I have been teaching individuals with severe disabilities in this school for the past 10 years. So just what does 10 years look like? Well, here is is, by the numbers….
0 – (as in zero) = number of times all of my paras have shown up on time. It is also the number of times all of my students have chosen to take advantage of their exam exemption and not come the last day of school. It is also the number of times I have eaten with other teachers in the faculty eating area because I had a duty-free lunch. This is also the number of other teachers in my system who have taught this population for 10 consecutive years. And finally, this is the number of times I arrived late to school this year. I am usually here 30-45 minutes before start time.
1- This is the number of students I have seen go the whole distance from grade 9 until they aged out. Several have transferred, and a few have died before finishing. I have also had one student who needed to be catheterized 2x daily. This is also the number of days I have missed school this year.
2 – The number of administrators who have actually come in to my room and watched me teach in the classroom in 10 years. Most observations took place in the lunch room while feeding. And some…I have no idea when they occurred!
3 – This is the number of students who have come through who have had to be tube fed in 10 years. It is also the number of SID/PID teachers we had here during my first 3 years here. 3 teachers and 7 paras at one point (year 3 , I think).
4 – Number of principals I have seen come and go in 10 years. They don’t seem to stick around very long here! This is also the number of times I have had to take a test in order to be highly qualified either in my subject or a new one.
5 – Number of times I have been absent in the last 10 years. My youngest was born over a Christmas break! The credit for this goes mostly to Jane who tends the boys when they are sick. This is also the smallest caseload I have ever had in 10 years.
6 – This is the number of times the bus broke down during CBI trips and left us stranded on the side of a road or parking lot somewhere. This is also the legal class size limit in Georgia for a class serving students with profound disabilities.
7 – This is the largest number of paras I have had to supervise in a single year. It is also the number of years I drove a bus for community-based trips.
8 – This is the number of years I was under or at the legal class size limit. Last year I had 7.
9 – My largest class/caseload size which is this year with the addition of 2 more PID students.
10- The largest number of adults serving this program at this school. We had maybe 16 students and only 3 wheelchairs back then, but several behavior/medical issues. 7 paras and 3 teachers.
Okay, maybe next time I’ll go into higher numbers when exploring the last 10 years in this setting with these students.