Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

As you know, I was at my school for the last two days getting Miss Mae up and running.  I have to admit, I am still in a fog of smug euphoria about it all.

Anyway, as I was leaving yesterday, I bumped into my principal.  She looked harried.  She was carrying a large soda and was running late from one meeting and heading into another.  She was kind enough to give me a huge hug.  That hug assuaged my paranoia for a bit.

She was off to a budget meeting.  Yuck.  There is no money and I have no doubt her boss was going to tell her she was going to have to run her school on even less cash next year.  May I remind you here that her boss is the assistant superintendent who leads by intimidation and bullying.  I am just sure he will be ever so helpful in guiding her through squeezing more blood from her turnip.  NOT.

She had been in a meeting earlier this week with the assistant superintendent of pupil services (yes, we have several assistant superintendents in a medium sized school district.  Hmmmm) to discuss how she thinks special ed services and such are meeting her needs.  Well, they are not. Go figure.  But none of her concerns are any different than they have been for the last two years.  Nothing changes.  Nothing ever will.

So the way I see it, my principal spent two half days in meetings either expressing her concerns which will not be taken seriously or hearing that she will have much less money next year than she got this year.

Remember that I thought of becoming a special education administrator because I assumed I would have a bit more power to make meaningful changes, to make things better.  Does anything I just wrote about lead you to believe administrators at that level have any power to make meaningful changes?  What an idiot am I.  It is best I am now floundering without cause or direction than continuing my delusional pursuit of fixing all that is wrong by becoming an administrator.

I saw one of my EAs yesterday and she dragged me under the staircase to tell me about an incident with my hardest won kiddo.  The one that has pulled at me since he was in first grade.  He is now a fifth grader.  Evidently he had a huge melt down and needed to be restrained...the exact wrong thing to do to him as it sends him into a bigger panic due to abuses inflicted upon him before he was even verbal..  Anyway. He basically hates my replacement and she doesn't particularly care for him. Luckily my EA, who loves him as much as I, took over and did the restraining and cooing sweet nothings into his ear to calm him.  He tried to bite my replacement and called her every vile name in the book.  I have a stomach ache even telling you all this... and I don't even have all the details.

What galls me most, and I am tearing up now just writing about it, is that in the end my replacement referred to her Dubuque Management System and made him sit knee to knee with her, look her in the eye and tell her he was sorry.  Fucking unbelievable!  He can't look anyone in the eye.  It actually hurts him.  This is nothing short of abuse.  And I promise to blog about each and every stupid recipe, cookie cutter approach to EBDland methodology that is on the market.

For those of you wondering what the Dubuque Management System is, here is a quick summary. The Dubuque Management System uses a set of eleven social skills for elementary students (never mind that there are more than 11 social skills and that kids are individuals). Through a scripted behavioral program (gotta love a good script!), students are taught social skills (completely out of context) in one on one situations. A rating scale is included that can be filled in by the student, teacher, and parent to evaluate the present level of each skill. This could be used as a pretest and post test to more efficiently evaluate individual progress. And you all know how I love a good point sheet! (dripping sarcasm here)

If I can sway just one of you to become an independent thinker, not rely on these depersonalizing approaches to EBD kids, I will have served a purpose.

So stay with me this month.

Geez.  I sure am glad I have a place to vent.

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Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.