I have worked with the same special needs attendant for the last 10+ years. I'd like to say that we're like brother and sister, but we're not. I'd like to say that we know what the other is thinking at all times, but I can't. All I can really say is that there's a forced friendliness between us, but I'm not so sure I can keep that going for many years longer.
You see, I figured something out this weekend. My attendant is Inspector Clouseau
, and I am Chief Inspector Dreyfus
. In case you're not familiar with the Pink Panther movies, Clouseau is a bumbling idiot of the law, and his boss, Dreyfus ends up crazier than a loon. As a matter of fact, by the end of the Pink Panther movie franchise, ol' Dreyfus is going out of his way to try to kill Clouseau. That's where I am going, I fear.
What set this thought off was a call from my attendant at home. She was calling me to ask about our school's holiday party. You see, someone on the social committee put her in charge of calling places to have the party. What were they thinking? My attendant was calling me to ask what the date of the party was. WHAT WAS THE DATE? Shouldn't you know what the date is BEFORE you start calling places to have the party?
The thing is, she told me she had already contacted a few places before she realized that she didn't know the date we were having our party.
With that in mind, I decided to document some of the more interesting Clouseau moments in my relationship with my attendant. I figure if I finally get to the point where I place a bomb (the big, round, cannon ball type with a brightly lit fuse and the word BOMB
on the side of it) underneath her desk, the jury can read this blog post and say, "Geez, no wonder he did it. Let's give him time in the nut ward instead of life in prison, shall we?"
My First Inclination That Something Was Amiss
It's the first day with my attendant, September, 1995. I'm teaching up a storm. I have the children's full attention. I'm like Caesar before the Ides of March. Out of the blue, my attendant walks up in front of me, grabs my arm, and starts wiping away at my elbow.
"What are you doing?", I ask.
"You have chalk dust on your shirt!", she replies.
"I don't care!", I counteract.
You Thought the Social Committee Would Have Learned the First Time
About five years ago, the social committee put her in charge of buying items for parties. One Monday, I find my classroom overrun with boxes and boxes of garage sale nicknacks. This was stuff that an elderly person with no taste would have in their living room. She thought they could give them away as door prizes.
Little Johnny Gets It, Why Don't You?
I'm a good ignorer. When they say to ignore inappropriate behavior, I do just that.
A little boy by the name of Dominick is a classic non-hand-raiser. He calls out my name incessantly when in need of assistance. On this particular day he even went so far as to get up from his seat, come over to me at my table where I had a group going, and begin to call my name and tug on the sleeve of my shirt. I continued to ignore him.
After 30 seconds of this, my attendant comes up on the other side of me and whispers, "I think Dominick needs you!"
"I KNOW.", I whispered in a forceful tone, "I'M IGNORING HIM."
"Oh...OH!.....", she says and goes back to work.
There's a First Time for Everything and a LAST
I was going to be out for a meeting one morning. Knowing that the children take change hard, I put in the sub plans that my attendant would take over the opening exercises part of the morning. This consisted of doing things like writing the day and date on the whiteboard, going over the schedule and writing the number of days on sentence strip.
When I return at lunch, I found my white board written on with a Sharpie and the number 48 written after 46 on the sentence strip.
My Dad is a TV Repairman. He Has This Ultimate Set of Tools.
I Can Fix It!
I asked my attendant to make some copies for me. Unfortunately for her, they were to be double-sided. Our copier wasn't doing that great with double-sided copies. It was paper jam waiting to happen. So, you had to go for the alternative and put paper in the side of the thing to copy one side, then turn the paper over and do the same for the other side. Somehow, she must have gotten confused over which side of the paper went up, as well as got my original (with no back ups I might add. these were the days of worksheets from Teacher's Helper magazine) mixed up in the paper feeding. The result was an upside down double image on my original copy. She didn't stop there though. She thought she could fix it......with White Out. She literally went and tried to white out the upside down, double image on the page. Without a word to me she gave me back my original which now looked like a paint by numbers portrait painted by a two-year old wearing a blindfold.
"What happened to the original?", I asked
"Uh, I don't know. The machine must have printed on it, so I tried to fix it."
Was Kramer My Substitute?
We had two students who wore glasses in our class. They both kept a spare pair in the classroom in case they forgot theirs. Johnny had a very mild prescription while Billy had a pair of Coke bottle bottoms. Both had their glasses in cases that were clearly marked.
I had a sub that morning for a reading meeting. When I returned just before lunch, Johnny was sitting at his desk looking like Seinfeld in that episode where Kramer gets him a deal on new glasses
"What's Johnny doing with Billy's glasses on?", I asked.
"I wondered by the way he was acting if I had given him the right ones.", she answers.
Poor Billy. No telling what the kid could, or could not see that morning.
(BANG! BANG! POW!) Eek! What Do I Do? Where Did I Put That Note?!
In the aftermath of Columbine, our staff was in a meeting discussing what we should do in the case of an armed intruder. One of the basic things our administrator of security said was that upon hearing gun fire, we should immediately have our students get down on the floor, preferably underneath their desks.
My attendant was feverishly writing notes as the security guy talked. Interested, I looked over to see what she was writing. It said:
"When you hear guns, have students lie down on floor under desks."
If I Had A Nickel For Every Time....
1. I hear on her craft with the kids day, "Okay, for craft we're gonna color this picture."
2. I've had to remind her that "doody-head", "booty" and "stupid" are not violations that require an office referral. We teach our kids respectful language and to ignore those who don't.
3. I've had to remind her to get the kids to specials on time. She doesn't seem to want to carry a watch. I've bought her one three different times for Christmas. Where they go, I have no idea.
4. I've had children with every answer wrong on a kindergarten level math paper that she helped one-on-one.
5. She's tried to relay some family-oriented story to me while I'm typing an email, IEP or other important document.
Uh, No, That Was Jack the Ripper
For lunch, she had brought a large kitchen knife to school to cut something or other. I commented that she should make sure to not leave it where one of the children might get a hold of it.
"Yeah,", she says, "If someone sees me with this, they might think I'm the Boston Strangler!"
Master of Disguises
1. A tooth from her front partial came out one morning before work. Instead of calling in, she affixed a piece of Chicklets gum in the gap. It hung down a good eighth inch or so past her other front teeth. When she arrived she said, "In case you're wondering why my teeth look weird, a part of my dentures fell out this morning."
2. One Halloween she came to school dressed like a baby girl. The only way I can describe it is to say, "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?"
I could go on, but I won't. My blood pressure alarm has been going off steadily for the last half hour. To sum it up, I guess you could say we're like an old married couple- we're staying together for the children's sake, but when they leave the nest, watch out!