Monday, April 5, 2010

Special Ed Easter

On Friday I substituted  in the life skills classroom and we colored eggs.  Even with a lot of preparation and aggressive supervision I still managed to send several kids home with blue and red fingertips.  They just couldn't resist touching those wet eggs.  Nothing says a good time like bowls of permanent dye, boiled eggs, glitter and princess stickers.  If only we'd had cupcakes, it would have been a perfect day!

It is a joy to work in this classroom because of the quality of the educational assistants.  The assistants are paid a little above minimum wage and frequently perform tasks that an average person would find unpleasant.  Changing the diapers of  a young adult student is not an easy task and day after day the assistants perform their duties with respect and compassion. 

This classroom serves students with multiple disabilities. I am weighed down thinking about the challenges that they and their families face. The progress is slow, but small accomplishments are celebrated. This classroom is a joyful place. The students enjoy being there and their eagerness to participate in each activity is reinforcing to the staff.

We used some of our eggs to make deviled eggs…not as good as cupcakes, but the students gobbled them down.  At the end of the day each student clutched a small plastic bag of eggs as they climbed on the buses.

Once the buses had left the staff gathered in the classroom to debrief the day.  This was my favorite story:

The assistant accompanied a student with autism to a history class.  Her job is to help the student to manage his behavior in the mainstream classroom.  Learning appropriate social behaviors is one of the skills that we're working on with this student.  The student kept picking his nose.  She reminds him that it is not appropriate behavior and that other students in the class will be grossed out by this behavior.  She points out that no other students in the class are picking their nose.  To which he replies "But I'm Soooo hungry!"

Guess we should have fed him more deviled eggs before class.

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