Before we get too far into this week’s topics, we would like to thank everyone who celebrated with us online for our first eight (two) years. It truly is something we are very proud to have accomplished. We have a lot on the list for the next two months, let alone another eight years so we’re going to keep going.
Renay has been doing this a lot more lately, talking about the misfortunes of educators. We thought she was just really ready to share with us about some of the things that have bothered her. But it wasn’t the situations that bothered her, it was the aftermath.
One of the reasons Renay spends a lot of time at the secondary level, there is a lot more communication that can happen with students with disabilities. Not just around their disability, but around the things that make the student feel like they are backed into a corner. However, there is a large population of students that Renay works with that are not able to communicate, especially at the moment. And a lot of the students at secondary are just bigger. Taller, more muscle, sometimes outweighing staff members. And that can be a factor in unpredictability.
Renay will tell you if you’re someone who has never been hit, she’ll tell you it’s coming. And rarely, it will be because you’re unprofessional with a student.
- At secondary, be prepared for a hit to hurt. The student is bigger. Some students have no idea how much stronger they are no matter their physical size.
- Sometimes you may miss the signs that a student will strike. Never be so busy that you miss the signs. Don’t be hurt that you missed them either. Many things can go wrong all at the same time.
- If it is a student who has never hit anyone before, it might feel like a horrible weight on you. That perhaps you missed the signs or maybe you asked for too much that day. Take some time, use your time to take a break.
- An administrator will ask you the sequence of events. Be clear about open or closed fist. Be clear about if you are bruised and where. Some administrators will ask you if you followed the Behavior Plan, we hope you did.
- Speaking of the Behavior Plan: when you see it start, remember the highlights. Where should you stand with a student? How should you stand? What should you say? What do you not say?
- If you witnessed your co-worker in a physical situation with a student: be supportive. Get other students away. Get other staff to help out. Remember that it is as scary to watch a student hit an adult as it is for the adult to be hit by a student.
- Talk with the other staff to help them understand what transpired to be sure they are safe when working with the student.
Uncovering the reasons why a student hit comes in a lot of different directions. And it is never easy. We will get there in a future posting. But in the meantime: get some help. Talk it out with a co-worker. It was a combination of many complex circumstances. It is okay. We all learn something when someone gets hit. Even if it is not something we cared to learn by being hit.
On When A Student Dies
We’ve discussed this before, but when a student dies, even if the student was in general education, it sucker punches you. The hope that you had for the future of that student has suddenly been whisked away. The smile you depended on seeing one more time is gone.
Remember to reach out and talk to other colleagues. Remember that you may have access to grief support counseling. Remember the good things of your student, remember that time they learned. Remember that time they were off task and had to draw the student back into being on task.
Thank you for your time. We do miss the fact you will not come by and say ‘hi’. We were looking forward to the stories of the things you’d accomplish.
Once again on the road
Look for Renay at Cal-TASH. We’re there both Friday and Saturday. Can’t wait to see you all then.
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Mondays, unless a holiday or announced day off. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.