Substitute Teaching: Special Ed (PPHS 4.2)

Introduction. It’s always good when a sub knows the rules. Even the unofficial ones.

Part One. The students at Provo Post High School are not allowed to have sodas. I didn’t know this. I take a 2 liter bottle of soda with me and stretch it between two days of teaching (most days). My brand is Coke Zero. It turns out it is also Martine’s brand. I didn’t know this. So yesterday, I had a fresh bottle of coke and opened it during class and started drinking from it. Martine asked if he could have some and Jeremy, the other aide, said no. This upset him a little, but I thought he had gotten over it.

This morning, Martine shows up with a 2 liter bottle of Coke Zero and it got confiscated. I didn’t know this. He was upset all during the morning and was given time-out several times. He hit one of the students, Cameron, who hit him right back. He was acting out and I was surprised at his behavior. I knew he had the capacity, because he got in a fight with Tyler before and has had several altercations with Cameron, another known fighter. He also likes testing rule boundaries.

Part Two. Moni in the other class had an epileptic seizure today. The one district nurse and the paramedics came in to make sure she was okay. Her mother was at work up in Salt Lake and would not be able to pick her up until after school same as always. They put Moni to sleep on the bean-bag chairs in our classroom while we were working on the computers in the computer lab. She was given a sedative.

When we came back to class, we were told we had to be quiet. Most of the students started tiptoeing around the class in a very exaggerated fashion. During our lunch, we didn’t have music playing. Today was Martine’s day to choose the station. He loves country music, but we couldn’t listen to it because Moni was sleeping in the room. Martine does not make much noise. He is non-verbal and communicates during class using sign language (he only knows twenty or so signs). He voiced his displeasure in sign. He was quite angry.

Part Three. My sports coat is filthy after months of subbing. Last night I dropped off at the dry cleaners to pick up tomorrow. I figured I would be fine for a few days. I wore my favorite Hawaiian-print over a nice tee-shirt and slacks. The weather has been in the forties during the day, so fine for short sleeves.

Conclusion. Joey had the runs most of the day and did not come to school with a diaper, pull-ups or underwear. The half-way house was going to keep him at home, but when the bus pulled up he ran inside and his staff could not extricate him. They called ahead to warn us. Joey is very good at communicating going to the bathroom (also in sign). His extreme OCD also requires he is escorted to the restroom to keep him from rearranging the rest of the facility where the school district’s laundry is done. Jeremy and I were taking turns.

When lunch was over, Joey signs he needs to go now and runs off. It was Jeremy’s turn, so he sprints after Joey. Most of the guys are either finishing their food or sitting quietly. Martine is still upset. I still don’t know the original reason. I go to the cloak room and quickly get my peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and Coke. Martine becomes unhinged. He wants some badly. Because Jeremy said no before, I reenforce the instruction. To avoid trouble, I put my soda back in the cloak room.

When I walk back in, Martine is bent over the sleeping Moni and is about to poke her in the face. I run over and put myself between the two and use my mass to nudge Martine away without putting a hand on him. Martine then becomes unhinged. He started to hit me. I’m a big guy and Martine is only 5′-5″ & a buck twenty-five. I have eight inches and easily two-hundred pounds on him, so nothing he could do would hurt me. He figures this out and stops hitting and starts scratching my left arm. I don’t notice. It does not hurt. I just use my bulk to push him away from the still sleeping Moni. The other students start pointing at my arm. Martine looks down and puts his hands to his mouth in shock. I’m bleeding.

I look down and then back at him and ask: “Martine, did you do this?” He starts to sign he is sorry. I tell him to calm down and to sit in the corner. He does. I stand next to him and make sure he is staying put.

The whole event is quiet. Martine didn’t say anything. He signed all his anger. I’ve been in far worse spots and remained calm then. I didn’t say anything during the altercation. I was never angry at Martine. The teacher, Crystal, and the two other aides were with the classroom next door did not know anything was happening.

Jeremy walks in and Tyler says, “Aaron hurt.” The others are pointing. Martine covered his face to hide, but doesn’t stand up like he normally does when someone walks in. Jeremy lets me go clean up and has Crystal come in to deal with Martine.

The End. I live with five cats and raised teen-agers alone. I have been hurt more at home during the last few weeks than by Martine, but if he were in a mainstream school, he would be facing felony assault charges. I washed up. I bled enough to ensure there would be no infections, but they called the nurse back to be sure. I’m fine, but she’s a friend of my mother so she places a call. My mom is an RN and stopped by after school to be sure I was fine. I am.

I asked, while being examined by the district nurse, if anyone knew what had upset Martine since he was acting out all morning. Crystal told me. Martine especially likes Coke Zero. I felt ashamed immediately. If I had known he was prohibited from having soda at school, I would not bring one. At the other schools, students cannot buy soda on campus, but they can bring sodas with them. Because the kids can not use cell phone, I never bring mine along. I will not be bringing a soda to PPHS again.

As punishment, Martine was not allowed to watch Shrek, the Tuesday afternoon movie. Tomorrow he will meet with the principal. He is still in trouble from his fight with Tyler, so I hope nothing really bad happens.

Moni didn’t wake up until her mother showed up.

Next time I teach at PPHS, I’ll also be wearing my extremely sturdy sports coat. Just in case.

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3 thoughts on “Substitute Teaching: Special Ed (PPHS 4.2)

  1. ogre man, i don’t know how to contact you except here….i hereby present to you the One Lovely Blog Award. i suppose a guy doesn’t really want to be considered lovely, but your writing, your artwork and your heart are, indeed, lovely. check out my blog to see what’s up.

    • I don’t know about that, but temper tantrums by adult sized toddlers are not that hard to deal with. Thanks for the compliment though, I do appreciate it (I’ll forward it to my daughter, Martie).

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