Almost daily and also usually on my way to work. I hate my job. But I have a fellow teaching friend that pukes every morning. So, I feel better about myself. No, I don’t. She’s probably losing weight and I’m just getting fatter because this stupid job makes me drink myself to death every night. I know I smell like alcohol. Well, I actually I didn’t know, not until…
I got called into the office by my principal one day. “One of your colleagues has said that you smell of alcohol.” I want to slap the woman in the face. I know my job is hard, but I am not a derelict. I do have some moral standards. I might drink from the minute I get home until the minute I go to bed, but I would never drink on the job.
She smells my breath. I swear to her that the only thing in the water bottle I carry around is water (and allow her to smell it and my breath). “It’s from the night before, get a better mouthwash.” And that’s the only time I’m ever called in about my drinking problem. Man, I would have loved to have gone to rehab.
Rehab would have been better than the hell that was my classroom. By November, I was ready to murder children and put a bullet in my brain. My life was in shambles. My relationship a wreck. I was hanging on by not even a thread. The adults, who were allegedly my “aides,” were no better than the children. By November, there were three of them. Three women. It was terrible.
There was the young one; she was younger than me. I never felt bad about telling her what to do. It’s easy to tell somebody what to do when they are younger than you and have even less experience than you. In my case, I had one month more experience and felt justified in giving her the many tasks that the other aides refused to do.
There was the dedicated aide, who was awful. She had come from a school where aides read magazines and babysat children. She didn’t understand that I was in the business of educating children, even her child that she was “dedicated” to, who couldn’t speak. I didn’t care about the fact that Riji couldn’t speak. He was going to learn something. Even if it was only to tell us that he needed to use the bathroom in sign language.
And then there was the mother hen. She was a mother hen because she was the eldest of us all. Formerly, she had been a teacher with the DC Public School system, but through some series of events had lost her teaching license. She was the hardest one to boss around or give directions to. It was because she would always do it, but mostly because I felt like I was bossing my grandmother around, and that just made me feel bad.
So, those were my three. Up until January, that is, when I got a fourth aide who was a god send. He was actually the dedicated aide for a kid I’ll call Julio. Julio was the most vile, despicable child on the face of the universe.
“He’s got such pretty eyes, and such a cute face,” says one of my aides. I look at Julio again, and see nothing but Satan. Satan took form as a human on earth and his name is Julio. Julio is worse than Amy. If you can imagine. This is a child who, on my birthday (yes, I was stupid enough to work with these children on my birthday), spit directly in my face. My face. He spit in my face. I’m sorry it’s still hard to believe that happened to me, let alone on my birthday.
Julio kicked, he punched, he spit on people (usually in their faces, but mostly wherever his awful mouth decided to aim), and he licked people compulsively. Oh, did I mention his mouth? “Shut the fuck up.” Those eff bombs were dropped frequently and with ease. It’s like he had Tourette's syndrome or something. Except it wasn’t like Tourette's syndrome, because people with that just say curse words at any given time. Julio knew when to say “Oh, shit.” It was when an adult was giving him a directive to do something he didn’t want to do.
It was near Halloween when we went to the pumpkin patch. I know… What were we (the three autism teachers in the school including myself) thinking when we decided to take not only my 7, but the entire autism cluster at my school to a pumpkin patch? I think in total it was about 18 kids with autism.
That was the day Julio decided to act the worst he’s ever acted. He was throwing hay at random kids and spitting in their faces. When it was time to go home, he did his usual “Catch me if you can” routine. Well, when we (and by we, I mean two adults for one little seven-year-old) caught him, he kicked, he bit, he punched, he spat, and he cursed.
He had to be restrained by one of the aides who held his arms one under the other and had her legs wrapped around him. It’s called a therapeutic restraint. She was licensed in it. He was not injured, not like some of the kids I’ve seen get restrained at the high school I worked in this past year, but I’ll get to that.
So, I hated Julio and never saw his alleged “cuteness.” He also never grew on me like Amy did. In fact, he never grew on me at all. There were never moments when I saw him as a child. Mostly, I saw him as the devil, an evil beast who most be blotted out. But I did try to teach him, in the way only an evil demon can learn. He was good with math. That’s about all I can say about him that’s good. Moral lessons are not the theme of this blog and there definitely isn’t one for Julio.