Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Kenz501, Feb 8, 2019.
Feb 11, 2019
An example of what, exactly?
Feb 12, 2019
One of the things you've had to help the other teacher with an ASD with / one of the things this teacher seems to misunderstand.
Did you ever do a career survey where you answer questions and it tells you which career you would be suited for? You should have done one in high school or at the start of college. It doesn't seem like teaching is the right career for you. What strengths do you have that steered you towards the direction of teaching?
Yes, I did two that I can remember. One a Myers-Briggs personality test in college, and, yes, teaching was actually pretty high on the list, based on my preferences, and I don't have a problem with actually teaching; it's everything else related to the job.
I also took another survey, not sure what this one was called, when I saw the person from vocational rehab. This one gave me a more accurate picture of my personality, but I'm not sure what the career suggestions were. The person testing me said that I might do okay as a veterinary assistant or computer repair person.
Unfortunately, the Myers-Brigg is notoriously unreliable, and not particularly useful for career planning. It is a lot of fun, though! The camp that I run in the summer uses True Colors, which I also enjoy, and is a bit more simple.
Looking at the careers that the vocational rehab suggested, vet assistant requires a two year degree and a licensing test. Computer repair you can often train on the job.
I think that before you will be able to find much success in any career or job, you will need to find a really good therapist who can help with behavior modification, and help change your mindset.
Preferences are not the same as actual SKILLS. Do you have the required skills?
It sounds like you would do well in a lot of fields as an assistant. That way you are given directions and tasks and assistance when needed. Someone to direct you in your job. Teaching is usually very solitary and you're on your own a lot without people to hold your hand with every task. Most people who work in schools are overworked themselves and really don't have the time to devote to teaching you how to navigate your job.
Yeah, teachers are extremely busy, and I found that out the hard way. They didn't even have time to show me much of what to do during student teaching. One of my cooperating teachers didn't even know she was given the role! Talk about frustrating, and if I'm nervous or frustrated, I often just try to "fade into the background," especially if I don't know what to do. My intentions weren't to upset my cooperating teachers, and they seemed pretty busy and frustrated as is.
I think one of my problems, though, is those assistant jobs are hard to come by. It's not like I can walk into my local vet's office and say, "I trained for the wrong field, I want to try this one. Hire me," My dad doesn't seem to get that, though, and has actually suggested I try something along those lines. I'm reluctant to sign up for any more training, though. Look where majoring in education got me.
As an educator with ASD, I find my co-teacher and I spend a lot of time typing out things we plan to do during given weeks so we have a bare bones structure for how we want to run the classes we co-teach. This really helps me be successful and avoid the constant need for advice or the constant need to email people about every little detail. People don't have the time to go over stuff multiple times. My 4th grade co-teacher and I picked a day of the week, Wednesday, during our mutual planning time, where we spend around a half an hour just discussing what is going to happen over the next couple of weeks in all of the subjects that we teach together (about half of my day is spent with her, so a lot of planning needs to be done). I have requested that if I come to her for advice about a particular day or event, and she hasn't thought that far ahead, to please tell me to gear up for a week where I need to be flexible because things are up in the air. That gives my brain the chance to prepare for a flexible week where I might be learning what I need to do ten minutes before class or, as has happened, being told the due date for something really big has been changed from a month away to "two days from now." If she really needs my help with something, I have requested she send me her lesson plans and let me know the particular area she needs help with. That way, I can plan resources or just look through the various things I have done in previous years to see if I have anything that can help her.
I would not, however, stick to what I have told you from my own experiences as the rule of thumb. ASD is different for every individual who has it, and I also have anxiety, so if I don't have a list of things to look back at, I might forget what I am doing and get very uneasy for quite some time. A lot of what I do is to quell the anxiety that comes from needing extra processing time to understand things that people say. Or, as my brain goes, "I can't believe you need time to understand this! The clock is ticking!" Which, if it goes much farther, gets me really off topic and then I have to be brought back to the same planet as everyone else, which is a huge waste of time.
What you need to do is pick out a few key interactions that you have had with people that you feel really summarize the way you feel most interactions you have with people go. Take a look at those and see if there are any common things that happen in all instances. Someone I know had me do that and a few really important things were brought to my attention that I didn't even realize I was doing.
First and foremost, again, don't take my advice as the golden rule. It's just out there to give you an example of some things I have experienced in the hopes that you can be motivated to find ways to work with the person you are.
Thanks. I do see a few parallels, especially with the anxiety if I don't feel like I've prepared enough.
