Tag Archives: autism

Feeling a little guilty

In some of my past posts, I have mentioned what a good time my co-teacher and I have been having with this year’s 5th grade CCD class (Catholic religion classes for kids who don’t go to the parish school.) Now I’m feeling guilty.

I know there are plenty of kids out there with Asperbergers, autism, out-of-control ADHD, serious family problems and other issues that may make them behavior problems during our short hour together on Wednesday nights. They need love and religious education too. I’m just glad for maybe only the second class in nine years, I don’t have to deal with a whole bunch of them.  I’m feeling guilty because we actually have it pretty easy this year, and my co-teacher and I are enjoying it.

Our class this year is small, only 13 students. Typically our class sizes are closer to 20-25. And for the most part, this is a nice, well-behaved group. I have only one male student who seems to have difficulty sitting at his desk without falling out. As a group, they are not perfect, but they are good natured and manageable.

The best part for both them and us is it allows Mrs. R (co-teacher) and I to do different, and more interesting things when we don’t have to worry about pulling kids off of the light fixtures.

For example, this week we had them break into groups of two or three and brainstorm ways they can continue to serve God and their neighbors after they leave Mass.  With some classes, even doing that much was a recipe for chaos. However, this class handled it. When we asked them what they had come up with, the first group said they wanted to act it out with charades.  Mrs. R was not in favor, but I thought it was worth a shot. As it turned out, every one of our groups acted out their “charade” very well. We ended up going around the class three times. It was a little rowdy, but nothing totally out of control.

The students enjoyed it. Since they actually had to engage in the activity, maybe some of what we did may actually stick with them. One can always hope.

A rough class

Last night, I had my second session with my 5th grade CCD class.  So far, this hasn’t been a lot of fun. The “little darlin’s” are beating the crap out of me. They are excessively “chatty,” and there are a bunch of them. I had seven new students come in last night, bringing the class size to 24.

It was difficult to get control of the group from the beginning because those new students kept coming in after we had begun. They needed seats, books, etc. Although it was the third week of CCD, there are still families who are just now bringing their kids around to get registered.

On top of everything else, there are only 17 desks in the classroom, so I had to keep hunting around for additional chairs, stools, etc.

Just before class started, one boy wandered in sucking on a MacDonald’s milkshake. He casually ambled through the room and looked around with a weird smile on his face. When I called to him asking who he was and if he belonged there, he glanced at me and then turned away. I really thought he was just messing with me. I figured he was a friend of some of the other kids in the class and came in to visit and screw with the teacher. It was particularly strange that he was very non-responsive to me, even when I walked over to him and looked him in the eye. Eventually, I got out of him that he was a 5th grader and that he was a new student last night.

About that time, I looked over and saw his mother looking in the door, apparently checking on him. I went over and she asked me if everything was OK. I told her that I thought he was messing with me and described his actions.

“Oh, he has Aspergers, so sometimes he will act that way.”

Oh great. Thanks for the warning, mom!

And he is one of two autism kids in the class. Oy vey!

After class, I talked with another mother who said she would be willing to come help out. That’s great, because I’m going to need it.