Keep Your Head Up {Getting Through the Hard Days}

Categories: Resources

I wrote this post about a year ago. I actually reread it yesterday to make myself feel better. I feel exactly how did when I wrote this last January – frustrated and tired. I’m not going to lie – my classroom has been hard lately. A resurgence of behaviors, a case of increased aggression, and one student is developing a set of OCD like behaviors seemingly faster than I can take data. And while I am dealing with all of that – my staff management suffers, my curriculum suffers, the academics of my other students. It feels as if I turn around to put out on fire and when I turn back a bigger one has sprung up. Ughhhh. Ready for a pep talk yet? Here are my words from last year;

You want to hear exactly how my life has gone lately? I get this awesome idea for a unit, lesson, etc. I make worksheets, find appropriately leveled books, I organize a craft. I prep my kids for it. I have it all planned out the last final detail. I sit back for a moment to soak in the I-think-I-am-so-awesome glow. This activity is going to be amazing. Some may call it ground breaking. I will be given awards for how much my student learn from one single lesson. And then – crashing me down from my optimistic daydream – just as quickly as you can snap your fingers that perfectly planned and organized activity whips out the window.

Something happens. A meltdown. An obscenely dirty diaper. An unexpected parent visit. Throw up. Aggression. Runner. Doesn’t matter. What matter’s is that you’ve got to deal with it. Before I know it I am pushing my well organized piles of impeccablely individualized work and throwing puzzles on the table. Drama calls. 

It’s frustrating. Frustrating maybe doesn’t even encompass it. I have been having to do some heavy duty self talk therapy lately and talk myself down. It’s alright. You can do the lesson tomorrow. This is your job. Drama is your job. You are the firefighter in this classroom and like it or not – you are on call. Unfortunately in this job description we don’t have the luxury of it being ‘someone else’s problem.’ It’s not. It’s ours.

So if you can relate at all (which I hope some of you can and I’m not swimming alone in this sea of frustration) – take a deep breath. My class did MLK activities after Marin Luther King Day this week. I know. The horror. Well Friday another student had a major meltdown that I had to deal with so my reading group didn’t get to it. But you know what, it was totally okay to work on MLK activities Tues and Wed. What’s the big deal anyways? Is Dr. King not as important after the holiday – absolutely not.

So cut yourself some slack and write your lesson plans in pencil. Because chances are you will be changing them. Time to put on our flexibility pants and keep going. 

 

Honestly, reading that made me feel better. Maybe that’s weird, but it did. I need to remind myself – our jobs are hard. Really hard. So hard most people don’t even get it. So if you are feeling like I am – remind yourself of this. I love all of the quotes sprinkled throughout pinterest and put together a set for times like this:

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

 


The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard DaysThe Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

The Autism Helper - How to Deal with the Hard Days

 

 

50 Comments

  1. Totally needed this!! Having a really hard time meeting the wants/needs of my administration and feeling EXTREMELY unsupported! Tomorrow is a new day!

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  2. I needed to see this today 🙂 One of my kiddos just had a big seizure, one is extremely aggressive, and I am being observed by administration tomorrow which makes me totally anxious. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone!

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  3. So glad to feel like I’m not alone in this! Seizures, aggression, defiance, and I’m being observed by administration tomorrow. I’m an anxious wreck! I needed the pep talk! I think I’m going to put some of those quotes around my work space. 🙂

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  4. This post could honestly not have come at a better time. This is my first year teaching and everything was so good before the winter break (overwhelming but I felt like I had a handle on at least most of it). But since we came back from break almost all of my students’ behaviors have escalated and I feel like there’s so much down time for most of them while my paraprofessional and I deal with my aggressive student. It’s exhausting to say the least 🙂

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  5. Thank you Sasha…. most of my students, EXCEPT ONE, have adjusted to back in the school routine. . All of your posts lead me to believe that you always have the PERFECT room.. . Thanks for sharing your grief 🙂 I now know that I am not alone.

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  6. So nice to know that there are so many other people out there who can relate to me! (In a school where I feel very isolated!) Today we had a seizure, some serious aggression, and I am being observed by administration tomorrow — which has me feeling like an anxious wreck!

    Sending positive vibes out to all of you!

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  7. This was exactly what I needed. My para got me a positive page a day calendar for xmas and i am putting the good ones on the wall above my computer. My favorite so far is: Just keep your head above, SWIM and you are doing a Freaking great job 🙂

    If it makes you feel better Sasha I read your blog and think “She is doing it so it is possible! I can do it too!”

