Y’all don’t know tired until you are a teacher at the end of a week with some sort of special day.
Any sort of special day at a school is a lost week. A kid’s birthday means they aren’t learning anything that week. Is it Halloween? The week before Christmas? Easter? March Break? The whole month of June?!! There is no learning happening. Basically, it’s just the adults trying to contain the chaos.
Thankfully, my week wasn’t too bad. One student had massive emotions all week – which meant they would just burst into tears randomly and sob. We had no idea what was happening until we told their mom about it on Monday and she was like “oh yeah, this always happens, they are just too excited for Halloween and impatient for it to come.” And of course, because they have autism, they can’t express that verbally or recognize the feelings of being anxious for the day to come mixed with excitement – so it comes out as sobs during our daily carpet circle sharing time.
We also have been learning Halloween songs all month, doing Halloween crafts during art, and this week reading a Halloween book every single day.
Then the day of Halloween arrived! One student has their birthday today so the excitement of Halloween AND their birthday AND their ADHD was just way too much for this little body to control. And I just let them have their hyperness. Own it, kid. We can’t do anything to stop it and it’s justified so let it out.
I usually have a packed day with lessons and things but the school had plans for after lunch.
In the morning instead of having 4 lessons, we had 1, a ghost hunt and craft and a math colouring page. The kids could change into their costumes during lunch (I had 3 spidermen and an iron man, plus “red” from angry birds, one student didn’t dress up and the morning student was Batman. Red was also Wonder Woman in the morning but changed at lunch) and they had French and another craft, we took a class photo (myself and the two EA’s were the three blind mice), then at 2:30 we were doing trick or treating in the school. This is super fun and there were only 6 doors for the kids to go to, BUT most of them don’t understand the concept of trick or treating. So it was a social skills lesson all on its own on how to do that politely.
The kids were allowed to have one piece of candy after trick or treating (I know, I’m harsh) and then they just switched right into their afternoon free time.
There were a few meltdowns though. Of course. It’s expected at a regular school and even more so when you have a class full of students who can’t identify their own emotions yet. During lunch, we always put on a little video for the kids to watch while they eat (so they don’t talk cos of covid and masks being down) and the wifi wasn’t working so we couldn’t do it. Tears and crying and some kid dumped their lunch out, and one student legit could not calm down for over an hour. Just crying and crying and crying.
During our “eat one thing from your bag” time, a student from my class has lots of food allergies. So we checked over all the items and decided that plain Lays chips would be best. I read the ingredients over and there were none of the allergens listed as ingredients or even “may contain” so it was deemed safe to eat. Only at pick-up was I informed by the child’s parent that I should have asked first before letting them eat the chips because they had never had chips before due to the various food allergies they have. So I felt HORRIBLE for about an hour until I was reminded by my EA that a letter was sent home telling the parents that we would be trick or treating and that the school was giving each child a plain bag of chips and NO communication was given from this parent asking that their child not participate or eat anything.
We sent home a bunch of cute crafts for all the parents, and the class picture. And a few moms also created treat bags for the kids and passed them out at pick-up. We asked that they not send anything to class due to covid and the allergies of the students but since they did it in the parking lot it was totally fine. HAHA!
And after, I was completely exhausted!! But honestly, I loved it! I never got to do things like this at my old school because it was a Christian school and then because of COVID so it was just really awesome to be able to participate in some traditions and give the kids a great memory.