I actually met a sociopath today! What a way to start out a blog, huh? Before I go any farther though, I feel that I should take my first entry to do a brief introduction. My name is Ed U. Cayshun (a corny pen name I know but I always wanted a corny pen name) and I am the lowest form of life on the planet, at least as far as the population I encounter every day thinks. I am a Substitute school teacher.
Bear with me, I’ll get to the sociopath in a moment. The finding of a job in my chosen area of the U.S. is actually quite hard for several reasons. First, baby boomer teachers can’t afford to pay out of pocket for health insurance so choose to stay in their classrooms. Second, making college degrees available to everyone floods the market with people who can lay claim to the same job openings that I want. Third, the economy sucks so every teacher looks at their position with relief that they actually have someplace to work. I can’t blame them there. There are other factors as well, which I’m sure that my inane blathering will cover at another time, but those are the few I choose to hit on now.
On to the sociopath . . . I was called by the sub caller to fill in for a middle school special education teacher who specializes in E.I., or emotionally impaired, students. Bad sign already, right? But a day’s work does still equal a day’s dollar. To boil it down, E.I. students have no sense of social graces, think only of themselves and act upon whatever impulse they currently have. I know you are thinking that this sounds like every other junior high school student but these are like the typical junior high-sters on high gear with a hefty dose of speed added to the mix.
This person was special. I could tell by the way the teacher’s aid rolled her eyes at the student entering the classroom three hours late. I could further tell by the story that the teacher’s aid told about having suspended this student yesterday, like so many other days. Even more, I could tell by the way this student said to me, “get the hell out of my face!” as I handed over the period’s work.
Another question that comes to mind I’m sure is; what makes you say this person is a sociopath? Great question and one that is easily answered. Al Gore’s invention, the internet, and the fact that the aforementioned politician single handedly put a computer in every classroom afforded me the opportunity to look up her condition on possibly the single greatest websites ever, Wikipedia. (I acknowledge that Wikipedia is not very well respected in the academic world, but it is pretty cool if you just want quick information not for use in academia) Let us look at the definition of Sociopath according to Wikipedia.
"Antisocial personality disorder (abbreviated APD or ASPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR recognozable by the disordered individual's disregard for social rules and norms, impulsive behavior, and indifference to the rights and feelings of others. . . Sociopathy is sometimes claimed to be a less formal synonym for this disorder based on terminology from an older edition of the DSM." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociopath)
Furthermore, the diagnostic criteria. According to Wikipedia, include the following:
-callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
-gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
-incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
-very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
-incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
-marked proneness to blame others, or to offer plausible rationalizations, for the behavior that has brought the patient into conflict with society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociopath)
Upon discussion with the aid again we surmised that this student meets all of these criteria!
The next thing to think about is what to do to help this person. My opinion stems from minutes of experience dealing with these types of students and my answer is; How the HELL do I know? What I do know is that these types of students are a massive drain on the system that is trying to educate our “normal” students on a shoestring budget taxed by politicians trying to balance a budget of our tax money by milking us for more and this all really rubs me the wrong way! Perhaps an intellectual reading this can come up with a great idea that can be completely ignored by everyone everywhere.
As a future warning, my topics will include further rhetoric on, in no particular order, special education, school transportation, politics and the infamous No Teacher Caught Up (aka No Child Left Behind).
Thanks for reading my first post ever,
Ed U. Cayshun