Thursday, December 4, 2014

Right Here and Now

"Yep, I was right, it's an alien." My roommates from college are cracking up if they are reading this I'm sure. It's a long story and an inside joke from my student teaching days. All of those many moons (4 years) ago. Basically to us it's a funny story but something that also means: I was positive about this. I am seeing it. I know what it is. But yet, I am completely wrong. It has been a while since I have reflected on anything. This occurred to me in an assessment class I'm taking in which my professor stated, "You do not need to do the reflection that is on the syllabus". I blurted out (without even thinking): "Noooooooo! I love reflections!". Later on I clarified and told my professor it was okay about eliminating the extra requirement, I could reflect elsewhere.

That got me thinking about how little I have actually sat down and put to paper (or computer), or processed it in my brain what I have experienced teaching so far. Sure, I talk about my job to my family, friends, and boyfriend, but have I actually reflected upon it? No. I have not. But I think I need to. I have a JOB! I have had a job since August! Hence, why a blog has been at the bottom of my list.

This job has been very exciting. I work at a school for students with a range of disabilities. If I had to go back in time, I would definately NOT take three grad courses on top of my first year of teaching, but it's all been worth it. All of the late nights, tears, vent sessions, caffeine, lack of social life (and showers) has so far made me feel like I'm doing something important. Not just because I am devoting so much of my time to my classroom and learning about everything I possibly can to help my students, but because I just feel it. Sure, there are days when I think, "I am teaching them nothing!" or "I could do so much more!"but all in all I can say I love what I am doing. I also think I'm doing a pretty decent job (ask me again around VAAP season and I will probably cry).

I have experienced so much so far! Things I cannot really share on a public venue such as this, but it was definitely things I never anticipated. I was right, it is hard. I knew it would be (see previous blog posts for my realistic understanding of the world of special education). At the same time, I am discovering in this field, you can know SO much but at the same time, know nothing at all.

Accepting that I cannot control my students' lives at home, trying to understand their struggle day in and day out, and figuring out how to get them to do anything without a Matchbox car has been a challenge. The unexpected events I NEVER thought I would encounter as a teacher were also a wake-up call about the way that world is. And how little I can do about it.

So, my goal and focus thus far has been something I learned in the beginning of this semester of classes. I do not know where I read it as I have gone through countless books, articles, and resources but it is to remember to "See the whole child, not just their behaviors". This little reminder has gotten me through some tough circumstances. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Fred Rogers. It is complied in the book, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember and located on page 53. It reads, "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now".

This so beautifully explains my day in and day out with the students I work with. That is all.