As with any job, I have my good and not so good days as a substitute teacher’s aide. Sometimes the class is just having a challenging day. The teacher and staff are terrific but some of the students are having issues that day. Such as the day when I came home feeling like I had been at the Wild, Wild West where there was too many outlaws and not enough possee.
The youngest four students were the issues. Two of them were allergic to the word “NO”. When either was told that word, they would kick shins or run around the room trying to get away. Another one of the four likes to say “NO” a lot. And, “I don’t want to”, “shut up”, “you’re mean”, etc. Then, there was the one who would climb as far as the ceiling would let him.
I worked with the older kids with their classwork. Unlike the younger ones, they didn’t hide under the table or throw their papers across the room. A 4th grade girl was golden in doing her work without complaint but the 5th grade boys complained that it was either too hard or too boring. I didn’t argue; just stated it wasn’t up for discussion. The ones who were griping did eventually finish. They were inspired by the girl who finished first and got rewarded with an I-pad.
I had oodles of empathy for the students, including the littlest among them. Like the students, I am living on the spectrum too. I had my own struggles that day. The noise in a nearby room was at times loud when one of the children screamed as loud as their voice would let them. I wanted to put my hands over my ears and hide under the table myself.
To add to the madness, I had a conversation, well, more like, an attempted conversation with someone I assume is a neuro-typical (NT), not on the spectrum. I enjoy talking to this person when our paths cross, but not when he changes the subject in mid-air. He was good at asking questions that were about me. Get me started about myself or my interest and I’ll run the ball with it. However, he’d intercept every time I responded to his question. I didn’t have the nerve to say let me run with the ball so I can make a touchdown (finish answering the question).
It took a double dose of ibuprofen and retreating after school to my igloo (bedroom) for recharging to get through my day of autism madness without going mad.