A Day In the Life

One of Those Days

You know those days that start out super fabulous? You feel great, you love the world, and you know it’s going to be a beautiful day! Those days?

And then your 6th grade class shows up and walks into your classroom like they’re walking into the local mall? All sorts of loud and rambunctious and all sorts of goofy? And then the Autistic 6th grader has a meltdown because of a clay tragedy that isn’t so much a tragedy? And then the 6th graders bail on you during clean up time, leaving you and the poor 5th graders to clean up they’re clay mess?

And then you realize that because of a mess-up in the kiln schedule, which caused you to delay your 5th grade kiln firing, you don’t have anything planned that day for the 5th grade class, who are already in the classroom?

And then, at lunch, when you actually make it down to the faculty lounge to share some special news with some special people (aka the “Specialists”), you discover that they’re all so engrossed in a conversation (aka Bitch Session) about all sorts of discouraging and depressing things that in the 15 minutes you all happen to have lunch together, you didn’t get a single word in and were left behind, alone, without a lunch, when they all get up, together, still in conversation, and head back to their rooms?

And then, when your 2nd graders, who used to be your favorite class, show up and two students have new behavior plans, which brings the total up to three, and it takes so long to get through instruction that the kids only have about 30 minutes to work, not that they get anything accomplished, at least not anything accomplished correctly, because 2/3 of them didn’t actually pay attention to your demonstration at the start of class?

And then your 1st graders show up and during paint time one of the three autistic kids has a meltdown, which causes total breakdown with not only the two other autistic kids, but also the rest of the class, who insist on yelling to each other, not following correct paint station rules, and running around the classroom while you’re trying to not only help the aide with the meltdown in the corner, but also clean up, not one, but two paint spills caused by the same student within five minutes because he wasn’t following paint stations rules?

And then you realize that you forgot it was Thursday, which means you have afternoon duty, which has you rushing down there a few minutes late, only to discover that the two 6th grade patrols who should be out there with the traffic cones and the walkie talkie are no shows, leaving you to fend for yourself in the cold, dealing with parents whose children rode the bus by mistake?

Yeah, it was one of those days. Which explains the two pickles, one brownie, and the entire bag of microwaved popcorn I scarfed down upon returning home.

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11 thoughts on “One of Those Days

  1. That stinks. One of my 1st graders, who I'm assuming is autistic but nobody has ever told me for sure, had a huge meltdown in Art on Tuesday. First got mad because I pointed out some details he should add when he insisted he was done, then 10 minutes later because it was time to clean up and he wanted to keep working! He yelled, threw his pencil twice, tried to get away from the Para who was trying to get him to the hallway to calm down. Then it's really hard to get the attention of the rest of the class because they all want to stare at him instead of listen!

    I hope the pickles, brownie, and popcorn made you feel better! 🙂

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  2. My friend recommended your blog and I love it. I sit here laughing constantly at the similarities in our classes. Today my second grade class was horrific. I am on crutches and my right leg is covered in bruises and the kids thought it would be a great day to follow me, poking me in my bruise, yelling my name, which I am dealing with two separate meltdowns on opposite sides of the room. Yea my day sucked too! I am just now eating dinner at 9:30pm. Keep posting…it's nice to know of other teachers' struggles!!!

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  3. I'm sorry your day was so sucky. I've had a similar week with a kid that has some problem but the red tape is dragging everything down so that we most likely won't find out what's wrong or what can be done until next year. It's days like that I have to remind myself why I willingly teach art to 500 kids a week. I hope you have a wonderful Friday!

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  4. OOh, sorry such a bad day. What is it with all the autistic kids? I've got them too, all over the “spectrum” as they say. When I first began teaching there were NO autistic kids and it many years before I even had ONE labeled. And then there were 2 – and 3 – and now I don't even know how many. Is it better testing? Worse parenting? Something environmental? Where have all these challenged kids come from?

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  5. I have a lot, LOT of spectrum kids between my two of the life skills classes and my 28 gen ed classrooms. As long as the student is not harming themselves (hitting head on wall/cutting or scratching self, ripping hair ect.) or trashing other student's art I tend to leave them be to have their fit and ignore them. I remove the objects around them and have the other kids at their table move their stuff over but stay at the same table. Most of these kids have minor breakdowns throughout the day so the other kids have gotten pretty good at ignoring them. I find the more space I give the kid the sooner they cool down. The more I'm in their space trying to calm and correct them the more they stress out and keep freaking out. It's a loop. Later I ask them to come back and help with a bit of clean up and check in chat time. I have found most students on the spectrum that are in gen ed classes are aware of their “differences” and even while having a breakdown are aware/embarrassed about their classmates seeing them breakdown. My 7th and 8th grade students with asperger and I have talked openly about this and they say the hardest part of the disorder is knowing their classmates are watching them when they feel out of control.

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  6. We all have days like that. They stink! They are annoying and depressing. But…we're teachers of the wonderful world of art. So, we deal and hope that tomorrow will be better. Hang in there.

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  7. I also find great comfort and humor in your blog. I have been back to teaching for 10 years now, and still have days like that. I think the weather this winter has made it hard to create consistent learning across the schedule. For me, it has contributed to more of the chaos than normal. It is hard to get the kids engage in a lesson that they have had interupted by missed days and delayed starts. My plan is a fresh start after vacation! Until then, hang in there!

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  8. I think every resource teacher has the exact same drama. I deal with drama not only from the students, but within my collegues as well. When you have major drama with a co-worker, you come to appreciate the drama from a 2nd or 3rd graders. The comfort I have is knowing that if I have drama with a student, at least I only see that student for 45 minutes once a week. Next week I will arrive with a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh outlook. (Hopefully) When it comes to drama with co-workers, it is hard for me to come in the next day and forget out the past. Actuallly….it is impossible.

    So be glad that they are only children and you don't have to take them home. Once home, put garbage on TV, such as Real Housewives, make your significant other cook and clean for you, or order out, then sleeep…….it always works for me.

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  9. Ha! Ha! So sorry for the crummy day you endured, but secretly joyful that it happens to someone else! My school is so completely over the top strict about any type of internet posting of anything school related, that I keep my silence on my blog about anything at all un-“Utopian”. I'm also the only elementary art teacher at my school, and although she's a good friend, the music teacher… she doesn't have a clue about what I'm dealing with. She teaches a “clean” subject. You just got a new subscriber! Thanks!

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