Saturday, May 3, 2014

Years 35 to 37: Elementary Learning Specialist for Central Valley School District: One More Post About Behavior!

Sometimes in this job, it's not just the students or the teachers exhibiting inappropriate behaviors! When you work with a variety of people, schools, students and parents; you are going to see behaviors from EVERYONE. And once in a while, that included me!

My second year in Central Valley, we were having a meeting with some pretty tough parents. These parents were angry and belligerent, and disagreed with everything we were suggesting for their child. We let them vent for several minutes and then I wanted to offer some suggestions in regard to future programming for their son. As I started to speak, the boy's father started making derogatory remarks and kept interrupting me. I could feel my blood pressure rising and soon I was on my feet getting ready to really give this guy a piece of my mind! Now this is not the kind of person you want to make angry as he is the type likely to take revenge. However, that was not on my mind at the moment. Thank goodness it was on Geri's! She reached over and pulled me back down to my chair. Then the administrator that is in charge of the elementary principals, stepped in and escorted this man out of the room and then the school, ducking an attempt by this man to punch him in the face on the way out! Unbelievable! I'm thankful to Geri as I could have been the person needing to duck the punch, and I'm not that fast!

But the flip side of this story is one from December 2012. All of us in the education field were touched and saddened by what happened in Connecticut that month. Those of us who work with the toughest children worry about them and for their futures every day. Then I got this message from one of the most amazing people I know. She works with students in one of our behavior classrooms and is on the "front line" of dealing with behaviors every single day. I've removed her name and the student's from this message she got, but thought it was too powerful not to share. 

Here is what it said:  "I received this Christmas Card from one of the students we have in our classroom at the end of the day. I didn't really have time to reflect at that moment as we were trying to send all students off on their winter break. I did however thank the student and gave him a big hug. When I got home and I  was putting things away, I looked at the card again, and I came to the conclusion that this is why I still do what I do. I realized that I don't receive things like this every day. Cards like this are few and far between. Usually, the message I get from most children with behaviors is that they are angry and I am just another adult trying to tell them what to do. However, the message I try to send after every behavior is that I will want to work with you again tomorrow. I have been saying this to all students for many years now and sometimes think they don't really hear me. In reality, my message is heard. And though I go through these periods of being frustrated with behaviors, other adults and myself, I can't imagine doing anything else at this time. And though there might come a time I change my mind, for the time being, this is why I still do what I do."

At times like that, I am so proud to be working in this field. It is such a privilege to know and work with people like this; and I will miss these fantastic educators when I retire. But like she said, this is why we do what we do.