Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z - "S" is for Stress of Being A Severe/Profound Teacher - 5 Things

Writing these blog posts in addition to all the stuff I have to do related to work and home is stressful. But I think my career is even more so. How?

1. At any one time I can have any number of people mad at me. 

Sometimes the lessons we teach during Social Skills class include lessons where people would 'look at you funny' or 'think bad thoughts' about you. These lessons include dressing appropriately, hygiene, talking out of turn, staying on topic, and other things. But lets face it, no matter who you are, someone out there is going to 'think bad thoughts' about an action you make or a conversation you had.

Students can get mad at me for making them work. They usually get over it pretty quickly.

Parents can get mad over a disciplinary tactic they feel is inappropriate. These are the worst.

I get really stressed when people think I'm a bad person, or if I think others are thinking I'm a bad person behind my back. I haven't grown my thick skin yet. I'm learning.

2. At any time and for any reason a student could suddenly have a bad day.

We could be sitting and working on a lesson and suddenly the student grabs me; or maybe someone dissolves into tears over a direction given; or even a change in the routine causes someone to begin banging their head on the floor. When they have a bad day, I have a bad day. I may have to physically intervene or coach someone out of an emotional breakdown.

Something physical could happen, like a seizure, in which I have to call the emergency phone number.

A tantrum could lead to a student missing the bus.

3. Events outside my control could lead to a stressful situation.

The bus could be late, making my day longer as I wait with anxious students for their parents to pick them up or the bus to finally arrive.

The fire alarm could go off for no reason and the school need to be evacuated.

A storm could knock out power for hours and the students would have to sit in the dark and listen to the thunder and lightning. Some of them are really afraid of storms, too. A teacher has to be quick on their feet.

4. Homework!

All the tests, paperwork, grading, and planning provide plenty of homework for the teacher. Sometimes it is too much all at one time. People needing things done can stress you out in any job.

5. Money!

Teachers have to pay for a lot of supplies. My students may need special tools and utensils, art supplies for making individualized schedules, systems for learning hands-on job skills and life skills; and I provide all these things out of my own pocket. I have bought sippy cups, toys, hardware (locks for the fridge and cabinets, as well as things to sort for vocational skills), kitchen supplies, timers, art supplies, and office supplies like duct tape, folders, binders, and notebooks.

Sometimes my team of Therapists and Curriculum Specialists and Autism Specialists will come in to help solve a problem and they will say, 'hey a pool noodle works great for that!' or 'you need to make an object schedule with items and foam board' and I have to go out and buy these things to help the student. Sometimes the experts will buy them, but there is a budget and when it gets used up, I'm on my own. Sometimes the ideal thing hasn't been invented yet!


The point is to learn to deal with all these things in a healthy way. This is the nature of the job. This is what happens. How you respond to it is the key.

Maybe you just look forward to Summer Break!


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