Thursday, September 25, 2008

I need to ask for a raise.

A member of our faculty (one might call her a principal member of our faculty), has an 8 year old granddaughter with a disability. She was "normal" until the age of 2... at which point her mental development slowed considerably, while her body continued to grow. At 8, she is almost as tall as me (at least 5' 4") and is wearing a woman's size 14. She spent most of last year in a clinic, where she lost 100 pounds and worked on her social development. Now that she's no longer in the clinic, she needs to be in a school. So this faculty member decided to enroll her granddaughter in our school and put her in my first grade classroom. Apparently, she's only supposed to be in our school long enough to get her evaluated, after which she'll be placed in a more appropriate environment.

I was given very little notice about this temporary placement (as in, I found out the day before), and so far, it has NOT been working out. This child can barely write her name, has never been to a real school before, and has a tendency to be socially inappropriate. When she's engaged in a task she enjoys (listening to a story, working in literacy centers, having recess with the other kids) she's fine. But as soon as she gets off-task (which is usually when she gets bored with what she's doing or when the work is too hard for her), she becomes a problem.

Imagine having a one year old in your classroom while you're trying to teach. Now imagine that said one year old is about the same size as an overweight teenager. That's the best way to describe what it's like. As soon as she gets off-task, she begins to walk around the room, knocking things over, tapping kids on the head, pushing kids, clapping my chalkboard erasers in the kids' faces, using my fly swatters (which my kids use as word pointers) to hit people... and when I try to approach her to stop her, she laughs and runs away from me. Much like a toddler would do. She thinks the whole thing is a game. And what makes it worse is that several of my students are terrified of her. She knows it, and she targets them. When she gets destructive, I have to call for her grandmother to come get her.

It's like I'm teaching special ed, without the small class size and the teacher's aides. And without the salary.

Our school psychologist has already started the evaluation process. When he's finished, I'm almost 100% positive that she'll be taken out of our school.

At least, I hope that's the case. I don't know how much more of this I can handle.


Betty said...

What a tough situation. I'm surprised that the parents of the other children aren't complaining. I hope that the young lady is quickly placed in a more suitable environment for her learning needs.

Anonymous said...

How unfortunate! With such a wide range of services available to disabled students, it's amazing that she's made it to 14 without previous exposure to a school setting more appropriate to her abilities. I hope things get resolved quickly - for everyone's sake!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, read clothing size as age. Still, by age 8, she could have been receiving alternative schooling services for three years.

Cassy said...

For the time being, is it possible to get a volunteer (parent, stron senior, college student) to give you a temporary hand? Are there paraprofessionals in your building?
I work in a public school, and let me tell you, I have EXTRA people in my classroom three times a day -annoying and I don't need them, as I only have 15 kids. Wish I could send you the help!

Cassy said...

STRONG senior (citizen) that is
(I suppose I should preview before publishing!)

Dree said...

We're a Catholic school... we don't have any sort of special ed services or paraprofessionals. However, I was told that this girl has been approved for a therapeutic support staff worker during school hours. They just need to find one for her. Also, her eval was finished today, so I don't know what's going to happen now.