this week in a teacher’s life

A week that was.

As much as I long for last year’s half-Sabbatical and time to post in blogs, interview poets and study, I know that the demands of full-time (and more than full-time) teaching require every ounce of my cool.

I need to start the day with meditation and then refresh that state a few times a day.

I often apply critically timed doses of t’ai chi to re-centre.

and i need to ‘be here now’ when the going gets tough.

So, 14 Special Ed students in the 7th grade require head-on love and patience while organization would really help the scene. Each one works at a different rate. Each one demands one to one attention and the next workpage in a series of endless workpages.

Each one requires a number, a grade, upon each workpage. my cup runneth over.

There are those who are fully medicated and perhaps have been for several years. This is apparent only when those students arrive without medication and apparently no clue as to how to sift out extraneous distractions (or those that come from their own fertile minds). Again, i see the sad truth that upon the first sign of jumpiness, or impulsive blurting, these children have been carted off to a neurologist in order to attain a prescription remedy.

There are other ways to work on focus! And i’m beginning to see that i must not divert my own focus on sharing those methods.

My thesis prepared with Pnina Medan and Dvora Teboul back in 2003, How the Arts Focus students with ADHD, was based on optimism as well as experimentation showing that using the arts in class can focus attention and awaken self-pride.

Alas, this must be done.

……

okay. How about the story of G, 9th grade. G is an aggressive, sneering but likable entity. G’s never really conquered the English alphabet and so when G was at risk of being shuffled off to a larger, more advanced Special Ed class, he and I both felt his pain. I offered to teach him a few hours a week and work from the beginning. He even requested it.

So we’ve begun. And our second lesson transpired. This time, G brought his own focusing technique. Apparently, he’s invented an online form of poker that requires his dedicated attention every few minutes in order to supervise the game.

This he reported to me and begged my indulgence (or words to that effect). I could only look at the respectful way he mentioned this (a long cry from his past behaviour of sneering, claims of being disrespected, and walking out of the class), and agree. Together with the first melodic sounds  of  ‘a’, ‘t’ and ‘m’ he deftly managed the poker tournaments going on in various locations.

Alternate focus technique at its prime.

And so, linear life takes on non-linear directions.

More art, less medication. More breathing exercises, less dependence on a pill. From my heart to reality. May it be.

shalom from judih

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