On the eve before school starts most educators are filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety about the first day of school. I know as an EA I’ve always been nervous about the first day for few reasons. I wrote a post at the beginning of last school year sort of explaining why I have a hard time with the new school year. This year is different for me, as I am off on maternity, but somehow I’m still experiencing these emotions. I guess old habits die hard.
Perhaps it’s because over the years of being an EA, my job description has changed. It used to be an EA was a person in the classroom who worked with the students who needed support with their school work. We were supports. Over the past few years, the role of the EA has changed from being an ‘educator’ to being a ‘behaviour manager’. I have scars – physical scars from being bit, hit or kicked from some of these children.
Many of these ‘behaviour‘ kids are coming back to school after having been largely ignored all summer. Most of the kids I work with now, are either sat in front of their tv, allowed to play video games far too advanced (and violent) for them or exposed to their parents frequent late night partying involving drugs and alcohol, in addition to being ‘undiagnosed’. So coming back into a routine where there are rules, boundaries and limitations as well as consequences for their actions is a shock for them.
SIDE NOTE: PLEASE KNOW THAT IF YOUR CHILD REQUIRES AN EA FOR A BEHAVIOUR AND HAS A DIAGNOSIS I AM NOT REFERRING TO YOU HERE AT ALL.
Because these children don’t have the coping skills to verbally express this shock, they lash out physically, resulting in some injuries – not just to me, but sometimes the classroom teacher or other students. I implore you, if you have a child in a class who has an EA, ask them about the child the EA works with and what they witness.
So on the night before school starts, I’ve always had the big mix of emotions. I’m excited to see my student, I want help them, cheer for them and praise them. I want to do my job…but I know for the next month or so, I’ll be run off my feet, come home bruised and tired and even though I know I’m not heading into the school tomorrow, I’m still feeling these emotions.
‘Tis the season.