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June 30 , 2007

Excuse Me?! (The Life of a Special Ed. Teacher)


The year was 2005, the place was my brother's patio, and much like his golden retriever, I was impatiently waiting for something to drop from the BBQ. I made a grab for some of the carne asada that was taunting me on the grill. My brother glared at me. "If you do that again, I swear I'll lop off a finger." I tried to imagine my hand minus a pinky and figured that it probably wasn't worth it. I went over to the liqueur cabinet and wondered if a tequila, vodka and lemonade would taste good. My nephew came up from behind and asked, "Uncle Pat, why did you become a special ed. teacher?" I thought to myself, "Boy, if I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that…I'd have like 53 dollars."

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Flash forward to a Christmas party later that year; my buddy's wife asked if my students had done anything funny recently. Answering her meant that I had to stop eating the delicious seven layer bean dip, but since she made it, I figured it was only fair. I told her about an incident that happened just before the break. We were reading about the Civil War when one of my girls interrupted the lecture. She snapped, "I just want to let you know that I got into a fight with my dad this morning and I don't want to talk about it!" I paused and said, "Gee, that's too bad. If you want to discuss it later just let me know." "Shit, didn't you hear me? I said I don't want to talk about it!" She threw her book on the ground, tipped her chair over and then stormed out of the classroom.

I told my friend's wife that there are days when I feel like I'm on that TV show Punk'd. I just keep waiting for Ashton Kutcher to bust into my room and tell me that he "got me good" and that I should have "seen the look on my face". (But since I'm not famous, I'm not really sure why Ashton is "punking" me. Oh well.)

If you've ever wondered what makes a special education teacher tick or what happens inside the classroom, then this is the book for you!

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