My day started with a 7:00 meeting. Maybe not a big deal for you, but when you have to leave for work before six to get there, well, you see the problem. I met with a classroom teacher and the speech/language pathologist to discuss how we were going teach "Adam" how to regulate his own attention. Because when he focuses for ten seconds at a time, it's a good day. And mom is unwilling to help him out by seeing if maybe medication might help. (But that's a post for another day.) So we are going to try a MotivAider, which is a bit like a timer that goes off (vibrates) every sixty seconds then resets itself to go off at the next sixty second mark. The idea is that every time it vibrates, it will wake Adam up and he will have to mark on a piece of paper if he was doing what he was supposed to be doing.
The principal happens to stop by to listen in on the meeting, and when we start talking about me showing Adam how to use this device (and guiding him through it during a lesson in his classroom for a couple of days), our speech pathologist pipes up to point out that it would be so much easier if Adam had a one-on-one aide to help him attend and stay organized.
At this point, the principal asks me if I could "push in" for an hour every day to help him out with this. [As a resource room teacher, you use the term "push in" when you go into a general ed. classroom to help a student, and "pull out" when you take that student out of the classroom to provide services]. So here's how that conversation went down:
P: "Sarah, can't you just push in for an hour every day?"
Me: What? When did you get the impression that I have hours upon hours at my disposal instead of kids to teach? "No, my schedule is booked solid back to back with kids. I can definitely carve out some time for one or two days temporarily to train him how to use this, but not everyday"
P: "Yeah, but your caseload numbers are low. You and the other resource room teacher only have 12 to 13 students each! The RR teachers before you had over twenty each! Can't you just double up on some kids to find the time?"
Me: Ummm, no. I'm not going to run my classroom like a 3-ring circus, crowding in five to eight kids at a time like the teachers before me. If you want to see growth and progress, you must invest one-on-one or two-on-one. Also? The reason our caseload numbers are down is because students have made so much growth with me that they've moved back into general ed. full time. Also? Stop telling me how to do my job. "If I doubled up on kids, I would be doing a much less effective job. The reason I need to keep my groups small is to maximize growth and progress."
Later, the principal sent one of the deans to come talk to me to find out why I couldn't "push in" with Adam for an hour every day. [Can you hear that banging sound? That's my head against the wall...]