I think one of my big problems is I've developed a somewhat destructive coping mechanism--I have an almost instinctive need to avoid confrontation, and I will go out of my way to avoid situations I don't have any context for, if that makes any sense at all.
For example, in high school, I didn't want to take the chance of feeling embarrassed in front of my teacher, so I avoided her when she wanted to talk to me about my writing outside of the times I felt were appropriate for her to do so. This might have kept me from being entered into contests or receiving rewards. I'll never know. All I know is I refused to talk to her outside of class, except maybe if I had a question about a grade.
When I was even younger, I refused to greet my teachers in the hall because there was a no talking in the hall rule, and no one told me that greeting teachers was an exception. Exceptions to rules are not easy for me to anticipate, and I usually get it wrong, and when I apply an exception where there shouldn't be one and have trouble explaining my intentions, people tend to judge me fairly negatively, so I try to avoid these situations whenever possible.
That means, though, that I need structure to feel confident about the context. Student teaching and real teaching don't provide any of that structure; they just expect me to guess the context of the social interaction and decide whether or not it's an offer to train me or just an offer to be polite. I could move beyond my comfort level and chance embarrassing myself and breaking some social rule, but I like avoiding these situations whenever possible because I often literally cannot explain my actions when I get it wrong. I just wasn't "connecting the dots."
I'm very eager to please and willing to take the blame for my mistakes, but it just doesn't work when you so easily misread context. Let's say, for example, you are attending a funeral of a colleague's loved one, and you think of something funny and start giggling while something sad or profound is being said--that's an extreme example, but I hope I'm making my point. Most of my actions are geared toward not offending people and avoiding stress-causing social "land mines." Being so careful does handicap me in many different ways, but my alternative is making a mistake, not being able to apologize, being labeled a "jerk," and suffering the resulting social punishment, usually isolation or some form of vindictive behavior--being fired from a job, being given a tougher time in class or at work, having privileges that I had through friendship with the person revoked, etc.
In the context of student teaching, the known risk was revealing to my harried cooperating teacher that I had not been trained adequately, and, since I had no context for what I was expected to know, I assumed that revealing any deficit in understanding would be unacceptable, as it would have made her feel like she was going to have to work even harder.
...and of course as a teacher, I was presented with situations like this almost all of the time, and I did end up making some flubs and probably turning some students as well as fellow teachers against me.
In addition to this, though, (as if that wasn't distraction enough), I also have something like OCD, possibly trauma-related, which forces me to think of the worst-case scenario and give in to ridiculous compulsions to keep those things from happening. It's not fun, and it's really hard to explain.
Here's one example, though.
In college, I refused to tutor elementary school students. Why? Because I was almost convinced that I was going to say / do something that would make the parents or other teachers think that I was a bad person. I was so freaked out at one point that I thought working with young kids would cause me to lose my teaching license and get a court case brought against me.
Why? It probably wasn't even logical, to be honest.
I've had similar thoughts when watching my friend's child. I kept imagining that something bad was going to happen to the child that I would be responsible for, and it kind of did, as she hit her head on my wall, and I had to call the emergency room.
...but anyway in addition to being super cautious about social interactions, I have persistent negative thoughts about sabotaging interactions in the worst of ways. I sometimes feel like a terrible person just for having these thoughts, but at the same time, I feel like it's a logical possibility, as it's easier for people to see a stranger as an enemy than a friend, and since I have so much trouble creating meaningful bonds with people anyway, it's easy to be misread. It's happened to me so much that I don't even think much about it now.
...and I don't think I could make a convincing argument to justify any of this to an employer or a coworker even if my life, or livelihood, depended on it. I feel like without the proper documentation, people may just think I'm making all of it up.
It also didn't help much that the teacher who might have been assigned as my mentor (no one confirmed if she was or wasn't), hated me sending her emails and almost always wanted me to talk to her in person, even after I told her I was mildly autistic. Of course I liked this teacher a lot and wanted to learn from her, but that might have hurt me, because it also meant I was afraid of looking stupid in front of her.
All of that isn't always true, though. My anxiety goes way down if I feel prepared and have an idea of what to expect. I can also tolerate unfamiliar contexts if I'm around only one or two new people.
I hope one thing I get out of vocational rehabilitation is learning how and when to disclose that I have a disability without being afraid that people think I'm just making excuses. It's possible that not being upfront about my disability and accommodation needs has been a very big impediment to my success.
Helps: giving single-step directions.
