A Glimpse Into My Job...Teaching in an Emotional Hospitalization Program
I feel the need to talk about my job. Whether you are a doctor, student, painter or in retail, most of your time is probably spent at work. I'm an elementary teacher in a day partial hospitalization program. Sounds confusing, I know...
Basically, I teach 2nd-6th grade kids with emotional/behavioral issues that prevent them from being in public school. A lot of causes are rape, all kinds of abuse, neglect, runaways, and other traumas. Some of the things these kids have been through you can't even comprehend. It's unreal. These kids don't have anything. Don't have winter jackets, wear the same clothes for 2 weeks without being washed, I've actually taped shoes together before because the holes were letting too much rain/snow in. They don't eat at home, don't have proper hygiene, nothing. Not to mention the continual viruses, rashes and lice that go around the building. Some of our students are residential sutdents as well, meaning they live on "campus" because it's so bad. I've worked in public school before and it is a different world completely.
The behaviors are out of this world. The cursing, screaming and yelling is piercing. Desks get knocked over. Books, pencils, and anything they can get their hands on goes flying across the room constantly. Staff has gotten beaten brutually that they had to go to the hospital. Finger tips have been lost. I've been bitten and punched. Students have gone after me with scissors before. When you walk through the halls, it sounds like you are in a mental hospital with all of the awful noises. We use physical restraints on a continual basis. We have to. You can give these students the world and they don't appreciate it. Nothing is fair. They feel the world is entitled to them after what they have been through. Everything I bring into the room gets destroyed. It's very frustrating when you give them everything and they literally rip it apart and say "it isn't fair."
Academically, almost every student is at least 2-4 years below grade level. Imagine that around state assessment time if you know anything about the education system. It's especially challenging for me since my ability levels span across such a wide grade level gap, 2-6. They don't want to learn, they don't care (but they can). And in a way, how could they when insane and bizzare thoughts and nightmares are racing through their brain every single second. It truly is a difficult job.
But I absolutely love it. I love the kids. Hugs are a 5 minute occurance because these kids don't know what it's like to have someone care about them. They don't have anyone else in their lives that treats them nice, or as humans. I make sure I go out of my way so that everyone of my students is successful. I love teaching them, and constantly try to make my lessons hands-on and exciting to them. It's very challenging, but the reward is so much greater. I love knowing that I am making an impact on at least some of them. There is no greater feeling than getting a letter or visit from a student that has been "discharged" and they thank you for all that you've done. It's incrediable.
I think a lot of people take things in life for granted. A good education is so important and I don't think many people realize that. Also, how many opportunities they have in a life and that they should take in as much as they can. So many people don't have the same chance, by no fault of their own. It's important to be grateful for all that you have. I never realized how good I had it until I took this job. The littlest thing to one person can be everything to another. Something as simple as a meal, clothes and a home with heat in the winter. You'd be surprised how many people don't have those luxuries...and I don't live in a major city. Take everything for what its woth..and more importantly, appreciate it. Every damn day, be thankful.
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