Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Special Ed Blues

So I’m feeling a little discouraged about work right now. I love my job, I really do, it’s just that we started the school year one month ago and three of our nineteen kids have been up for expulsion already. I didn’t realize that this was the case (because things have been so crazy and I haven’t had time to think) until today, when I received a forwarded email from the school counselor originally from an assistant principle, who works a lot with our kids. The email said that he thought it would be a good idea to come down to our classroom and meet with our kids in person to discuss what can and can’t get you expelled. The email also mentioned bringing the campus police officer and the guy at the district office whose only job is to deal with kids that are getting expelled. Here’s the part that made me sad when I thought about it later: I read the email and thought, “That’s a great idea. These kids do need to be reminded of this stuff—they do need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. And those actions—if severe enough—may cost them years of their lives.” I really like the kids I work with, but realizing that this is what is occupying my thoughts just bummed the hell out of me. Why did this bum me out so much? Because I came to the conclusion that I can’t “save” any of them. I can only help them with their exponents and five-paragraph essays. I can only walk them to the door of their classrooms to make sure they don’t ditch class and smoke behind the bleachers. I can only sit with them at lunch to make sure they don’t get out of hand and start throwing crap and cussing at each other. But no, I can’t save them. It just got to me today, that’s all.