My letter to the county was well received by my son’s case manager. She thanked me for sending it to her supervisor. It so happens that they are meeting today. We’ll see if anything comes of it. More waiting. Hopefully, not for long.
I’m going to make a huge leap in topics now. With last weeks tragedy in Florida and yesterdays threats at Orono, a school too close to home, I’d like to make some observations and comments. I’m not going to get into a political debate on guns. I think anyone that knows me knows where I stand on that.
I work in a school that has K-12. I’m on the secondary side. I will confess, I was scared to death to work on a secondary side. I was always very intimidated by teens and felt much more comfortable with “little people.” Who can resist their hugs, smiles and hand holding?
Part of my daily duties now is to monitor the hall for 15 minutes prior to the first bell ringing. It gives me a brief glimpse into the teens lives other than in a more restricted classroom. I silently observe them as they arrive for the day. I can honestly tell you that most of them come in with smiles and seem truly happy to be in the building. Some are wearing their headphones or ear buds, while others are wrapping up some texting on their cell phones. I see many hugs between students. I don’t mean all male to female hugs either. Kids are different now. I see boys hugging boys and girls hugging girls. They are dedicated to to their friends and aren’t afraid to show it. There’s a huge group of girls that form a heart with their fingers and tell each other “I love you!” They gather in small, sometimes large groups and talk with excitement about the night before or the day ahead. I always feel so fortunate when I am greeted with a good morning and a smile from any number of them. I have a few running jokes with several of them. I find humor is a great tool to forge the age gap.
You all know I love working with “my” special needs kids. But there is more to my job than that. I interact with most of the students at one time or another. I may be in a main stream class with one of “my” kids, in the halls during passing time, called on to help someone once in a while, or just hanging out around them at a pep rally.
I’ve been asked if I am ever afraid to go to school due to the recent events. I will tell you that as I watch the news, the fear creeps in but only briefly. I see many students that suffer from depression and/or anxiety. That troubles me. It’s not my job to fix them but I always try to greet them with a warm smile. I want them to know I see them and that they matter! I’m always ready to begin a new day with expectations of not knowing what to expect! My job is very much the same everyday and yet very different every day. We never know what can happen during but I can honestly say, most everyday offers a sweet, unexpected surprise. It’s why I do what I do.
The “kids” keep me young. They keep me more current on topics and electronics than I would be without them. They keep me hopeful about the future. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of their youth as they plan for their futures. They allow me to be silly. They give me permission to act like a kid again.
Some people have told me they think I’m special for doing what I do. I’m not. In fact, I feel very selfish. I am on the receiving end of so much joy and love my heart becomes overwhelmed. The kids will never know how deeply they affect me or how much I care but I do. And it makes me grateful. Every. Single. Day.