This post discusses physical violence and may be triggering for some readers.
I took a video of my students in the final week of school in 2021.
It shows a group of primary-aged boys working together to solve a puzzle on a whiteboard. They’re talking to each other, taking turns, and using problem-solving skills in the hope that they will win a prize from a box of Kmart trinkets (junk) I buy to incentivise them.
They require very substantial support with day-to-day tasks, with communication and emotional regulation, and with the type of thinking skills that most of us take for granted.
Watch: We call our favourite teachers from school to say thank you. Post continues after video.
At the beginning of the school year, these guys didn’t really acknowledge each other. They played alone and most couldn’t name another student in their class.
As the year progressed, and we worked on social interactions, they started to clock each other’s existence.
At first, they were personally affronted whenever one of their peers looked at them or breathed near them. Physical fights were commonplace. But over time, they learned to accept each other, and some even became friends.
So in addition to filming, I was positively basking in the sight of these little people interacting so harmoniously. Like most teachers, I live for moments like this.
Watching 'your' kids succeed makes the stress and long hours and frustrations associated with teaching worthwhile.
In the background of the video, you can hear another of my students getting impatient with my split attention. Honestly, he shouldn’t be at school. He has been unsettled and aggressive all week, causing injuries to his classmates and staff.