Special needs.

You know. I do get really tired of being treated like a special needs individual in relation to my students. In relation to life, I'm just kind of used to it. When you don't speak a language, people have a hard time not associating you with a child. But in relation to my job, I think I should have made it obvious by now that I'm not mentally handicapped.

I've got a student in after school, Yeongjae, who I clocked on to being a bit off right away. Why? Because it's fucking obvious when you've had as many students coming through your hands as I have. So, even though Yeongjae still doesn't have a file, and even though Yeongjae is consistently late, and even though Yeongjae rarely actually does the work, I don't scold Yeongjae. I don't hold Yeongjae after class for punshiment for not having a file like the others, and I just ask Yeongjae a simple, gentle question when he wanders in fifteen minutes late, and allow him to answer in Korean. I've also placed a higher level, kind student, Yeongwoo, with Yeongjae in class to help him complete the assigments and participate in the activities.

Yeongjae missed a class very early on -- the second class we had. I told Head Teacher so that she could let the homeroom teacher know. Because that's what I'm supposed to do -- not because I was angry. I also told Head Teacher that I thought Yeongjae was a bit odd, and probably wasn't making trouble, but that his homeroom teacher should know he wasn't in class.

Head Teacher came back to tell me that the homeroom teacher said that Yeongjae is a bit special and that I should not get angry at Yeongjae, because he's not normal. Okay. One time, even after I've already said it myself, can be considered giving information.

Yeongjae has come to class about twenty minutes late twice more now. Yesterday, he told me he was at the hospital, but he seemed really flustered, and it didn't seem likely that a student would go to the hospital at the end of the day and then return. Now. I worry when I see something like that, because students like Yeongjae are very vulnerable to school bullies, and when a student like that is disappearing for large chunks of time here and there, it's possible that there's something shady going on. So I let Head Teacher know, again repeating that I'm not angry, but worried. Again repeating that Yeongjae is a little odd, and I'm not trying to get him in trouble, but that I thought his homeroom teacher should know that he's disappearing inbetween classes. Again repeating that Yeongjae is not a trouble maker, so please not to make it seem bad to the homeroom teacher.

She sends the homeroom teacher a message. Then, she informs me that she got a response. That Yeongjae is a little strange, but that he's not a bad student and please not to get angry at him. That I should try to understand Yeongjae because he has some problems, but he's not trying to make a problem, so please don't shout at Yeongjae.

She delivers this to me with not a hint of indication that she realizes she's repeating or confirming something that I already know. And fuck knows what she told the other teacher I said about Yeongjae in the first place to provoke that kind of response.

Thick. Thick as a fucking plank.

I need a vacation.


Anonymous said...

Damn. Perhaps I am worse at face saving than I thought, because my response to being told the same thing over and over has pretty much been "Yes, I know." from the start.
What's possible, and sad, is that they probably have to tell the same thing to everyone who interacts with your special student, over and over, because there's not much training for dealing with students who don't fit the mold. I've seen some startling displays of lack of sensitivity towards a few of the kids in my schools by otherwise capable teachers, ie humiliating the shy boy with Down's Syndrome because he's speaking English too slowly. He's speaking English, FFS! Give the poor dude a break.

Marilyn said...

So glad to see that you're letting HT know how stupid what she says is. To me, your life is like a movie, and I was getting a bit upset when it seemed like the bad guy was getting away with it. =)