Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On Summer Rec

Oh, what a summer. A long, hot, muggy summer on Eastern Long Island, and man, I am glad it's over.

Not that I was looking forward to school starting. Okay, I might have been, a little, but it wasn't classes so much as seeing my friends, having my own apartment, being busy, being active, you know what I mean. But this summer...Boy, I'm glad it's over.

Why? Well, imagine you had had the same job every summer for the past five years--say, as a special education aide--and you love it. And then they move you to another building. One where you have no supervision, no assistance, practically no coworkers. No cooperation from the other "adults" in the classroom, no scheduling or coordination from above, no one even officially telling you what these kids need!

Look, one of the reasons I love this job is the kids, of course, but what makes it a good job is the support and cooperation from the teachers, counselors, and coordinators. My first year, I was at the special ed summer school, where I worked in a classroom under a teacher. Then they moved me to half-day camp, where I worked as a one-on-one aide to autistic kids for three years. We were in a mainstream camp, and my job was to facilitate my kid getting along with the "typical" kids. The camp counselors were very cooperative, and there was a fantastic resource room teacher who coordinated everything and gave each of the aides a heads-up about their kids' particular needs. And also is generally an awesome person.

Then they moved me to full-day camp. This, I must confess, was my own fault. The new special ed principal this summer was my sister's old teacher, so I called on that relationship to try and get more hours. I was angling to get back to the summer school, but I landed in full-day camp. Where there was no special ed supervisor, and the camp counselors--mostly under-experienced, irresponsible, and/or teenagers--had no clue how to accommodate our kids. Or that it's a bad idea to leave the room whenever you feel like it, leaving the kids unsupervised. Or that the aides are not there to do your job for you. Or that making the kids sit against the wall while you play dodgeball against the other counselors is not fun for the kids.

Little things like that.

Okay, I waited too long on this post. I forgot I was working on it, to be honest. I'm not as mad as I was. Maybe I'll work on it more later, if I feel mad enough...