I have just bought this book from Waterstones today.The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism is a book written by Japanese writer Naoki Higashida, who himself has been diagnosed with Autism. Naoki wrote this book in 2005 when he was 13, and was only published last year. I have read the reviews which seem to be mixed. On the one hand, it is being praised as it shows the positive side of having Autism and the book is in-line with parents’ hopes for their children who are on the Autism Spectrum. However, some are critical as they argue that Naoki does not speak for all of those who have Autism.
I have not yet read it, but I am very excited to start. No need to ask me what my weekend plans will be!!
Teachers are not only there for the academic side of things. They also serve as counselors, peace-maker and sometimes, therapists. You know what I mean. Students at some point will have concerns and worries about their friends and families. These worries are often carried into the classroom and would sometimes translate to bad behaviour or social withdrawal.
When students misbehave, most teachers resort to shouting and/ or punishment. Often, this results in escalation of the situation and a vicious cycle of bad behaviour – teachers shouting – suspension. It does not help. Granted that bad behaviour is never acceptable and should not be tolerated, aggressive responses may not help in the long run.
On the other hand, the usual response by a teacher to a student who is upset or has opened up about their problems is to shower them with advice. While this is good in some cases, giving advice may not work for others.
For both situations, what I suggest is for the teacher to ask the students what their problems are or what’s bothering them. Even though bad behaviour is a regular occurrence for some pupils, try to remember that these behaviours could be the result of something deeper- a family problem or a problem with their friends, for instance. Try to keep an open mind.
Be quiet and listen to what they have to say. Keep in mind that some of them may not have people around them who would listen to them whole-heartedly. Some of them may just need to off-load.
Try not to pass judgement too quickly. Assess the situation and offer advice only when needed. Seek help from authorities and other agencies in appropriate situations.
Those of you who have been following my blog for quite some time will know that I spend most of my time in schools with children and young people with Autsim Spectrum Conditions (ASC). This week is no exception. I have spent most of this week with a child who is obsessed with Peppa Pig. I figured that I have to utilise this obsession and use Peppa Pig games and videos as rewards for good work and good behaviour.
My plan worked fantastically! My new little friend has developed a liking for his one-to-one time with me because I was strict but fair. My expectations and rules did not change for the whole week, but my rewards were also consistent- one ‘decent’ piece of work equals 10 minutes of ‘choice time’. I gave my student a choice between playing an iPad game or watching any Peppa Pig Youtube clip. For the whole week, he always opted for the second option. In addition, he always chose the same video- Peppa Pig’s The Bing Bong Song. As a result, this song has been stuck in my head and I have been singing it on repeat since Wednesday afternoon.
At the start of each academic year, students and teachers are practically strangers to each other. Most students, particularly younger ones, are scared of their teachers. Teachers on the other hand are sometimes unsure of how to present themselves or treat their new group of students.
When I was a student, i did not know much about life. There was even a point in my life when I hated school with a passion. But my teachers did not give up on me. They saw my potential. They tried very hard to create meaningful relationships with me so that they could nurture me and teach me lessons beyond those that were required of them.
The were initially strangers. All they were required to do is to teach me enough ‘stuff’ so I can pass my exams.They did not have to know me through and through. They did not have to change my perspectives in life. They did not have to like me. They did not have to be kind to me. But they went out of their ways to change my life for the better.
I do not know how my life would have turned out if my teachers gave up on me. For that, I thank them!
You have been given a superpower to change one law of nature. How would you use it?
When I first saw this prompt, I wanted to write. Post about how I do not want to change anything in world. The world is beautiful enough and I do not want to mess around with the harmony that is life. Yes, we do have nasty diseases and conditions, and yes, we have to face death sooner or later but I do not want to change that.
This is what I want to change. If i am given the superpower to change one law of nature, I will eliminate violence and psycho-/sociopathy. I am not going to pretend that I know all of the biological and societal reasons of how one becomes violent, and how I may change it. Although if given the said superpower, I imagine that one snap of my fingers would do the job.
Putting up my each of my students’ visual timetables is the best daily ‘ritual’ that I have. I love starting the day by helping my students prepare for their day. ‘Timetable-time’ is also a great opportunity for me and my students to casually talk about what they did the night before, what they had for breakfast and what they would do after school. I also make sure that their mood is as positive as it could be by pointing out the exciting lessons and activities of each day.
I love this ritual more than anything else.
Oh, have I mentioned that I love my job because of my students? Well, I do, and this seemingly simple morning routine is one of the ways that I can make their day better.