Please Just Don't Pee on my Pants

The trials, tribulations and successes of a teacher on her own journey towads independence.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Road Toward Independence

"Road Toward Independence" that seems to be the new buzz phase in the world of education. My question is "Is anyone really independent?" Does anyone ever really survive on their own. I know that I surely expected to be independent by the time I was 42, but I'm not. I have to rely on my boss to actually pay me and be thankful I have a job. I have to rely on my dad to help support my childen and I since my job was cut and pay was cut by 2/3 and my small family ended up in low income housing. That isn't the way I expected my life to turn out. I'm certainly not independent from my sister since she is my moral support though all of life, nor my brother who is always entertaining in his own way.

So should the goal really be toward independence or toward the understanding that we are all dependent on others to survive in today's world.

Yes, I want my students to be able to read, write and balance their check book; which is more than I can do. I don't even have a check book since I can't seem to keep from bouncing checks. I have decided that instead of a problem it is a gift. Not everyone can admit that they have issues with money. So I live on a cash basis... sometimes it sucks because there isn't enough money. The credit card offers come in the mail and it takes much of my will power and a call to my sister to tear them up and throw them away... just another example of not being independent, but depending on someone to help me through life.

Friends and family are all important... I want my students to be able to support themselves through work and not be being locked up in prison, but the reality is that although we may be able to keep a roof over most of our heads - we all need support.

All we need is love... or so the song says... open your doors and lives to others and let's start loving people like we haven't loved them in years. When I grew up I knew who lived in every house on my block... now I don't even know my neighbors in my appartment building.

My challenge for the week is to introduce myself to one neighbor each day for the next week. Those of you who know me understand how far out of my comfort zone I'm stretching.

So with those words - Peace and Love,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Those others give up on

I work at a small charter school in Benson, AZ. When I started working there we had your basic average population. We have morphed into a school that specializes in educating the youth of the world that other's have given up on or thrown away. These are the kids that were too challenging in a "regular" classroom although they have no disability. These are the kids that are so kind and sweet and are mildly or moderately mentally disabled, but cry in class if I cry and care more about me somedays then I care about myself. These are the children with autism along the spectrum from highly functioning to low functioning, highly verbal to non verbal. My hope here is to give a voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves; those who are misunderstood; those the world has given up on.

This journey started actually the year I graduated from college. My first job teaching fifth grade, replacing a teacher who had been arrested for stealing money. I couldn't get into the classroom ahead of time and the kids didn't know they were getting a new teacher on Monday... what memories... but one that stands out is the one boy who told me that first day that he was special ed; he didn't have to do any work and to not expect him to do any then we would get along just fine. I was of course shocked right out of my shoes. Progress with him was slow, very slow... but you know what... he won the science fair for fifth grade that year. He was so proud of himself and so strong and stood up to so many fears. One of the many things he taught me is that once you get passed the fear you still have to have the courage to push through the hard stuff... and you know what - everything in life is hard.

So for now - get passed the fear - or at least name the fear - that of course is step one.

Peace and Love,