In case I'm unaware of the endless hours I've spent glued to my computer working on timetabling, staffing and year end events, I am reminded by the oh so friendly "check your rings" from my Apple watch. Triggered by my uncharacteristic inertness, it alerts me that I am still able to "close my rings" if I just go for a brisk three hour walk. Unlikely.
But despite the need for me to spend a frustrating amount of time staring at a computer screen, I am still committed to devoting a good portion of my day to students. After all, that's what it's all about. Barring early morning meetings or unforeseen emergencies, I am still able to maintain my "good morning" routine of welcoming students. I am still able to make my way into a sea of students at breaks and lunch.
As I took some time at lunch today with students in our lounge area, I noticed one of the Educational Assistants holding up a chart for a student with autism. It gave him a visual reminder of what "zone" he was in. This is a student who has some severe behaviour challenges, but has made amazing progress this year.
Although this student has a very concrete representation of his ability to regulate his emotions, he's certainly not the only one who is struggling in these last few weeks of school. It's a time of anxiety and uncertainty for many: students who are worried about final marks and assessments, staff who are concerned about placements for September...
I am not immune to this whirlwind of uncertainty and unease. And so I purposively look for small examples of positivity and success to bolster me and those around me.
Today, I received just that from the very student that I saw today at lunch. I have seen numerous examples of his success this year. But today, he provided me with an example of my own.
This is a student who takes great interest in figures of authority, ranked in order of "importance" from his perspective: lifeguards, security guards, fire fighters and police officers at the top of the hierarchy. He has developed a pretty special relationship with our school RCMP liaison officer. And he provides "badges" to adults in our school community that "rank" them based on his view of them. Along with the assigning of badges, this student practices positive social interactions. And as I said, he has made incredible gains.
For much of the year, my "rank" has been lifeguard. I knew that I had to work to build trust, to build a relationship with this student. After all, I was the "newbie". I set it as a personal goal to build trust, to move up the "ranks", and prove that I was worthy of the coveted police badge.
Yesterday, I got fire fighter.
And today, nine months into the school year, today I received a police badge.
Now don't get me wrong, I may be "demoted" tomorrow, based on any number of factors. But today, I received very concrete evidence that despite being buried in tasks that don't directly seem to impact students in a meaningful way (although of course they do), I am indeed making a difference.
And so in those moments when my owns zones of regulation may blur into something that resembles a hazy abstract piece of modern art, I will remember this day.
Today, I am a police officer.
Today, I am a police officer.
|My police officer badge!|