A colleague and I taught Go to year 5 and year 6 classes in a primary school today. The children could barely have been more receptive and fun, nor could they have embraced the game with any more fervour.
Alas, I journeyed home from the school in a state of near exhaustion with a rasping sore throat from all the tuition. I pondered this a lot, since this was not an unexpected outcome. True, there was no respite – even in the children’s break, I was inundated with requests to play and help with the game.
I think, essentially, I had adopted a professional attitude – ensuring maximal uptake and enjoyment and putting myself second. Yes, I can do this. And partly because I am very fond of the attention that children give me. It yearns for reciprocation, which I give.
But the underlying situation is of sensory overload. I am bombarded by new faces – by many friendly faces, and I want to spend time with each – one was deep and serious, the next light and frivolous, another yearning for attention and encouragment.
Reflection of the day was in the back of mind this evening when I was using the excellent ‘Stumble upon’ to look at paintings by artists, eventually zoning in on Black and White images of Jean Simmons. This is one actress I had not drawn before, and as I wondered if there was an image I could draw from, I realised that I mostly failed in the transition from monochromatic pencil drawing because I was overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of colours in painting.
There was a clear parallel here with my sensory overload today, and it again makes me wonder quite how far along the autistic spectrum I might be. It may well be that I compensate for the autisic overload by statying professional, and just getting on when teaching, but then suffering the effects of sensory overload. Much as a trult autistic child would roll into a ball to escape from the very same sensory overload. As I moved today from one child to another, it felt far too trivial to see each child as just another person. I was so acutely aware of the depth of personality, and endeared so deeply to each – children make (and drop) attachments rapidly, having yet to learn the tediously slow defensive posture that adults use, desparate to avoid furthering their social commitments. It is probably because children can detach as rapidly as they attach, as their emotions are light and flighty.
The overload and hence subsequent exhaustion is because I wanted to ignore the education and just socialise, but was compelled to be professional and mostly suppress that route. Conflict is a primary cause of negative stress.
So for me to teach, one on one is best – an equivalent to pencil drawing.