October 29, 2012

"The Ox is in the Ditch"

 I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but our state adopted new math standards this year. In general, changing standards is a huge pain the butt because it means new ways of teaching and new textbooks. This change is good, though. The new standards are National, putting us inline with most other states. Anyway, I'm one of 4 teachers representing my school during the whole introductory phase. This means that I go to workshops to learn new ways of implementing these standards, then return to school and present them to the faculty. In our last meeting, we had a little chat time with our teammates, and one of my coteachers used the saying above, "The ox is in the ditch!" I don't know why, but I think it's hilarious. And the ox was most definitely in the ditch this week.

My aide (with narcolepsy) was put on admin leave last week. She was not cleared by her doctor to have the CPI training (training on how to safely physically restrain children when they are putting themselves or others in danger). This training is a requirement for whoever works in my room as an aide due to the nature of my students' disabilities (and it is also stated in their IEP). And because I was to have the aide, I was not trained in it. So, they put a sub aide in my room, and frankly, I think they found him on the street. He was dirty and creepy, and I was not a happy camper. Tuesday my co-special education teacher and I went to talk to the school secretary about this issue. (My principal was not at school.) And by Thursday, a new sub aide was in the room. She was very sweet, but like anyone new, not familiar with the ins and outs of the students. We muddled through it, though, and if something happens with my regular aide, I think she will do a good job on a permanent basis. Friday we went on our month skating trip and that ox skated straight into that ditch. My student with tourettes, OD, and aspergers was very upset about not winning the skate race. He began to have one of his fits. The principal and sub aide tried to calm him while I got the other students loaded on the bus to return to school. He was still having his fit when we were ready to leave, but my principal said he would be fine once we got moving. Well, he wasn't. And that, folks, is how I got beat up by a ten-year old. See, he wanted OUT of the seat, which I wasn't going to allow. (The bus was moving, and state law is that all children are seated while the bus is moving.) So, I put my arm over the seat where he couldn't climb out or over. He then began to hit, scratch, and bite me. He spit on me, pinched me, screamed profanity at me, and stuck his fingers in my mouth and nose. Being that the camera was recording, and I didn't want to lose my job, I did my very best to protect myself without handling him. I did grab his legs once b/c he literally almost went over the seat onto the floor of the bus. And this point, he had been beating on me for what seemed like forever when another teacher declared that he had "seen enough and to heck with rules" climbed behind him and grabbed him in a nice, safe bear hug. (When you are retired military and 6'5", I guess you can do that.) And wow. One teacher was trying to calm the other kids down, and my aide was on the phone with my special ed. coworker asking for advice. Bottom line- he should've never been put on the bus with us.

Back at school, the boy's grandmother was called to pick him up and I was checked by the nurse. I had scratches on my face and arms, bruises and bite marks on my arms, too. And that's public education at its finest. Monday morning, he will be right back in the classroom like nothing happened. However, I do plan to address the issue that no one has CPI training in my room, and it is stated in his plan that someone needs to have it. I have so many mixed feelings about total inclusion. I think it is necessary for children to be in their very best learning environment. For years, we were told that special education students were being isolated by not being included in the "regular" classroom, but maybe that is where some of them learn best? And what about the rights of the other "regular" children? Is it fair for my other 5th graders to see their teacher get beat up and cussed out by their classmate? And what about my rights? Do I even have any? Do I need to wear body armor to work?

So, moving on to my Bears! We had a mini-meet on Thursday, only 4 teams running a 2 miler on the road, kind of a final workout before Sectionals (this week). Well, my girls WON!!!!! It was total sweep, too! We had the top SIX out of TEN spots! I didn't have enough boys to score. I benched two of my boys from racing due to knee niggles and one being sick. They can run, but have been feeling "it" for a few days, and with Sectionals coming up, better safe than sorry. The girls decided as a team that they didn't want to tell anyone about the "W" because, "Well, coach, we don't want to get all big headed and braggish then suck." Hahah, that's one way to put it.

I'm having a spaghetti dinner for them Thurs night at my house, and we plan to watch St. Ralph for motivation. :) I also have ordered them new XC tee shirts that will be in before Friday. They are such great kids, and this is their time to shine! We also had Senior Night this past Friday. I presented my two senior boys' moms with flowers while they were recognized at the football game. It was my first football game since leaving Mayberry, and it was better than I had imagined.

My running- I'm still doing all easy stuff, but do have the regular costume race tomorrow night, along with a fun 10K that I'm doing with some college girlfriends this weekend when I go to Birmingham. In two weeks, I will pace the 3:30 group at Pensacola Marathon. Then I will pick my training up with focus on the half marathon for a little bit. The next key marathon is The Woodlands.

Well, that's where we are right now... hope you are all running happy!


  1. What a ZOO. I seriously don't know how you keep your cool. With all that happens though, I bet your students will remember that even when one of their classmates was clearly out of control, you were able to keep your composure and take it without retaliating. Thank God for your co-worker's intervening!

    Hope the costume race goes well for you :) Sounds like a fun time!

  2. I know all about standards, thanks to my new job in the education industry. It's good to see progress is being made in your state. Enjoy pacing the 3:30 group-- I know they will love having you!

  3. Thank goodness for the beaming bright spot that is your team and your own running!

    I had no idea how intense it got for you-I'd be terrified. Hoping and praying the ox starts making its way outta the ditch this week!

  4. That is INSANE! I can't believe they have you working in those conditions! That's dangerous!

    Sounds like your girls' team has really picked it up this season. Must be because of their awesome coach :)

    Have a great time pacing Pensacola! The 3:30-ers are lucky to have you!

  5. Bring it up to your union. You should NOT be working under those conditions. Seriously Rebecca!! That is ridiculous!

    I am glad you're OK though. Hugs to you.

  6. Woah! That sounds like quite a week. I think most people would agree that you shouldn't be beaten up at work. Sounds like some changes are needed. Congrats to your team! I would love to coach high school cross-country at some point!

  7. Wow! You are amazing. I have no idea how I would have handled it and probably would have been shaking. You sound like you responded correctly and hopefully someone with the correct training will always be an aide in the future.

    Have fun pacing the Pensacola Marathon!