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  8. Perfect post!!!

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  9. Right there with ya.

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  10. It seems like every year there is the roller coaster ride from getting the children just right by christmas and then beginning brand new in January.
    I experience the same thing in my ppcd class. somehow it all gets done and the children learn. I had drama in my class today from a student…..my heart is still racing. It is good to have support.

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  11. Needed this today Sasha! I am getting a new kid next week and I am already feeling stretched so thin! Making a collage of your quotes for me computer screen.

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  12. Wow, Sasha………your day was just like mine!!!! Thanks for posting….I don’t feel so alone.

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  13. Spoken like a true special Ed teacher! I feel myself stressing when plans don’t go my way and I’m pulled to “extinguish (yet another) fire.” I knew what I was in for when I took this job. It helps me to reflect on where I’ve been to help me see where I could be going. Another meltdown? Another learning experience. :). It’s about perspective, right? Hang in there, better things are heading your way. This is my self talk, hope it can hep you, too!
    Kim
    Mrs. H’s Resource Room

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  14. Sasha, you are the best 🙂 Thanks for keeping it real. I really love the quote about the crack. I was talking to our school psychologist the other day about how my class was so hard and how I didn’t think I could do it much longer.,.and then she reminded me I’ve told her the same thing for the last few years! I didn’t even remember – I guess that’s proof that we make it through eventually!

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  15. You have no idea how much I needed this today!!!!
    It was the dreaded fire drill, the repeatedly dropping student who then decides to grab on to my skirt with both hands and pull (yes, I know, what was I thinking wearing a skirt in my class!). Then the dropping evolved into eloping. As he looks over his shoulder and laughs with glee as we start to chase him, its clear the function of the behavior is attention. The wise behavioral trained teacher that I am, pulls back, stops running and waits. Hooray, twice he runs back to me, when I calmly call him. Sure he drops when he gets to me, but hey, that’s progress. I should of remembered that famous saying, three strikes and you are out. The third time he gets away from myself and one of my paraprofessionals ( yes, I was wise enough to have someone with me) and he makes it to the middle of the field, where the last two times he had turned back but ………. the Santa Ana winds take over and he is in sensory heaven. All I can say is thank God blessed me with the world’s greatest janitor and we caught him before he made it across the street.

    Yes, I’d say I needed your blog today!

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  16. I went from a career in a juvenile correctional facility to 2 kids with Autism in Church on Sundays, and I’ve got to say, judging by your posts, you’re all AWESOME!!!!! The task you’ve chosen feels impossible, the recognition seldom there, the demands never ending, and yet you put on your boots every morning and wade right in. I just kept telling myself that the water is nice…I also remember someone telling me once that he didn’t have bad days, just bad moments.

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  17. Needed this, thanks girl! 🙂

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  18. Not that it is good, but I love to hear that I am not the only one who has students running out on them. I have one who will escape but goes (luckily) to the gym or back to the classroom. It still makes your heart race until you know that he is safe. Glad to know that we are all experience the same things. Makes it easier to deal with!

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  19. Thank you for this post. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one experiencing problems like this. It was a rough day. I needed the pep talk.

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  20. Great post. Love the quotes. Same theme in my room. I think I may print out a few of these quotes for the staff. Hope everyone has a better day tomorrow!

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  21. WOW! I think you might be psychic!!! I have a tough time since we got back from winter break. I needed to see this post. It helped remind me that I am not alone. And that I my students and I will get through it! Thank You! 🙂 You are amazing!

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  22. It is always good to know we are not alone in this ever-changing, unbelievably challenging field we have chosen for our lives! A little perspective goes a long way. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and frustrations! Keep up the fantastic work!

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  23. This is so perfect and much needed when I keep having staff call off and find out a new student with aggressive behaviors starts tomorrow!

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  24. Thank you for this post. I, like many others commenting here, needed this today. 2014 has been a long year already…it does help to know I’m not alone!

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  25. I’m really glad there are so many wonderful people like you who choose to work so hard for kids. I often feel the same way, even as a parent. The repetitive behaviours and scripting are the worst. I wasn’t feeling like doing ABA with my son this morning – and then I read your post and thought – I’m not giving up!..Thanks so much.

