Sunday, October 09, 2005

Work Rant no. 3: Ugh!

The title says it all. How on Earth, or anywhere else in this Universe, do you manage to look for a job, work the job you have, endure endless moronic antics and keep up the facade of being happy? I'm starting to understand why Postal employees snap and go buy a sniper rifle. I've been eyeing a few in my spare time... then I remember, I don't like guns and can't hit the broad side of a barn with one.

I have to say that the days that I get 10 to 8 hours for my shift should be days that I'm thankful for. It covers my health insurance payment a little better and helps me stay out of that black hole known as debt. At the same time, I am finding that I just want to quit towards the end of the day. Last Friday (10/7) I had that feeling at about noon. Called my dear and darling husband, asking him for any sage advice he could offer. Being that he's out side of the situation and usually more level-headed then I am, I figure he's a good one to talk to. That quick request for advice turned into a 40 min crying jag.

I was rather embaressed. At least it happened with me in the car and he was on his lunch break as well. I suppose, my dear Reader, that you are curious as to why I hit this proverbial wall of misery so quickly. Having to work with children that have learning disorders is a particularly trying task. It is made even more difficult when these children are intermingled with children with out learning disorders. A mild learning disorder or a learning disorder that doesn't impact behavior is usually fairly easy to work with. Severe learning disorders and learning disorders that impact behavior is (to be perfectly honest) hellish in an environment that is not specificly tailored to help the child and adults around come with them.

When a learning disabled child is placed into a classroom with children that are without learning disorders, this is known generally as mainstreaming. Mainstreaming is touted as a humane thing, allowing these children social interaction and opportunities to build relationships with their peers. Mainstreaming, however, can be a very difficult, if not cruel thing to a child. Especially if the group they are placed in exceeds the functional age level of that child. Unfortunately for me, I was in a room with two children that were mixed into a room that functioned at the level of 5 and 6 years old. These two children functioned at the ages of 2-3 years old.

That right there spells disaster. Add to this mix one other little fact, the class room had approximately 20 children. This is well outside of state mandated ratios, but we're lowly employees. Who are we to ask for assistance when the management refuses it and states that we're the ones who must take care of it. Now, the two children who were struggling to keep up with the rest of the class did so with great difficulty. They also have problems with ADD and ADHD. The one who functions at the younger age (who is actually just shy of 4yrs old) also has a problem with being violent. Thus, we had fights breaking out so often you could set your watch by it.

I had hit the limit of what I could tolerate when this particular boy began throwing items such as wooden blocks at people with intent to harm. I marched him into the office (actually carried him kicking and screaming obscenities at me) and said that I needed the office to monitor his behavior for a few minutes while I got my classroom under control. The office's responce was "We can't do it. He's your problem." Then came nap-time. The two boys with the learning disorders just happen to hate each other. So, at nap-time, they sat antagonizing each other from across the room.

I stepped in, as that my co-worker seemed to feel that just yelling would resolve the problem and proceeded to isolate these two boys from each other. That was when the tempertantrums started. I had one and then the other flailing and spitting at me. They screamed obscenities, when what they screamed was coherent. They attempted to strike other children, throw things at people, and generally use violence to intimidate me into giving them their way. When this occurred, I wrapped my arms around the child and held them until they stopped trying to attack people. Thus, they directed their attempts at violence towards me. Thank goodness I have reasonably fast reflexes.

It's not fun to have a child spitting in your face, but it is better then having them claw your eyes out. So, I had first one and then the other sitting on my lap, spitting in my face as I held them against my body so they couldn't hurt anyone or themselves. After all, it is my job to keep all of these children safe. My rewards for this effort, which was a solo act because my co-worker went on his lunch break even with these children behaving this way...

A look of pity and "Man, they were being bad." What I just described... that happens on a fairly regular basis where I work. I've gone home with bruises. Once in a while, it's rather unplesant. I now appear to have vericose veins as a result of the repeated bruising of my legs. It was the child who's temper tantrum including clawing the living daylights out of me that just tipped the scales on that front.

I came home and my legs were purple and black from mid thigh down to my ankles. Scratches on my arms... I was amazed that she hadn't bit me. To be honest, I'm amazed that I haven't been bitten yet. Children have tried, I guess it's the moderately fast reflexes.

What on earth do you do with this mess? I'm really getting tired of raising other people's children and not being allowed the authority to dicipline them. You just can't acquies and allow these kids to behave like this, or attempt to bribe them into not acting this way. If you do that, you're doing these children a grave disservice. But I think you've already seen my thoughts on that matter.

Yeah, "ugh" sums it up rather nicely. And tomorrow is Monday, a *holiday* even. I'm not looking forward to work. Ah well, back into the trenches we go.

1 comment:

mom-r-k-tect said...

I am the mother of two disabled children. Believe me, we don't want our children in this situation any more than you do. To avoid this kind of "inclusion," we have provided private placements for our autistic daughter for the last six years. It has cost us, to date, more than $150,000 in education and other services, and we have another six years to go.
IF we chose the out-placement offered by the district, she would have been subjected to conditions even worse than those you described. That's why most parents will choose the inclusion class, as horrid as it is, over a district aproved out-placement.
Most families can't commit the financial suicide that we've had to endure.
We will soon have to to deal with our other daughter, who is epileptic, and dyslexic with severe auditory processing disorder. She is, for now, in a private placement paid for by the school. But the state is trying to eliminate such arrangements, to move toward 100% inclusion.
Will we be able to beg, borrow and steal the fortune in educational expenses needed for this child? I lie awake every night, fearing what will become of her if we do not manage it.
I am sorry that you have to suffer from inclusion, as well. There are so many victims in this broken special-ed system. Parents, both special and reg ed, need school choice, so we can seek out the most humane educational settings for our chidren.