27 June 2007

A day in the life...

So, today at work, the DIRECTOR of the place got caught in a lie.

Let me go back a bit...

There have been some rumors, among the staff, about one of our social workers being ready to snap. She's been 'ready to go' for a while. The students really had no idea, but those of us who have been doing this for a while know the classic signs of burnout. And, trust me, 'special ed' has a HUGE turnover.

This morning, when we saw this social worker's van backed up to the administrative building, and she was obviously packing her stuff, the residents started freaking out.

"she's leaving! is she leaving?"
"where's she going, I'll bet she was fired..."
"is she leaving us? what happened? what'd we do?"

At that point, I couldn't answer any of their questions. My only response was, "I don't know, lets wait and see, I'll ask Director Lady, let's not jump to conclusions."

Knowing full well that every single one of these kids has abandonment issues, and all of them based on their parents, I knew this wouldn't turn out well. Already, these kids were starting to lose their minds, they all know the signs.

Apparently, one of them was told that the Social Worker was sacked. I don't know the full story, she may have been canned, she may have quit. But, when she literally ran to her mini-van, and peeled out leaving the parking lot, we were all pretty sure she didn't plan to come back. No good-bye, no final word for the residents, just an extended middle finger in the form of exhaust fumes and melted tire tracks.

Let the freak outs begin.

Two kids had to be physically restrained to keep them from hurting themselves or others. I simultaneously talked down three others from whatever behaviors they were threatening (from cutting themselves, to running away, to "fuckitall no one cares, my social worker doesn't even care"), and all the while giving sly dirty looks to the "Cool Kids" trying to get them to stop provoking the others.

As soon as things were somewhat in hand (meaning no one was trying to kill themselves or anyone else) I went to Ms. Control Freak and Mr. Teacher and said, "look, I know things are crazy right now, but one of you needs to call Ms. Director Lady, and have her come over here and talk to these kids... they need to know what's going on, WE need to know what's going on. It has to happen now before things get worse."

That's when things got worse.

Ms. Director Lady and Other Social Worker Lady show up in the classroom. We get all the kids settled (relatively speaking), and Ms. Director Lady starts talking. And, she starts lying. Its not that she's a bad liar... but, these kids have been consistently lied to for as long as they've understood language. Many of them know bullshit when they hear it, and they are ready to call you on it.

And one of them did.

And it got ugly.

About the time she called Ms. Director lady a "fucking white trash lying bitch."

Yes, that sent a majority of the other kids one of two ways... sobbing uncontrollably, or into fight mode. Yes, kill the lying white trash... it's the way of the 'hood. And really, how does one decide between comforting the kids who are sobbing, and trying to stop the others from killing this lady who just basically fucked them over? I chose the crying kids. She chose to lie... let her deal with the consequences of her actions.

Her answer? Promise them all ice cream (and then later, pizza for next week) and put the house on lock down for an hour...then run away and leave us to deal with the fallout. Freakin' awesome.... wish I had a PhD and could think like that.

I know it's odd, but one of the parts of my job that I really appreciate, when I really know I've somehow touched a life.... when a child who has threatened my life (thank you Danger Gril... her spelling, not mine), who has cussed me out, and told me she hates me, comes to me sobbing, and I can hold her in my arms and tell her "its going to be ok, I'm still here for you. I'm not going anywhere." And she, after that hug (which, I'm pretty sure I'm not technically "supposed" to do, but "the rules" can just suck it sometimes), feels a little better... and instead of assaulting someone, feels supported and cared for, and goes on to have a great day... those are the little victories that make my job worthwhile.

When I can pull a kid back from the edge of insanity by getting them to look me in the eye and promise me they won't hurt themselves, then use humor to get her to smile at me, those are the moments that make this job worth it.

Then I looked at the clock... 10 am.


CamiKaos said...

stupid stupid woman.

but YEAH you!

Bubblewench said...

You are amazing!

Mum2Angus_n_Molly said...

Stupid bitch!

You rock AND roll!!!

maria said...

Stupid woman... I'm with the kids, and you...Hope things will get better.