Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Perils of Working in Special Education

Working in Special Ed can be dangerous. Depending on the age of your kids and the range of their disabilities you could get seriously hurt. When working with Special Ed you can expect to experience at least one of the following, if not more;

head butting
objects being thrown at you
hair pulled
objects stabbed into you

I have worked in a classroom setting (being paid) for less than one year. In that time I have been: kicked, hit, scratched, and head butted.

One of the aides in the classroom last year got a stapler thrown at her head. I kid you not. A stapler. By a six year old. One of the aides in the room next door has had a pencil stabbed into her. Yeah...this is the stuff you can't even make up.

This year at the school that I am working at we seem to have quite a few aggressive kids. None of them are in my room (thank you Jesus!) but we've had several of the aides bitten (and more) in one class. In another class they had to send a child home today because not only has he attacked the aides and teacher, but also several students.

When I first started out as an aide I would come home and tell my mom stories. She told me that I should ask for hazard pay. I'm just REALLY glad no one has bitten me yet. I think I can endure most of the other stuff...but no, I don't do biting.

Working with special education can be dangerous, and draining. That is just one side of the coin though. It can also be rewarding, and pleasant, and fun. I've said it a thousand times, I'm sure I'll say it a thousand times more. I love my job. It can be perilous in another way too. You might fall in love with your kids. When you do that, because I believe that many people do, then you risk not only your physical body but your heart. You are sad when the kids you work with misbehave. Disappointed when they regress. You feel helpless when they cannot master something, and you don't know how to help them. Frustrated when they can do something, yet refuse to. Completely and totally thrilled when they do something by themselves. Proud when they master something that they struggled so much with. It's a dangerous thing, working with special education, your heart gets involved.

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