Doesn’t understand: using the computer to access all of the files for class.
We put all of the files in Google Classroom or Google Drive so we all have access, and this person absolutely cannot use it. Or won’t use it. I’m not sure which.
Giving single step directions is also frustrating because I find that I have to stop what I am doing to give directions to an adult who is supposed to be my equal. A teacher should not be more high-maintenance than my neediest child.
Okay...was this an older person? Autistic or not, older people tend to be strangely resistant to technology. I don't know; maybe if you didn't grow up with it it is harder to navigate. I'm at home with computers, but I'm not at home without clear direction. When you basically throw a bunch of textbooks at me and tell me to "figure it out," that's when I get confused. Somehow, though, it's happened fairly often with teaching. It's like people automatically expect me to know what to do because I have a master's degree.
I find the lack of communication irritating, but the idea that it's actually on my end makes sense. I doubt it's true that everyone I've worked with has actively tried to make me fail by not giving me the resources and knowledge I need. I may be good enough with computers, but I have a serious lack of flexibility in other areas, so I might be able to relate.
I couldn't use Google Classroom, though, because I didn't have authorization to use it with my teacher account for some reason. That might have been difficult had it been a requirement at the school where I worked.
Well, this person does a lot of work with computers, including things that I know the person has refused to do. For example, we will receive an email with instructions for some activity, meeting, etc. Later, this person will need the email sent again, sometimes multiple times. Now, I realize that people sometimes misplace or delete an email, but this is not an isolated incident. It is every time.
I don’t see this person as “older”, but we are both in our late 40’s. I am quite proficient with computers.
Feb 13, 2019
I don't know. Misunderstanding technology is one thing, but misunderstanding people is another. The two may or may not be related.
What happened with me is I kept asking for help with other things, mostly related to lesson planning and classroom management. I was lost on how to do the job, but I never got enough nerve to actually tell someone. I had resigned from my other job and moved in with my dad 800 miles away just to take this job, and I didn't want to fail. I was pretty sure that if I failed, I would have to eventually go back 800 miles, find another place to live, and take that terrible job at the youth center again, a job I felt like they were thinking about firing me from anyway, but I guess they kept me because they had trouble finding certified people to work in that environment.
Anyway, the point is I felt like I was under a lot of pressure, and the last thing I wanted to do was make them think I couldn't do my job properly. I didn't have any context for the problems I was having, so I didn't know when it was appropriate to ask for help after the first few weeks. Plus, when I did ask for help, they didn't really understand what I was asking for. I guess if you've been doing your job for several years, things like lesson planning according to the district guide is common sense, but I didn't even know where to find the district guide or what it was even called, and I was so afraid of being taken for an "imposter" that I just acted like I knew what I was doing when I didn't.
I don't know if it was worth it or not, though. I had signed a contract, and they weren't going to just replace me, like they could have done at the youth center. I should have looked into that more carefully and been braver about asking questions. As it stands, I don't think I gained anything from pretending I knew what I was doing when I didn't, and I really wouldn't have done that, but I didn't trust the situation well enough to admit I was having a problem.
There are a lot of things I could have done, including reading up on the school policies and procedures instead of being so passive. Well, we all live and learn, I guess. I also realize I didn't pay that much attention to the contract. I was just so happy to have a real teaching job that I didn't really use common sense. The more I think about it, I think a lot of the problems I had could have been prevented by reading the policies and asking targeted questions.
Sorry this happened. It sounds like they just hired you just to hire you because they needed someone for yet another year. It's like they were thinking from the beginning, "We'll hire her so we just have another human in there for the year. If she works out longer, then fine, but if not, we won't renew her and just find someone else for next time, but at least we have another person in there for another year." So they, unfortunately, didn't take the time to really help you throughout the year. It's a shame that you were the person to come along to just fill the shoes.
Regarding the resigning vs. agreeing to be non-renewed issue, employment applications are slick. For a long time now, they have the specific question asking, "Have you resigned as a result of being non-renewed?" in which everyone who has still has to say YES. I hate it too!
Lastly, asking WHAT OTHER JOB(S) a person w/ a teaching degree can do has been the million-dollar question for years. No teacher should have to resort to doing the retail, waitress, etc. type jobs that many of us did when we were back in college working on our degree, so it's a frustrating situation. Tutoring alone sure doesn't cut it.
I wish you good luck w/ your future employment!
(When I saw this thread, it was already at 7 pages, so I didn't have time to read all the posts, so excuse me if someone already said what I did.)
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