August 19, 2016, Prescott- For two weekends in a row, going to a “free” concert by a local band, named The Cheektones, has been a fine way to unwind from a work position that requires every ounce of my energy and commitment. More about them, later.
Simply put, most people have little or no understanding of the troubled. I have listened to, and worked with and around, two conflicting agendas, both of whose proponents purport to want what’s best for the kids in our care. I have operated, for forty years of work with children and youth, on a gradually-established, and continually fine-tuned, intuition and sensibility. I made all manner of errors, my first three years of teaching, and learned from every one of them, while being remorseful over those who fell behind, or fell through the cracks. Those of my early students who are still living are in their mid-fifties now. Chances are, most of them have gone on and lived fairly complete lives.
Nothing remains in stasis, for very long. My current small group of children are, more than even the average child, all about the moment- and it could be the polar opposite of the moment before- or that which lies straight ahead. Some adult observers “recognize” chemical imbalance; others see “parental spoiling”; still others just know the pain- and want to heal.
I tend to be in the last category. Most of you know, by now, of my own having grown up autistic, somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum. “Emotionally-handicapped” people are, therefore, special to me. I want nothing more than to win their trust and help them grow into, at least, a position of functionality.
I have thus tended to find myself in classrooms where such children are placed, in a group. This grouping is not ideal, either for the students, or for the (usually small) team of adults who work with said grouping. Adults of a certain age also tend to bicker, openly, then are astounded at the insolence of the children. This happens between spouses, ex-spouses, co-workers and supervisors/subordinates. I, admittedly, have done my share of bickering, in various settings, over the years.
I got out of the circular chase by stopping myself, and just listening. Being now in a workplace where I am allowed to say very little, in the presence of my immediate supervisor, albeit enjoying freer speech at school-wide meetings, I have grown ever more comfortable with just being still. With the children, though, as I get to know them better, I can, and will, impart to them a code of decency and respect, which many of them have not known, other than intuitively, in their all-too-brief lives.
It is this year’s primary task to bring balm to the sore, to heal the simmering wound.