a bit inconsistently, I always come back.

As ever,thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, March 19, 2007

And now, for your protection.....

Our school is scheduled for a LOCK DOWN drill this week, an activity whereby we two teachers lock our classroom door, turn off the lights, whisk our class of highly reactive, emotionally impaired six year olds to a corner of our room where we are meant to sit in absolute silence for 10 to 15 minutes... and if we don't, a team of security specialists acting as school intruders will detect our whereabouts....

It's a nightmare.

Our administrators have worked hard to get the security folks to understand the sensitive nature of our ED kids and the many other special needs kids in our building.

I'm told they agree not to bang loudly on our doors to provoke the kids into breaking the rules and screaming.

I can't wait til this is over....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Begging for attention and anything else that's needed..

This lazy Saturday morning, my sweet dog, Cayenne, is repeatedly bumping her nose into my hand, asking for.. no demanding.. what it is she needs. She won't give up until I pet her head and rub her belly.

You have to respect this kind of unabashed neediness. If we all were as honest about what would make us happy, the world would be a less complicated place, that's for sure.

I'm thinking about my students' behaviors over the years, and how tough it's been to wade through all the distractors to get to the real issue: "How will you meet my needs, Mrs. Ris?"

For many of my kids, it's a matter of providing immediate basic needs. Here's a juice box and breakfast bar to get you through the morning. You were up late because of your family's partying and fighting? Take a little nap in the bean bag and I'll catch you up on your lessons later. Need a clean t-shirt? Let's check the extra clothes bag.

Sometimes we can't even begin to give kids what they crave. In a six hour day I can't hug a kid enough to make a difference... although we all try. We can't makeup for a home life of humiliation and threats. And when a child's brain chemistry is off, all we can do is be as structured and consistent as possible, and pray the meds will work.

We plan our lessons with attention and detail; we overplan and, as necessary, change up our plans on the fly to meet new roadblocks. It's complicated and draining to be so focused on doing what is right.

So this morning, when Cayenne looks so lovingly my way and keeps nuzzling my hand, I'll thank goodness for her uncomplicated, honest "begging". It feels good to satisfy her needs so easily.