Thursday, February 20, 2014

4 (more) Special Moments from Special School

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I love Special School. Very few things get between me and Special School. I had a conversation with a good friend, Luke, the other day.

She Types Things: "Luke, you know I love school."

Luke: "Really, I couldn't tell..."

She Types Things: "Like if you were in hospital with only six hours left to live and it was on a school day... I am not sure what I would do... I would be very torn."

Luke: "You would go to school. I have accepted this. It is okay"

She Types Things: "Well you said it, not me"

Of course, I am not completely heartless. I would probably divide my time between school and Luke if that horrible situation did happen ;)

But I do love school, and when I am not at school I am constantly wishing I was at school. I am often thinking about my students. I care for them all, a lot. I want them all to succeed. I want them all to go beyond our expectations and exceed their wildest dreams. I think about this a lot.

I also want them to have a chance to be kids, or teenagers as the case may be. The other day my "sweet student" and "princess" were listening to music. They took it in turns to, using a switch, choose the music. They were just two girls, listening to music together as friends.

Please feel free to share in my joy of four more special moments from Special School.

#1 I have a new student in my classroom and she has been getting to know me over the past few weeks. This week when I entered the room she ran up to me as fast as she could to give me a hug. She is a beautiful child and this warmed my heart. Seeing recognition from students does make me happy: it is validation that I am doing my job.

#2 Communication is always on my mind with all of my students. I personally believe that communication is the key for thriving. One of my students, who I have now known for a year and who I refer to as "my sweet student", does not YET have an AAC or reliable system of communication that works for her. This is a lengthy issue in itself and I won't get into it now. I am able to understand her basic "yes" and "no" responses, but when she communicates something more it gives me great joy. It gives me even greater joy when it is something with typical teenage attitude and spunk. The other day, when a student was annoying her - she rolled her eyes at them and I burst out laughing, so she rolled her eyes again and smiled at me. THIS is fantastic. This is communication. This is gold.

#3 I love seeing a student improve. This can be over a long period of time, or it can be a sudden change that comes from a change of attitude, or a change of teaching method (or a combination of both). Seeing "my main mate" rock out a skill with a new attitude after doing such a poor job the week previous was such a thrill.

#4 I learn more as a volunteer at school than I ever did as a student. I have always said I wish I cared about school this much as a student. This week, as I was watching my teacher work students I was struck once again by the fact that she is an outstanding and marvellous teacher. I want to learn everything I possibly can from her.

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