Thursday, April 07, 2011

News from the Home Front

So I'm sitting on campus waiting for my next class to start. This is an unusual break in the day. Generally I hurry from one class to another with maybe a half an hour in between a couple. I prefer it that way; the day goes by more quickly. But one of my professors canceled his classes until next week I've finally got the time to investigate the student union and discover that they make a pretty good cup of coffee and serve decent bagels.

My weekend is starting a day early this week.  I don't have a practicum tomorrow so I'll be able to garden in the morning. I have new partner in crime this year--my mother gave Gary a dozen strawberry plants two days ago and last night he tilled up a rectangle of ground, mixed in composted manure and built a boundary with PVC (which I'm hoping to talk him out of as all the rest of the beds in the area have rock borders).  He carefully planted each one, artfully spacing them so they have plenty of room to grow. This morning he used the words "worried" when referencing one of the smaller plants. He'll be a good gardener, I can tell.

The semester is nearly over. I'm tired. My family is ready for me to be home--especially Gary who has shouldered part of the load so I can do this. I am so grateful to him for his support and patience. Ready for summer, but already planning for next fall.

A couple of weeks ago a friend, who is a special ed teacher, suggested I consider altering my plans a bit and look into becoming a special ed major. "Everyone wants to teach elementary school--there aren't enough special Ed teachers. Plus you don't have to deal with the MAP (state test) quite as much. You'd be good at it." How he knew that I was having doubts about dealing with that state test, I'll never know, but when he said it something in my head clicked--something that's been out of place ever since I started on this journey.

 I've known all along that I wanted to do something "not mainstream" with respect to education. I've considered being a reading therapist, tutoring for some company like Sylvan Learning, or even going back to work for the University as a Specialist (should that option be available). None of those are off the table, but my interest in the kid who doesn't get "it" and those who might not ever is apparently alive and well. While attending a practicum in a fourth grade classroom this semester I've graded papers and been bothered by the two kids who are clearly behind (which really isn't a bad ratio considering there are 14 kids in this class). I asked the teacher about them and her answer to my "why" was, "I'm not sure--they go to see--"and she named the teacher in charge of special education. In my heart of hearts, I wanted to go there and and I wanted to understand. More than that, I wanted to help. On some level I am just sure I can (I don't know why). So I'm taking a basic introductory course to the field next fall and will see whether this is just a warm, fuzzy passing thing or if it is a calling, so to speak.

In addition to that I'm taking another math course--with the same teacher I have this semester--who (and I teased her about this) is at least a known evil. Actually, she's a terrific teacher and if I have to keep taking math classes, I'd prefer to continue learning from someone who understands that for many of us math is a second language.

Oh--And because I didn't have quite enough hours, I had to cast around for a "filler course"--and--after rejecting several courses in my major because they required more time away from home than I have to give this upcoming year--I settled on a short story writing class. It feels a little like cheating, if you want the truth. Not that I don't have anything to learn from it--far from it actually--but because anything related to reading or writing is just so enjoyable that getting a grade from it doesn't seem right. I'm actually excited about this class. Go figure.

Speaking of math, I have a test today and had better go study for it a bit . . .


Pencil Writer said...

I'm so excited that you're considering teaching special ed. My oldest daughter did for a few years and loved it--until she and the administration and a "falling out." So many kids in "special ed" are special in so many ways and many "main stream" teachers either don't or won't take the time to really help them.

In Louisiana, gifted kids are actually under the "special ed" "umbrella"--and I think for good reason. They can have just as many problems sitting in a regular class as anyone else. And I'm sure you understand how sometimes brilliant children are as much tormented as children with different kinds of learning disabilities. Sometimes brilliant children have different kinds of learning disabilities, too.

Good luck, which ever path you choose. And, hey. Don't enjoy that writing class, too much, now, ya hear?

Mary O. Paddock said...

PW--Thanks for coming by! And thank you too for the encouragement. I hope all is well with you and yours down south. :)