Apologies for missing several days of posting. I have been back in the classroom since January 4th, and it has been challenging. I returned from my leave of absence to find wild stories about why I had taken off in December, just before Christmas break. They were quite sordid. My longterm sub had tried the "I'll be your BFF" approach to teaching. That resulted, over the course of two weeks, in my students all unlearning all my classroom rules and expectations that 4 months of classes had instilled them with. Apparently, I had been in an asylum according to some. I had also had brain surgery, and apparently sat at home playing Skyrim all day...even though I did not get it until New Year's weekend as a belated Christmas present from a family member.
To clear the air, I tried to explain in layman's terms what I am dealing with to my students. That may have been my biggest mistake. Some of my students grew very attached to the Sub that let them listen to their iPods, make calls from their cell phones, and text as much as they pleased...even though all of these things are in violation of the code of conduct at our school. To some, my classroom rules (which are basic school rules) are now intolerable and they want me gone again and that "I'll be your BFF" substitute back. This has led some of them to research my condition. You would think that is great, right? Well, it hasn't been. Those of my students that have researched Trigeminal Neuralgia and loved the "BFF" substitute are now trying random triggers that some people with TN experience to see if they can make me so sick that I have to take time off again. I have seen ways that teenagers can be cruel...comes with the teaching in High School territory. I, however, am a really nice guy and did not expect such a negative reaction to my return. This has made work very difficult as my classroom management has now been involving curbing behaviors that are specifically targeted toward "getting me". I was not expecting this. I do not intend to say that all of my students are doing this, most have been very understanding. There are just a few that really seem to not like me or respect my authority now. Additionally, it seems my normal way of handling students that disobey classroom rules is being handled differently by my administration. I cannot help but think this has something to do with them being aware of my disorder. It seems now when I make a discipline referral just as I did before TN, I now am expected to sit down and talk to my students about how what they are doing is hurting me before they get further discipline. These students are few and are acting like bullies. Understanding the psyche of a teenage bully, I do not see how these "extra steps for me only" will do anything other than give them more fuel to use in their efforts to get to me. Other teachers do not have to meet this expectation and it seems quite unfair to me.
I have been trying my best to do my duties and teach Ancient History to my students regardless of these recent obstacles. I have lamps in my room now, per doctor's orders, as fluorescent lights are triggering a reaction of my right Ophthalmic nerve. However, stress causes my face to ache. Being tired makes it worse. I really have to find some tools to help me better avoid triggers throughout my day if I am to continue being successful. My face hurts so badly when I get home most nights now that it consumes my thoughts and actions. My medication seems to take the edge off, but it does not rid me of the effects of my TN.