An autistic trait that gets me in hot water sometimes is difficulty with verbal instruction. I think I would do better with a full page of step-by-step written instructions than a half minute of verbal. Insert a diagram and I’m set to go!
Once upon a time, I was assigned to four kindergarten “kinder” classes. I had a schedule where I spent some time in each class doing whatever the teacher needed help with. One of the first things that morning was walking with one of the kinder teachers to another room in the building to pick up crayons. She was explaining why I would need them for later. I later learned my interpretation of that conversation was, in a word, OFF!
We stopped by a room that she said later would be where the kids would have art. I assumed this was the art room and the teacher in the room she introduced me to was the art teacher. The kinder teacher told me the kids would have art in the afternoon and I would go with them and take the crayons with me. I didn’t think at the time it was strange carrying crayons back to the class. Why not leave them in the art room with the art teacher?
Well, art time came and I was escorting one of the kinder classes down to the room. The problem was I forgot about the crayons until I was halfway down the hallway. Common sense would have dictated my telling the teacher I had to go back and get the crayons. But back when they handed out common sense, I must have been hiding under the bed. HA!
My thinking was once the kids were settled in the art room, I would go back and pick up the crayons. Well, that plan would have worked if there had been an art teacher. The teacher I saw earlier that morning was NOT the art teacher.
That morning’s conversation with the kinder teacher was replaying in my head and I misinterpreted a few things. The reason the teacher and I picked up the crayons was because the art teacher was absent that day. We were not in the art room but occupying one of the general ed 6th grade rooms and it was their teacher who I met that morning.
For all intents and purposes, I was the art teacher! And, I had 20-something kinder students with a picture for them to color with NO crayons.
Common sense would have dictated I use something called a “telephone” to call the kinder teacher or the office for HELP! It didn’t occur to me to call until after the end of this unforgettable school day.
Instead, I asked the kinders if anyone knew where “Mrs….” room was since it wasn’t their teacher who had the crayons in her room. I learned a lesson the hard way. Don’t ask such a question to 5-year-olds. Everyone volunteered by raising their hands and their voices with it. Sheer pandemonium!
I was rescued by the teacher across the hallway who had an ample supply of crayons. She brought them over and while there, used her “experienced” teaching voice to quieten the kinders down several notches. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t have blamed her if she wondered what planet I came from.
We all learn some things the hard way. I learned if I find myself in a jam in a classroom alone with students of whatever age, don’t forget there is such a thing as a telephone to call for HELP! And, only under exceptional circumstances should I ask for volunteers in a kinder classroom. This wonderful age group is not my top pick assignment since most kinder classes have 20 or so kids to a class and that’s 20-something pairs of lungs testing my low level of noise tolerance.