Showing posts with label Special Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special Education. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

Who Would I Be If I Stayed? + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

I go to work from 9 - 2 everyday to play---play with the most joyous, alive, innocent, mischievous, honest, and savage individuals ever. They are a group of  12 - 14 Middle School Mild/Moderate Special Education students. They belie the title of Special Ed. With totally normal appearance, gestures, clothing, and interests, they transcend any labels people may put on them. They come to school and continue the transition from child to eventual adult. They won't stay this way, but while they are in this stage, I'm so lucky to be able to "play" with them, all in the name of work! They are not quite out of childhood, yet halfway into adulthood. It's so funny to see them act like they are the most knowledgable of experts on any given subject, but then one minute later do something hilariously childish. 

This stage of life only lasts but a year or two. Some people say that it is the hardest stage to raise, as a parent. And I'd have to agree. But I'm not a parent. I'm an educator! I get to take them as they are, make helpful suggestions, even dole out consequences. But mostly, I support them in their hopes, their dreams, their likes and dislikes. I suggest other options. I suggest alternative ways to look at things. I even play devil's advocate. Of course, ultimately, my peers and I let them decide what they are going to do. Some of them will end up being successful and holding down a job and raising a family. Some of them, unfortunately, will not be so lucky. Some of them may even end up homeless. That breaks my heart, because I know they are trying so hard to make a success out of life. And they have so much energy and optimism. 

That same energy and optimism make the most enthusiastic and well-meaning of adults tired. That's why after 5 hours, I am done playing, relieved to leave and do my other jobs consisting of wife, mom, pet-owner, errand-runner, home maintenance worker, gardener, blogger, and elderly care-giver. 
Image - Celeste Camomile
 The end of the school year is fast approaching and I think of the oldest students in our class. They will be moving on to high school, leaving this stage of their lives behind. I realize that although I have developed a fondness and special bond with them, I may never see some of them again. It reminds me of the exchange between Wonder Woman and her mother, Hypolyta. Hypolyta says, "You know that if you choose to leave, you may never return." Wonder Woman replies, "But who would I be if I stay?" 

So it is with my friends. Their journey needs to continue. They can't stay. And I may not know where that journey eventually leads them. But I'll know that when our paths met, we laughed, smiled, played, and learned. And they gave richness to my life, without even knowing they did.
Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of the week's best original content. It's all about posts from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! (Affiliate links welcome!)      

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M Is For Money #AToZChallenge

The coins spill out over the table, they clink loudly, glinting under the fluorescent lights in the classroom. The boy knows the drill. Separate the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies into groups. Start with the largest, working down to the pennies. This time it's different though. I walk away. No help will be given today. He has been working practically all school year to be able to do this. 

Some days have been better than others. Shifting from dimes to nickels seems to be particularly hard. He just can't seem to get it. But each day we work on it, each day using the same coins, that together total about $6.50. Sometimes he says, "I'm sorry, I'm such an idiot." I tell him, "No you're not! Don't apologize.You're going to get this!" And we start again.
The boy is 18, and has been with us for 3 school years. I have come to be so fond of him. I want the best for him. Last year it seemed as if he was never going to have the money-counting skill. It was very frustrating for most of the people who worked with him. They just didn't have the patience or time to go over and over and over a skill or format, so that he would finally understand something. 

This year has been different. Maybe it's because he is maturing and has more patience at working on things. Maybe it's because I was determined that yes, we could work with money all year. We were given this time, and it would be used well. 
So the coins cascade out again and I walk away. When I come back, he has written an amount on some paper. I count the coins, wondering if it will be right this time. My eyes widen with delight. It's correct! Is this a fluke? Let's do it again. I put more coins on the table. This time the amount will be bigger. I leave again. 10 minutes later, he has written another total on the paper. Again, I am pleased to see the total is correct! "Good job! Let's do this again." So more coins are put on the table, and I mix up the coins that have already been organized. He willingly starts his task. Once again he is right! I am so ecstatic! 

If the boy learns how to count money, without help from anyone, he will have a skill set that he can use throughout his life. It will give him the self-confidence to help him know that he's not the idiot that he thought he was.

The 4th try didn't go so well. He was off by a dollar and some cents. But by that time the piles of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies had grown significantly. Today was a major milestone for money. We will have several more weeks before school is done to work on his skill. Then he will move on to another placement. Maybe a job training site, or a group work experience. But whatever he does, he will always be able to count money!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Being The Only Gal

     Today at work was frustrating.  I'm one of 4 educators in a classroom consisting of a teacher and 3 para-educators.  3 of us have bachelor's degrees, one is working towards one.  3 of us are males and one is female (guess who?).  In my naiive days that meant fun.  I would have the attention of 3 men and since I am the only woman, I would be able to rely on those gentlemen, so capable at their jobs, to be gallant and help me with the workload in a classroom such as ours. I'm not saying do more than their share, but just have my back and do as much as I do.  Oh, by the way, the class is all boys ages 13 - 21, of various intellectual disabilities and behavioral issues ranging from autism to dyslexia and other more serious things.  (Thank goodness, for the one girl, age 17, who sometimes aligns with me, depending upon her mood. More often than not, however, she likes to try to show her own dominance with me, the only other female.)  
      I have found, however, that being the only female educator in that environment is sometimes a pain.  I find that since I am instinctively more nurturing than my male counterparts, I am the one that seems to be doing much of the talking, reasoning, helping, soothing, listening and  tutoring.  Granted, when it comes to disruptive behavior, a big, gruff male is the best way to stop it.  And in a classroom like mine, that male dynamic has to be there.  All of the students have caught on to this and they know that I've got a soft spot.  So they are always calling upon me.  In some ways, this is very fulfilling to me.  I love to help these kids, many of whom have not been given a fair shot in society and in their own homes.  Many of them are living in foster care or group homes for various reasons.  But they are so needy and it wears me out.  ESPECIALLY since the guys in the room are all standing around in a little group talking about the latest sports news, the latest cool 'You Tube' video or the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated and any other guy thing you can think of.  If they aren't doing that, they are on their laptop or one of the student computers or the iPads issued to the classroom.  What are they doing?  Gaming.  Oh, and don't get me started now that March Madness is here.  They are going to have 3 computers playing 3 different games so that they can make sure to get the scores immediately so that they can make sure they win their game predictions. 
     Don't get me wrong, I love them.  They're great.  I am so appreciative when they help me, because when they do, it's amazing and a lot gets done.  I think so much more could be done though.  These kids really need all of us to give our all.  I understand, too, that each one of us has burn-out phase.  Like I did today.  I actually had  it up to here (pointing to neck).  I  said, "Hey, I've got a dental appointment today.  I'm out.  See you later."  I left.  Checked out.  Gone.  I came home and took a long, deserved nap.  Maybe daylight savings time really got to me.  More than I thought.  
     Tonight me and my co-workers are getting together at our local 'Burger Supreme'.  It'll be great.   But I'm so over being the only gal in the room.