Sunday, May 8, 2011

On the Front Lines

I'm on the front lines. I've caught a two year old half a second before he would have been hit by a car, after an overburdened mother of four accidently left the daycare center's gate open. I've been the target of hits, kicks, bites, and screams, without the option to fight back. I've been witness to a three year old's sudden violence after too much stimulation, and caught children literally flying through the air. I've worked with children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, autism, Down's Syndrome, bipolar disorder, and Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I've been bled on, and wondered how much I should worry---the child's mother did do drugs.

Name any bodily fluid, and I've encountered it. Projectile vomit? Check. One day in the one year olds' classroom crossed that one off my list. Poop? The infant room did that one in, when a child with a stomach bug had a leaky diaper. Blood? I've had a bloody hand unceremoniously dumped in mine after a rough fall.

I've translated for a frantic grandmother whose granddaughter was locked in a car, a mother who just got divorced, and a teacher when a sweet, peaceful child got badly bitten.

I am the subject of violence on a daily basis, without the option of fighting back. An angry child in the midst of a manic episode can have superhuman strength!

And people still think teachers aren't underpaid?

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