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  26. Our job is hard. It’s really hard. We all have to take care of ourselves. We often feel isolated in our jobs, and even our nearest and dearest have no idea what our jobs are like, try as they might. What we deal with every day isn’t normal, but we normalise it and keep going-“I only got kicked 3 times this week, Jonny only had 2 screaming meltdown today…” Look after yourselves, and remember to breathe. Blogs like this help us to know that there are others out there just like us. Thank you!

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  27. Thank you so much for this post – I needed it! 2014 has been a long year already. It really helps a lot to be reminded I’m not alone. Our jobs are hard! Today I found myself feeling kind of “out of body” during a student issue – thinking very much in the moment, why should it be normal for me to be so adept at dodging bites aimed at my midsection when all I’m doing is trying to put a kid’s coat on?! It was actually a good day since I did manage to dodge all said bites. (I did not manage to dodge a high-maintenance parent’s snarky email, though.) Anyway, thank you! The solidarity helps. The quotes help. The reminders to take care of yourself definitely help! Our jobs may be hard – but we are fantastic people working those jobs!

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  28. Beautifully written and perfectly described my day. It is a very challenging profession and it’s great to see that each of us goes through this some time during our careers.

    Debbie
    https://www.autismEducators.com

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  29. Thank you for reposting your original thoughts. I really needed to read this as I have been teaching 20 years and I have never been so exhausted at the end of each day. I am really trying to learn more about my kiddos who fit into this new realm of everyday life in my grade 1 classroom. I will try to remember that it will take small steps and time.

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  30. Wow Sasha, were you eves dropping in my classroom 2 weeks prior to Christmas!? You are so insightful. Thanks for sharing.
    Annie Green

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  31. I just got a few minutes to read your latest post, and I feel so much better that there are others sped. teachers out there that UNDERSTAND. Thanks for you inspirational remarks. I need to put them all over my room.

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  32. Great post. I think I’ve cried every other day at work this year! Between the aggression in my room, parents, admin, I’m burnt out. My fifth year teaching self contained and I’ve made the decision to leave teaching for now to become an LDTC. I just can’t physically and mentally do it anymore. Maybe one day I’ll go back to teaching, but for now I need a change. Thanks for the inspiration, glad I’m not alone.

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  33. Omigosh! Sounds like a crazy day! Hang in there! 🙂

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  34. I love that – bad moments not bad days! Yes – that is a big struggle for me – the lack of recognition. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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  35. I agree, Lori! Makes me feel better to know we’re not alone!

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  36. Glad to hear this helped!

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  37. I might do that too! Maybe make a whole inspiration board! Have a good week, Sue!

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  38. Sounds like post winter break madness has been choppy (to say the least!) for a lot of us! Ughhh haha!

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  39. Good luck with your new student, Allison!

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  40. You comment made my day! Although days a teacher are often difficult – it is nothing like the day of a parent. You and so many dedicated and tireless autism parents are my inspiration! You day with the kiddoes doesn’t end at 3 like ours and you keep on going! Your son is so lucky to have you!

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  41. That is to true! Our version of normal so quickly becomes so very far from what is normal. Thanks for reading and hope you have a great week! 🙂

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  42. We are fantastic, aren’t we!?! Thanks for reading, Kara and happy this helped! Have a great week!

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  43. Thanks for reading, Debbie! Hearing from everyone makes us all feel less alone!

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  44. Thanks for reading, Bev! Small steps are the only way to go!

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  45. Haha! I must by psychic!

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  46. So glad to hear this post was helpful for yoU! 🙂

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  47. This is SO hilarious! It was a VERY hard week last week. I sat down on Tuesday afternoon and looked up the full moon becuase my kiddos were just “off” and not in the terrible way, just a weird way. All of em. Sure enough. Full moon. SO I was feeling relieved cause in my experience, the hardest days are the day before or the day after. Thought I had dealt with the WORST. OH NO! Day of the full moon was WORSE! ARG. So this week all my kiddos are back on behavior plans, Im walking around feeding m$m’s, giving stickers, punching holes in cards…back to basics and its lasting longer than usual. Oh well. You are right. It is exhausting, but I really love it. I LOVE IT! WE CAN DO IT!!! 🙂

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  48. I needed this… THANK YOU. I have seriously been drowning (No, really, one of my students took me DOWN in the pool yesterday AND my classroom flooded the first day back from winter break). To know that other teachers are struggling with the same thing makes this “slump” feel a little more manageable. Definitely printing out some of the quotes to try to keep the moral up in the room.

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  49. Love the solidarity!! 🙂

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  50. Omigosh flooding! How horrible! Hang in there 🙂

    Reply

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