Thursday, November 15, 2012

When students hurt their teacher

It's no secret. I work in special education and, at times, it involves working with non-verbal students. Non-verbal students are a challenge when they become frustrated or mad. They can't speak for what they want. They can't just tell me how they feel. They can't use the voice they don't have. So, sometimes, they act out or pinch until the pinch breaks skin.

Yesterday, I worked with a non-verbal high school student. Actually, I worked with six. Only one broke my skin though. The teachers and I were trying to get him to lunch and he sat in the middle of the hall. I tried to help him up and he grabbed my fingers, dug his fingernails in, and broke my skin a few times. Ow, ow, and more ow. 

I bled and got the message that he wasn't moving.

It was hard, though, as he should have been able to speak but he can't. While he knew that it wasn't okay to hurt me, this was his way of communicating and it just broke my heart.

My students all have their issues but it's hard to watch them struggle and hurt me to get their point across. I'm not defending his actions, however, I am understanding that voice can be more than spoken words. Those without a speaking voice can use actions to get their point across. 

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