Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Survival Mode

I am writing tonight with a heavy heart, for two reasons (the second being the main reason I've been an absent blogger this past month)...

-A student I had in my special ed student teaching classroom, as well as my first year teaching classroom, is struggling with some very significant health issues (related to her disability and chronic, but much more serious now than it's ever been). She has been in the hospital for nearly a month now and the prognosis is not good.

-A current student is going through a mental health crisis which is manifesting itself in some pretty extreme violent actions, defiant/disturbing behavior, even threats to my/my classroom staff's lives. In my world of center-based special ed, these things are not usually viewed as mental health issues but related to the cognitive disability - but as I truly believe it's the former rather than the latter (and he is much higher functioning, cognitively, than any other student in our school), I don't think he's getting the help he needs - and by extension, our classroom is in chaos right now.

I'd love prayers for these two students, from those of you who pray. And for my classroom in chaos. We are in survival mode right now. Any advice from those who have dealt with a severe mental health crisis in the classroom would be welcome, too! (Though I'm well aware that's a vague description and while more information might garner me more helpful/specific advice, I can't share more than that for the student's privacy.)

On a happier note, I discovered today several of my students know and love The Beatles! I grew up listening to The Beatles courtesy of my dad, and I'm delighted my students know some of their songs. I went on iTunes to try to make a classroom mix; I was dismayed to find out songs are now $1.29 instead of the $0.99 I remember! I feel old ;) Still will probably make a mix, though. It's just too fun to pass up - I play music for the kids as they come into the room in the mornings (a half-hour time period as buses from various districts arrive at different times) and this would be great.

More happiness: I was at Target for the first time in a long time the other day. I scored on some books at the Dollar Spot!

I got 7 nonfiction easy-read books for social studies and science! Can't beat the dollar price, really!

I can't believe it's May tomorrow...our May unit is all about water so I'll hopefully be posting about some water cycle activities we'll be doing. Hoping to be a better blogger this month...


  1. Sending prayers and good thoughts. Having been through having a student with significant mental health issues, I have to tell you, there's not a whole lot you can do to decrease the chaos. I hope that there are other professionals that are involved. So sorry you, and your kiddos, have to go through this.

    1. Thanks, Erin. I appreciate the commiseration! The other professionals involved are our school social worker and psychologist, who are great; unfortunately, they are both experts in kids with severe cognitive and physical impairments and not kids with mild cognitive impairments and severe mental illness. This student is in the wrong educational placement (long story) and so he - and we - are not getting the support we all need.

  2. Sending prayers your way! I have a student with moderate mental illness this year...she has an outside case worker and psychologist that she sees regulary. We got permission to speak with them so we could collaborate. I would probably try to get him to an appropriate placement if possible (easier said than done).


    1. Thanks, Becky. I'm glad you're able to collaborate with your student's worker and psych. That must be so helpful for all involved.

      I'm trying to get my student into a more appropriate placement...He is too high-functioning cognitively for our school, so he was slated for a program in his neighborhood school - that is, until these mental health issues began getting really severe. Now they are backing off and saying they do not have a place for him. He is one of those kids I wish I could custom-build a program for, since the right one does not seem to exist!



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