Thursday, 17 January 2013

My Office

I read Peter DeWitt's blog post about the Principal's Office today.  He was talking about the fear of going to the Principal's office in the past and how that needs to change.  I remember that fear.  My parents told me if I "ended up" in the principal's office in trouble, I would get in double trouble at home.  No wonder there was such fear about going there.  What a difference today.  I had a discussion with a grade 4 student who has Tourette's.  Lots of times, his "leaky brakes" cause him to say things he shouldn't say or do things he doesn't really want to do.  We talked about how my office is his safe place.  How he can come to the office anytime, even if I am not there.  We talked about the tools he can use in my office which include a heavy ball for proprioception, a body sock for deep pressure and fidgets.  He has used the chairs to blockade a space to curl up in.  He is learning to use my office as a tool.  This has proven effective for him.
Another student in grade one who is Autistic often visits my office as a reward.  He loves to come and give me a hug, or a "zerbet" on the cheek.  We play catch with the yoga ball I keep for him there.  I welcome his visits as a wonderful break if I am doing heavy paperwork. Sure a change from the past. 
I love to meet with students who are working on projects and need a space to discuss their project.  OR when I need help with a piece of technology that I am just not getting.  I have invited students to come and show me how to do things.
Finally, my office is a place of refuge for staff who need to talk, or need to catch their breath.  I hope that coming to my office is not scary for my students or parents in my school.  I work hard to make it a warm  and inviting space for collaboration between many different people.  Most of all, I would like to spend way less time in my office doing paperwork!!

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