Tuesday, August 18
As of July, there were few places that Sir felt might be worse than the salt mine. Complacency and lack of motivation was mistaken for, as it often can be, a workplace without meaning, a teacher without a heart, students with no connection. Despite the MacMansions that surround the salt mine, the proximity to the Melton Highway where the slow urban sprawl has almost closed the gap between Hillside and Melton Proper. All of these reservations and small factors have played on Sir's mind over the last half year, factors that have irritated and niggled in that itchy place just under the skin of the collar bone where professional pride sits.
Sir has begun to teaching casually through an agency. Something very strange has happened.
Sir is now transparent to other teachers, and a one hit wonder with students on any particular day. The transparency is both refreshing and spooky. Refreshing because of the lack of investment in any particular institution and Sir's ability to just walk away from anywhere scary. Spooky because other teachers not only have no interest in Sir but they are more actively obnoxious to Sir. This unpleasantness ranges from special school leading teachers informing Sir of the recent outbreak of Pig Flu and the effects that it had on schools in the Western Suburbs (OMG did youse know that kids were quaranitined schools were closed??) to being ignored when asking for directions. Or even more surprising, while Sir was working at a P - 9 school down the road from the salt mine, a staff member looked for her second head when she asked to remove a little turd and place them into another class. Sir was informed that this student wanted to leave class and the best thing to do would be to write an incident report. An incident report, coming from a Casual Relief Teacher... interesting strategy.
(Note: both Special schools and the staff that work in them are extra-ordinary places that are underfunded and poorly staffed in general. Don't get Sir started on the lack of suitable housing for young people with disabilities..)
Despite the general unpleasantness of being treated like a moron, Sir was in the unique position of remembering just what freaks special school teachers are. Worse than being in a *new* school in a *new* suburb without trees, birds or natural noise of any kind, baking on the basketball courts without sunscreen or sunnies on a random warm August day. Special school teachers are even more unbearable than primary teachers (... picture a Mathematics conference seminar where some teachers are completing the problem solving task designed to engage a four year old student and other teachers are either asleep or looking straight ahead with glazed over eyes. Now spot the primary teachers).
Special school teachers are inclined to describe their intentions word for word while simultaneously signing their actions. They *pop-in* to a classroom with a CRT and and aide and stay for the whole day. They are incapable of having a conversation with an adult. And they are shameless about touching students, both for restraining purposes and praising students. Woah... put your chairs back into the upright position. Dunno about anyone else but this creeps Sir out! Knowing full well that kids with disabilities need touch and physical re-assurance, but.... these kids have families, right? So, hats off to the teachers that work with these children, and the kids themselves. But hats on to boundaries and maintaining healthy safe ones, ay?