I'm not too crazy about having another adult in the room when I'm teaching. There's a certain amount of pressure there, whether it's a Special Ed aide, a parent volunteer or the classroom teacher. I always feel as if I'm either too lenient or too tough.
Today, it was the classroom teacher. He had a free day and thought he was going to be in a workshop, but it turned out, he just had a work day. And, he chose to spend it in the classroom.
On one hand, this is the same reason this teacher keeps calling me back. On the very first day I subbed for him, it was a similar situation and he liked how I handled his third graders, so he booked me for every absence he expected to have through the year. On the other hand, his class is difficult. I posted yesterday about a few of the problems, but he's got 32 kids and at least half of them are a challenge in terms of behavior. When you combine the individual personalities with the fact that the kids are basically "done" with the year in their own minds....well, let's just say if he wasn't yelling at them for disrespecting me, I was threatening them with loss of recess and PE time for their incessant chatter. It was a bad day for everyone, and did nothing for my self confidence.
There were two kids to the right of me who fought all day, but cooled it just before I shipped one off to another seat. There were two kids to the left of me who invented new and exciting ways to cause problems, even after I separated them. Then, last, but definitely not least, there was one boy who, as I said yesterday is diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. The kid is pure drama and probably shouldn't be in a regular ed class. I've been told they have constant meetings about what to do with him. He gets upset cries about everything under the sun. Then the kids make fun of him for crying, which makes him cry even more. Today, as they were coming in from recess, I watched him peel around a corner and collide with a bigger kid. The bigger kid saw him coming and ducked out of the way, but didn't get completely clear and they touched arm to arm. He started screaming. Both his aide and I saw the whole thing and she tried to calm him down, taking him for a walk. She told me later that she's basically had it for the year. That she works primarily with preschool special ed and that there they can usually see improvement, but that this particular boy seems to be sliding backwards. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'd do with this boy if I had him in a class day to day. He can do the work from an academic standpoint, but the rest of the world is just too much for him. I wonder what his future will hold.
I guess if it wasn't for classes like this one, you wouldn't know what the good ones were like. The saddest part is that with so many behavior problems, the kids who put their heads down and work are never recognized. I try to do it at least once a day when I'm in this room, and the teacher does have a reward system in place that I can utilize. I just worry about this group in the higher grade levels...watch out teachers!