This summer I am teaching Special Ed in a class with nine nine-year-old boys. Needless to say, I’m exhausted and have had frozen yogurt three nights in a row. As dinner. It’s also possible that I’m drinking a lot of my feelings, alternating between Starbucks and Bevmo runs. And this is the first week!
It has challenges, but I am also falling in love with my kids. The range of ability is pretty wide…I have three that can’t verbally communicate, you’ve got your kids that rock, that hit, that make high-pitched noises, that get fixated on one word and repeat it over and over. (i.e. “caballo,” Spanish for “horse,” from 10:30-12noon and then laughing himself silly. not joking). But they run to hug me when I walk in the room, and hold my hand on the way to lunch, and make me promise I will come back tomorrow. :)
AND – despite not being able to communicate well, my kids still say some really funny things.
Here are some highlights:
When I introduced myself on the first day, one said “Miss Weight? But that’s a word. That’s not a name.” And then gave me this “what kind of idiot teacher are you?” look. Because of how most of them speak, it comes out like “Miss WaaaAAAaaaaiiiii…..” so freggin cute.
Today I wore a long skirt with peacock feathers on it. All four of the boys in my group commented on my skirt and the colors and said “you look pretty Miss WaaaaAAAAiiiii….” And then one asked me to the movies. “Avengers.”
When movie date came out of the bathroom later and I handed him his lunch, he said “I can taste the power and the responsibility,” and then took a huge bite. I stopped in my tracks and said, “is that from Spiderman?” and he said “oops!” and ran into the cafeteria.
During math time, Mr. Movie Date said “Miss Waaaaiii…I’m tired. My hands hurt. Can I take a break?” Not knowing how the normal class works, and thinking, eh, we just had brunch, I’m tired, too! I said “sure!” and got him a Dr. Seuss book to read. I turned to help B with his worksheet, and the aide walks over and says “Why is A asleep in a book?” Sure enough, I turn around and he is face planted into Hop on Pop. I explained that he asked for a break. She goes, “they’re 9 years old. This is school. They don’t get to sleep.” My turn to say “oops!”
But the BEST MOMENT EVER:
We were coming up with words that start with the letter “a.” Someone came up with “anteater” and I jumped on it!
Me: What do anteaters eat? It’s another “a” word!
Class: (crickets….pins dropping….blank stares…drool)
Me: Guys – what do anteaters eat? What does it sound like?
Class: (nothing nada zip)
Me: No one has any idea what ANTeaters eat?!
A: My mom makes burritos.
Me: No, not burritos.
C: Tacos then?
It was so fantastic. I’m hungry just writing about it.
So I’m tired beyond all reason, and really just want a hug that doesn’t come with drool or boogers or a concern about the last time those hands were in the pants of the one hugging me….and my heart is heavy for these kids. But I also fight happy tears back when they want to show me a picture of a ninja they colored, or ask me to go down the slide with them.
Learning and loving a lot.