Autistic teacher: the day I resigned

Mathieu Belleville-Douelle
8 min readMay 7, 2024
Photo by Taylor Flowe on Unsplash

Back to school in January. The big day. I have an appointment with the Principal at noon.

Rituals due to daily stress

As I do every morning, I drive past the school to park further away, in another parking lot. I don’t want the students or my colleagues to see me doing what I call my rituals. My place is waiting for me, at the back, in a recess, against a wall. I’m always afraid it will be taken, that I will have to look for another one I like.

I slam the door and lock it. As I do every morning, I lean out the front window on the driver’s side to check. Despite the early winter darkness, I can make out one door button after another. I repeat in my head to reassure myself: closed, closed, closed. Handbrake up, handbrake up, handbrake up. Three times. I pull the door handle, three times. Door closed, door closed, door closed. I go around and do it again on the passenger side. Then, one last time on the driver’s side. I pass the car. Lights out, lights out, lights out. Then to the rear. All’s well. I step back and look at my car. I have a doubt… I go back and do it again.

Safe in the classroom

Eight o’clock. The sixth-graders are in the playground. They are shouting, laughing and gesticulating in all directions. The din echoes against the metal sheets…



Mathieu Belleville-Douelle

I love writing, words and ideas. I always want to learn and explore new fields. Committed to my values, I struggle with my inner contradictions.