Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Friday, August 19, 2016

Forever An Alien

Proud to be an alien!
It is finally here, everyone! Remember not long ago I mentioned that I finally got an actual teaching job? Well, school starts in a little over a week. My summer job ended last Friday, and I've spent this whole week going to in-services for my new teaching job. It is actually starting to feel real!

Going to inservices as an actual teacher is a whole new ballgame, though. Somehow I always imagined that, if I became a teacher, I would suddenly become really mature and smooth-talking and... taller maybe? But throughout all of those long, sometimes boring meetings, I was still my same alien self. I still caught myself rocking in my seat when I was tired or bored, I still drew circles and triangles and silly doodles all over my booklets with colorful gel pens because it is hard for me to just sit still and listen for hours and hours and hours, I still got that sinking feeling in my stomach when the workshop leader told us to pair up for an activity. I still went to the wrong room on the first day, because that meeting had been switched to a different room but nobody told me yet somehow every single other person knew (even though even the people in the office didn't know... I seriously don't know how this happened.) I still worked myself into a whirlwind trying to find the correct room and was nearly in tears, as I left and drove first to the school building and then to the district office to try to figure out where I was supposed to be.

I still get weird looks from people. But here is something strange! I got a lot of smiles from people too! Several of the people seemed to actually like me and enjoy my quirky sense of humor. When I insisted on adding tons of stickers to a poster we made for one of our small group projects (because apparently you still have to do those even when you're not in high school) my partners thought it was fun and everyone else thought our poster was the best. They listened to what I had to say, even if I was just rambling about the 11 goats I'm babysitting for the weekend. They even seemed happy to see me!

Well, not quite everyone. Unfortunately, the two ladies I will be sharing a classroom with regarded me somewhat cooly. (I mean cool like, not exactly warm, not cool like, Wow I think you're cool and I'm glad I'm sharing a classroom with you.) I will be teaching resource, and I was supposed to have half of a classroom to myself, while another teacher would have the other half. She's also a resource teacher, but she'll have the older kids with only academic needs, and I will have the younger kids with both academic and behavioral needs. It was decided by the principal that instead of each having our own half  (actually a full-sized classroom but just linked to another classroom) we should share one half and use the other half as a sensory room. Which sounds good to me, because, sensory stuff, yay!
On the other hand, I have a lot of what I consider good ideas and fun ideas, but I can easily be intimidated by more straight-laced, "traditional" older teachers, which the two ladies are. (The second one is actually a school social worker who is supposed to be there to help me sort out the kids with behavioral needs.)

I mean, they don't seem to totally hate me or anything, but we just didn't "click." I didn't get that sense that they "got" me, or vice versa. At my summer job I worked with "Chelsea" and "Kevin," and I felt like we were an awesome group. Chelsea has a similar sense of humor to me so we could totally be goofy together and do things like get glow sticks and have a rave in the time-out room before the kids showed up. And Kevin was always so calm and friendly and patient, even though he sometimes just shook his head when Chelsea and I were bouncing off the walls, he was always supportive and never judgemental. I felt like we "clicked," from the beginning. I would consider them real friends at this point, and not just co-workers. Similarly, I felt like I "clicked" with the two other assistants I worked with at Tizzy's school during the school year. There are some people that you just feel are meant to be in your life.

And I just didn't feel that... not even a hint of it... with my new classroommates.

Although I did make one of them laugh during yet another partner activity, by pretending to pick my nose.

In my defense, the activity was that we were supposed to try to make our partner laugh, without using words, and they were supposed to be trying to ignore us.

Also in my defense, one of the people behind me made her partner laugh by making a loud farting noise.

To sum it up, yes, I am still an alien, and getting a teaching job did not, and will not, turn me into a poised young woman with perfect hair and perfect shoes. I still like to wear two different socks, I still  love hanging out with goats and other farm animals, I still sleep with a pile of stuffed animals in my bed, I still pet my goldfish, and I still sometimes leave the house with my underwear on inside-out because I just wasn't paying attention when I got dressed. But, maybe it isn't a bad thing. I am making friends here. No, not everyone I meet thinks I am wonderful. But the people who do seem to like me? They turn out to be really awesome people, the kind of people I would pick out of a catalog to be my friends if I could have a choice.

And that is pretty cool, isn't it?
I have a T-shirt that says this!