I can't decide if it was a step back or just progress in a direction that I wasn't planning on but today there was a fight.
No, 10 fights.
Probably more like 20, but I lost count.
From 1:00 - 3:40 I was restraining someone. The entire time. Not always the same person, not always from the same fight, but always restraining someone.
My back hurts...my neck hurts...my arms hurt...my head hurts...my ego hurts.
My babies don't fight, not anymore, not with each other.
Today they did.
There was a brawl in the lunch room involving only my class. There was no "what did they do to you" reaction. It was only them. 10 of them going at it as we ran from table to table trying to break up what looked like the most dangerous one at the time.
It was them - all them.
I was disappointed. Embarrassed. Angry. Security came, took 8 of them, went on lunch 5 minutes later and sent them back to my room, still fighting.
For 2 hours I yelled, lectured, restrained. No para. No aides. So illegal. The speech teacher stayed and tried, like me, to get kids on task. We called...the office, in house suspension, administration. My door rotated with the kid who was most angry at the moment. I couldn't send all of them out, nor did I want to. I also couldn't keep all of them.
I still haven't figured out what brought on the fight. I wasn't there when it started. It continued after they were on the buses. What kept it going was looks. Tears. Clenched fists. Pride.
This is what September was like.
Today I bled. Scratched on the arms and hit in the jaw.
There will be no reports filled out because, according to our contract, we're not supposed to break up fights.
I guess I'm supposed to let 13 emotionally disturbed, lack of impulse control students go at each other while security sits at their desk and eats lunch or refuses to come to our building. It's cold out, you know? And I signed up for this. They're special ed. If I heard that one more time this afternoon, I was going to punch somebody.
"Man, I don't like this class," said Joshua in the midst of the craziness.
"You know what?" I replied in a moment I can't decide if I regret or not. "I don't either right now. This is embarrassing. We're not showing people how much progress we've made, but we're in this together. We sink together we swim together. Nobody is leaving."
The last time there was a fight like this in the building the teacher packed her stuff and didn't come back.
"Tomorrow's a new day," said Malik with a smile on his face. He waved to me as he left. So resilient, I thought to myself.
On the bus he punched a kid in the head and ribs.
I'm showing up tomorrow with my life vest.