Mums the Word

Well my dears, school started nigh on three weeks ago and I have been… mum.

“Seal up your lips and give no words but mum.” 
–Bill Shakespeare

It’s not that it’s a secret exactly.  It’s just that if you were to ask me how it is going, I would say, “Mmmmm” and then lose track of the conversation almost immediately.  This is not, as it can be, because my brain is empty.  This is, as it can also be, because it is so FULL!  There is so much this year!  It all happened so quickly, and there is so much to say.  Any one story links to tens of others and then I am struck… mum.

So, where to start?  How do you eat an elephant?  I’ll just begin. Or take a bite.  Or something.

Our kids this year are not your typical punk kids.  We have many fewer gun-totin’, teacher-hitting, drug-using turkey-butts than in the past.  This year our kids border on sweet (key word–border), just don’t fit in, and just… need.  They need so much! Example?

In one of my classes you will find…
-A student with seizure disorder and severe attention deficits.  It is unclear when he is having seizures and when is just isn’t listening.  He is learning at grade level though, and is bored easily.
-Two students who have not been to school for over 6 years (if at all) and cannot read, can barely write, and are learning to add.
-A student with serious mental health issues including a perception that we are all out to get him and he must plan his retaliation attempts well ahead.
-A student with Autism who cannot comprehend how to navigate the middle school social whirl (who can?).
-A student with a hearing loss and Tourette’s Syndrome.  He also has attention issues, but it is unclear when he is not paying attention and when he didn’t hear us.  Chicken or egg?
–A student working at 8th grade level in all areas that just needs to “serve her time” with us.

Add in 5-10 other students with a variety of seemingly lesser needs, and I feel like a whirling dervish.  I’m feeling pressure to simultaneously teach two kids to read (to READ for goodness sake!) while another student needs to be challenged with interesting literature and in-depth writing instruction.  One kiddo is spinning on the floor in a distracted state of… distraction while another has his head buried on his desk in despair because someone rolled their eyes at him (have you SEEN how often middle school kids roll their eyes?).  One girl is kicking the chair of a boy she likes while that same boy can’t hear me–or just isn’t paying attention.

And… I just adore them!  I can’t find my own tail end to save my life, but all day I see so clearly that they just need to be taught.  I feel like I have been running at full speed for the last three weeks and the only thing to do is keep running.  So… hang on to your capes my super friends!  This is going to be a fun year!

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