Thursday, February 16, 2012

My New Job

Last month, I stopped working at The Library and am now working at The School. I made the switch for cash money reasons, since I was working at the library part-time without benefits, but I don't begrudge the decision on professional-fulfillment grounds, because I think it's going pretty well.

I'm a special education assistant at an elementary school. Specifically, I help this little bro who is in the fourth grade and has autism. He's extremely interesting, fitting stereotypes about autism in some ways and not at all in others. I don't want to talk about him too much on the internet (although I'll probably answer questions if you have them in the comments), but I will say that he's almost nonverbal, meaning that there are some ways that I draw on my past experience of babycare to work with him; at the same time, there's plenty he can do and understand. (And he is just as physically able as any of his classmates.) We're working on fundamentals of math and reading, and he's learned a noticeable amount in both areas just since I started working with him. Needless to say, that's really awesome.

I also work some with the other kids in my lad's class, either generally trying to help when he's with the group, or during a segment in the middle of the day where the special ed teacher works with my lad. And I have to say, it's so much more challenging to work with the big groups of "regular" kids. Fourth graders, man, they don't like to sit still, much less sit still and learn stuff. Not that I don't enjoy it. I help out in the social studies part of the day, and this month they've been working on presidents. You know I've been dropping some presidential trivia knowledge on those kids.


MacKenzie said...

I was wondering when you said "the school" what you were talking about. Now I know. Sounds interesting - I hope to hear some great stories from it (not necessarily about the little dude, just general "4th graders are funny people" stuff)

Craig said...

I did a little elementary school substituting, and I thought kindergartners and 1st graders were the worst. They never give you a chance to sit down. One girl cried three times in one day. It was harsh.