Fairly regularly I'll get home, have a glass of wine, read for a while on the couch, do the NYT crossword (or a portion), watch some bad cable news show, and then find myself frozen by an event at school which I'd repressed earlier.
I don't know how to describe this, but certain things happen at work which I just have to file away for later processing in order to keep going. I see something so disturbing and wrong and sad that I just say "not now" and drop it into a temporary emotional holding cell for later. Today the AP was in my room lecturing the kids about the Golden Rule when she saw Ear Ache in the corner. "You are supposed to be in 6-12 now. I told you this morning."
A little background: Ear Ache is a devil, one of the energetic special ed kids who can derail an entire class with his machinations. I have him in homeroom and first period, and he's rather calm for me. He still disrupts class with his antics, his Tourette's-like announcements of ass-kickings he will un-leash, his shootings of rubber bands, his continuous spastic movements. But he stays in his chair for me because I called his house once and he's terrified I'll do it again.
Ear Ache wears me out because every question, every text, every thing I do or assign he has to have read to him carefully one-to-one, and I often have to go through texts with him, asking leading questions to get him to the answer. I am pretty busy in the class room and he makes my life exponentially more difficult. But Ear Ache tries really hard with his rudimentary skills, and he gets the answer correct rather often. The other kids call him stupid and retarded and he always defends himself fiercely, and to be frank I've grown rather attached to his annoying needy little self. He's funny, he's scrappy, he made me a drawing of a pimped-out race car which I hung on my wall, and I don't mind taking the time to help him.
So when an assistant principal told him in front of all the other kids that he was supposed to be in what the kids refer to as the "retard class," Ear Ache was devestated. I'd been in on the meetings where this move was discussed, and though my input was that I had little trouble with him, the other teachers--who have him later in the day, at more active times--were pretty insistent that he needed to be taken from the inclusive environment and put into more appropriate services. I thought: he might benefit from this. I'm rather skeptical about the whole inclusive idea anyway. I sympathize with the idealism behind it, but in my experience special ed children don't get the services they need in general ed classes, and then they act out spectacularly and NO ONE gets an education.
But when the AP made her announcement this morning she continued on with her Golden Rule schpiel to the class, never once considering the brand she'd just applied to Ear Ache in front of his peers. I was next to him at the other side of the room. "Mr. Godfrey!" he pleaded, big eyes welling. "I don't want to move over there. I want to stay here." Instead of his usual smiling, intense, and robust carriage, he was slumped down in his seat with his chin on the table. Tears were streaking down his cheeks. "Mr. Godfrey, I really want to stay here." I put my hand on his head and told him he could visit me every morning and come use my computers after school every day, but his crying got worse. "I'm not stupid," he said. "No, you are not stupid, Ear Ache. It will be OK," I said. The kids around him all laughed and said "he is stupid." During a fucking lecture on the Golden Rule! And then Ear Ache said "Can I have some extra credit? Can I stay here if I do extra credit."
Down the memory hole for a while with that one!
The AP took Ear Ache away, resisting and crying, and then he came back with a note from the counselor that he will transfer on the first day of next term. I still have a few weeks with him, and I think I'm going to fight to keep him in my general inclusion class, pain in the ass tho he is.
I just find it weird that I can witness this, completely submerge it and teach all day, and then burst into tears unaccountably nine hours later and have to figure out what the fuck I'm thinking about.