Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Through speaking with people who know me it's become obvious that this blog is a bit of a downer. I don't know how to lighten the tone and I don't want it to sound like this job is always so heavy. I work with middle school kids because they're hilarious. My job involves hanging out with kids all day. And I don't even have a set curriculum that I have to get them through. I'm not held accountable for their test scores. And their behavior is not thought of as a reflection of my work. Like everyone I would rather work less - 30 hours a week would be about right - but I love my job. There's no other career type of job I can imagine having. So, no worries about me. I report to you what may be heavy and tragic but there's a lot of laughter and fun. My job rules.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Slow Week

There were no real emergencies this week but a slow week here is rather eventful anyway. For your enjoyment and edification (and edubacation), what follows is a list of things that happened during this uneventful week to the ten students I currently have on my caseload:

- a student who had been spitting out his meds decided he was going to take it now because he could notice a decline in his behavior when he was off his meds
- a student asked if he could have his schedule switched so that he would have no classes with his best friend because now, after failing every thing in the 1st marking period, he wants to get good grades and can't do that when his best friend is around
- 4 students caught up completely on all of their missing work
- a plan was formulated with an outside agency to get one student help with drug use
- I was called an idiot 4 times by a student who loves me (He didn't understand his math test; he completed it later following some reteaching.)
- two students came all week without their meds - this caused endless quiet cursing on the part of one and chasing, spitting and general over-excitement on the part of the other
- a student was able to attend the holiday dance for the first time in three years
- two students attended principal's lunch on the recommendation of their general education teachers
- a parent told me her child could decide for himself whether to take his meds or not and she was only doing it to satisfy "outside sources"
- a student became the highest achiever in his math class to date for the 2nd marking period
- a student received in-school suspension for wearing gang related apparel to school
- a student was suspended for two days for threatening and intimidating another student
- a student received five stitches when another student kicked open a door that smacked him in the face
- our most notorious work avoider completed the final draft of a major project in his humanities class
- a student couldn't stop talking about getting to visit his dad this coming week
- ditto for another student but his mom
- a student made a song using Garage Band and played it for me

And more, always more.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Return to Medlandia

I asked a student to promise to stop by the nurse's office to take his meds on his way from my class to lunch. This is a student who doesn't like to take his meds and whom I've had to walk to the nurse's office in order to ensure that he got there. Before I started escorting him he would skip it and have to be called out of his class and to the nurses office following lunch. Though he promised he would actually do it this time, I found out he skipped the office and went straight to lunch when I stopped by the nurse's office five minutes later. So I tracked him down in the cafeteria where he was chowing on a plate of nachos. I asked him why he didn't stop by the nurse's office to take his meds and he said, "Because it's Friday." That seemed reasonable to me. I suppose I could have coerced him into leaving the cafeteria right then or told him he couldn't go to recess now or taken some other form of revenge. But I just asked him to take his meds before he went to his class after recess. He did.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Meds? Meds. Meds!

One of my students takes a very small dosage of meds for ADHD. This student just told us he has been faking it for the past three weeks. He says that when he takes the meds he can focus but he can't do any thing. When he doesn't take his meds he can learn and do whatever he wants. This is true, I think. He's one of those rare people who can actually multi-task if one of the tasks is listening and the other doesn't require much concentration. The part he leaves out is that he gets frustrated and destructive when he's off his meds. But he sat in the office and cut box tops for an hour quite happily. At that point he could talk a little bit about what got him removed from class. Today I bought a football to play catch with him when he needs to have something in his hands when he's frustrated. We'll see.

Another student is perfectly well behaved and hardworking here. At home he throws things, yells at his guardian, walks out of the house and possibly hits people. Apparently he takes his meds regularly.

A third student had a very long history of violent incidents and was 5 years behind in reading and math. He recently was transferred to a therapeutic day program. He's never been on meds.