Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Bulgaria, High School and Disabilities
I remembered tonight, why I took up the profession I did. Years ago, when I was a teenager, i was part of a summer camp that catered a couple weeks a summer to the mentally and physically disabled. I decided in 11th grade that was who I wanted to work with.
My education took a slight turn to the vocational school as a teacher's aide in the 'Moderately Mentally Retarded' class (as it was called then) at our BOCES facility. My senior year, as I finished up a couple Regent's credits, I pushed my guidance counselor to let me go to get a certificate from the vocational school in 'child care'. They suggested the teacher's aide situation for me, instead.
That experience, under the head teacher, Robin, put me on a solid course through college at Marywood (in Scranton, PA) in Special Education. I earned my PA teaching certificate... and proceeded to get married, have four kids, and be a homeschool mom for 15 years.
When I finally started teaching in the public school system, it began with a fizzle... substitute teaching for any class I could get. PE, Earth Science, Chemistry, and everything else. I swore I would never take a permanent position at the Gloversville High School, nor in a teenage ED class. Guess where I ended up? My first classroom was the new ED class at Gloversville High School. I learned so much those years, and will never be frightened of any students ever again.
Today I got a message about the top documentaries on the topdocumentaryfilms.com site. One of them was about the disabled children in Bulgaria. (http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/bulgaria-abandoned-children-revisited/). It reminded me of my first love for these people, and reflecting, I recalled where my patience, great love, and desire to teach was first directed... those kids in Robin's class, the adults and kids at Youthaven Camp and other people I've been priviledged to know who work through and beyond their disabilities.
Now I teach students who may have a learning disability, perhaps mild high-functioning autism, and many students who are just plain lazy or stink at writing. I love them all... but don't tell them! If I have to work all day... I am thankful I have this job. If I didn't have to work all day... I'm sure I would be in some way reaching out to this population!
That's all today. :)