Friday, May 24, 2013

That’s What It's All About

As a Special Education teacher I spend my days planning, teaching, and advocating for a future.  Not my future, the future of my students.  We all talk about, “one day when they are older” or “when they go to  high school” but do we really think about what we want.  I know, you are saying, yes, I think about the students job and living arrangement.  Their social group and how their family will support them.   But do we consider the little things, the moments that we all remember from our high school days but see as small moments.  I have to say, that I forgot the little things. 

Or at least I did until a young man, whom I have been fortunate enough to have in my life the past 12 years reminded me what really mattered.  He is an amazing young man who happens to use an augmentative communication device and wheelchair.  But please, remember, he is a young man.  He has crushes on girls, passions, and hopes just like everyone.  One of his hopes was fulfilled by a cousin who saw what I didn’t;  the little things matter.

reproduced with permission from their mom's and the young woman

Yes, I am talking about prom.  He went to prom, complete with two beautiful dates who danced with him and enjoyed it along side him.  His younger brother fit his chair with a camera and he shared the expeience later with his family in film as using the talker is more tedious.  At one point, as the juniors and seniors all circled around while individuals danced in and out of the circle, the young man’s classmates made room and had him join the center for his few seconds of dance solo.  Yes, one night of prom matters, and to a young junior, it is a highlight.  Prom wasn’t a single night.  No, it was a lifetime of memory.  I will always be grateful that he was my teacher as to how to plan what matters most in a person’s life.  I will carry this lesson with me the next time I start a sentence with “One day….”

Thanks, all three of you!!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Do As I Say AND As I Do

Today, I was haunted by my own words.

Let me set the stage…

I am a firm believer in learning everyday and growing as a person.  I believe this so much that I try to model it for others.  This year, I have challenged myself to a physical completion that is 50% physical, 50% mental.  The mental part, for me, is believing that yes, I can do it.  I have told people I am doing this competition so I will follow through and have been overwhelmed by the support.  I even have a student who wants to come watch me. 

Today as I was chatting with his mom, we talked about how my training is going and I said that I am glad I am challenging myself but that I hope I can do it.  That’s when it happened…

“Would you let my son say ‘I hope’?”

Caught busted!  No, my students need to know they can and so should I.

“You’re right, I will.”

Thank you so much to that family for reminding me that I need to model not only challenging yourself, but believing in yourself.