Monday, May 12, 2008

So You Think You Had A Bad Day?

I know in the past I've complained a lot about my job on this blog, like here, here, here and here. But after talking to my brother on Friday, I realized that little things in the workplace like inept managers and male chauvinism really aren't that bad in the grand scheme of things.

My brother is a teacher at a private school that is dedicated to teaching students with "learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, behavioral disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Asperger Syndrome, and pervasive developmental delays." Except the students are light on the learning disabilities, Autism, Asperger Syndrome and pervasive developmental delays, and heavy on the emotional disturbances and behavioral disorders. And the terms emotional disturbances and behavioral disorders are really just politically correct phrases for a condition known as "I've been in jail so many times I've lost count and I'm only 15." And we're not talking jail time because they decided to "borrow" a parent's car so they could take it for a joyride and mowed down a couple of mailboxes in the process. We're talking assault, drugs, etc. His students are from broken homes, group homes--these are the type of kids that are almost destined to become felons because the situations they were born into are short on the options for anything else.

It's basically a glorified continuation school, and my brother isn't so much a teacher as he is a prison warden.

The students routinely attack each other, and, on occasion, the teachers. Fortunately my brother hasn't been on the receiving end of such attacks as of yet, although one of his students did draw a picture of him, complete with a butcher knife through his head, and then proceeded to announce "Hey, Teacher, this is you," in case there was any confusion. When I talked to him about it, he told me that this particular budding artist/student of his was the least of his worries. Nice, huh? My boss might insult my intelligence, but at least I don't have to worry about him killing me.

Anyway, that's not what made Friday such a bad day for my brother. No, Friday one of his students had enough of the Life he had carved out from himself and hung himself from a tree on campus. There were no parents to call--the student lived in a group home. There was no massive outpouring of grief or sympathy--this kid fell through the cracks too long ago for that to happen. The kid's entire legacy will be summed up by the paperwork my brother will have to fill out today.

I think I'll be nicer to my boss today.


Colleen said...

Wow! Your brother has a rough job! I taught in an Elementary School in a very needy area & it was difficult to hear of the problems my students had at home. Your brother is amazing for taking on the challenge at that school! I can't even imagine how horrible that must have been to have a student hang himself on campus. That is so sad that the student felt that was his best option. I hope that your brother is able to stick with this job. If he makes a difference in the life of only one student, it will be worth it.

Jillian said...

Yikes, how depressing. We have a friend that works in a school similar to your bro's. It can be kinda scary and certainly puts things in perspective.

Queen Goob said...

I guess I should quit complaining about my Mother's Day. Your brother sounds like a special person as that's what it takes to deal with these troubled kids. God bless him and the young boy he lost.

Mrs. R said...

Colleen: Yes, it is sad. I personally would like to see my brother in a different work environment, but then these kids need someone too.

Jillian: Yes, it definitely puts things in perspective. Suddenly the little irritating things that happen on a daily basis don't seem like such a big deal.

Queen: I know, after he told me that, I felt awful for the things I had complained about earlier. Thanks, I think he's a special person too. :)