Day #347 – The Trouble With Subs, Part 2 of 2

A continuation from yesterday.  The trouble with school substitutes is three-fold.

Surprises are not good.
There is one teacher that holds power in a classroom.
These teachers (like Mrs. H.) have worked at ‘getting’ Tucker.  They know his triggers and they know how to get him back on track.

There is one person in a classroom who has power…the teacher.  If he’s in the library, it’s the librarian.  If he’s in study hall, it’s the study hall supervisor.  He gets the ‘power’ differential.  He respects teacher authority.  However, he does not recognize teacher/student aides as having power in the classroom.  His teachers and I have had several conversations about this and here is what we have decided.

Tucker does not really need academic help – yet, he feels set apart.  He checks in with a Special Education teacher every day…really to just make sure he’s on track and has what he needs to be successful in the day.  If we run into social or academic issues these meetings become more intense.  He recognizes the others students in the special education room – but he does not identify with them.  He also doesn’t totally identify with the general education students.

He’s caught in the middle.

So, when the aide of another student tries to help him in the general education setting he often freaks out.  The teacher is there to help him…not the aide.  That aide should ‘mind their own business with the child they are there for.’  (yes…direct quote)

In these moments his brain spins and rolls trying to understand why someone who is not his teacher would try to help him.

These teachers (like Mrs. H.) have worked at ‘getting’ Tucker.  They know his triggers and they know how to get him back on track.

Need I say more?  Most often substitutes come into a classroom and have no idea what they are getting into.  For instance…

they may not know that Tucker has permission to walk out if it all gets too much
they may not know that Tucker will get up and walk to keep his brain engaged
they may not know that Tucker receives help in certain ways
they may not know that Tucker won’t give eye contact
they may not know that Tucker has a different processing style
they may not know to not raise their voice towards him
they may not know he needs to know the rules
they may not know that they need to wait just a bit longer for him to ask a question
they may not know…well…that Tucker is just Tucker

They probably don’t know any of that – and it’s no fault of their own.  It’s simply reality.

In these moments his brain spins and rolls trying to understand why someone is forcing eye contact or yelling at him to stay in the room, trying to understand the implicit rules or if the teacher just used sarcasm, trying to understand why he can’t get up and why the teacher won’t listen.

Hopefully, it’s no longer difficult to understand why substitutes present a challenge…but this time, thanks to Mrs. H, we have plenty of time to work at getting it right.

warning-sub-teacher

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One thought on “Day #347 – The Trouble With Subs, Part 2 of 2

  1. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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