I guess I should start at the beginning. When I graduated from college in 1976, I couldn't wait to start looking for a teaching job. I got my resume ready and hit the pavement. I just knew some Principal would not waste any time calling me to offer me a position.
Two days before the new school year was to start, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to land a position and settled for a job as a teacher assistant. I enjoyed the job but relentlessly kept looking for a classroom position.
In December, I got a call about an interim Kindergarten position. I was elated as I drove over to the school for an interview. Little did I realize that at least 8 people had already thumbed their nose up at the position and the Principal was getting desperate. There was the matter of 32 children in a full day kindergarten class with one teacher assistant.
I arrived for my interview and talked with the Principal for all of ten minutes. I was shocked when she offered me the position and offered to take me down to meet the pregnant teacher. I learned that I would start the job after Christmas break, which would give me about three weeks to prepare for my new job. I spent the rest of the day following the poor pregnant teacher around like a lost puppy. Unfortunately, I must have accidentally bumped her stomach no less than ten times from following too close.
I drove home silently congratulating myself on my new position. My husband took me out to dinner that night so that we could celebrate and I spent the rest of the week-end calling everyone I knew to tell them of my good fortune. I got a call from the Principal Sunday evening telling me that the teacher had unexpectedly gone into labor and that I would need to start the next morning. I thanked her for calling and hung up the phone in shock, my eyes as wide as saucers. Ready or not, I was heading into my own classroom!
I arrived bright and early Monday morning not knowing what to expect. The closer I got to my new classroom, the louder some ear splitting screams got. I took off running to see who had been injured. I found a tiny boy writhing on the rug throwing the worst tantrum I had ever seen. I looked at the teacher assistant who was two years younger than I in disbelief. She looked bored as she told me that Chris had been absent on Friday and that he did this all day long. We were not allowed to take him to the Principal or the counselor because he would get violent, biting and kicking. The former teacher had resigned herself to giving him free reign in the classroom in order to avoid getting attacked herself. He had been referred by the counselor to the local mental health center and they were hopeful he would be seen by March.
As I drove home that afternoon, tears streamed down my face. I had the worst headache I'd ever had in my life and my ears were ringing from the ongoing tantrum. What in the world had I gotten into!