Saturday, March 5, 2011

Believe it or not

I regret to inform you that this week was one of the worst on record! Not necessarily because of the kids, there was just some professional politics going on that were disgusting and saddening. I obviously can't get into it but let me just say it kills me when good, hard-working people are scorned, unappreciated and generally treated badly. However...
The upside of my job is that even when it's a bad week, it's really not that bad of a week! So many wonderful things happened, as usual. My sweet little boy with the angel voice was sick this week and I could oddly understand him SO much better! It was so cute to hear his soft voice all raspy. :-) And while I'm on the subject of communication, some preeeetty funny things happened this week relating to that subject.
The students in my class get a vocabulary word each day. They have to write the word, definition and create a sentence. We started offering $2 classroom money to any student who would stand up, say the word, the definition 5 times without looking at it, and share their sentence. One student in my class who has speech problems volunteered for this. The word was negotiate. Definition: discuss so as to agree on. So he stood up, said the word and then continued, "Negotiate- discuss so at to greed on, discuss so at to greed on, disscuss so at to greed on, discuss so at to greed on, disscuss so at to greed on." I'm not sure if this translates as humorously in type but it was hilarious. He has a cute little accent too. His sentence was also a crack-up, "I negotiate to get my own grades up my parents get my xbox take away for one month." We asked him to elaborate and he just said, "I negotiate my own grades up." And an aide said, "You don't negotiate your grades! You EARN them!" At this point he looked nervous and sat down. :-(
Also, a little triumph happened this week with another student who had speech problems. I have been working with him for a year and a half and always struggled to understand what he was saying. But recently he has been speaking sooo clearly! I hardly even have to ask him to repeat himself. He is stretching out his words, pronouncing each syllable and annunciating much better. I am so proud! :..-( We actually had a long discussion about him becoming a police officer and how he would arrest people for "saying bad words", "sagging their pants" and "writing on walls". I tried to get him to say the miranda rights but I think that was asking too much...
Let me just end on this note. My baby girl who we will call "JJ" for privacy reasons did the cutest thing this week. I don't think I've mentioned her yet on my blog which is shocking because, well, she's kind of one of my favorite (but on the record I really don't have any ;-). So JJ is a teeny, tiny little girl with a walker she uses most of the time. She is 12 yrs old but appears to be around 4 or 5. She has a high squeaky voice and whenever I hear her out in the hall I think a little baby has come to visit our school! She's actually in the severe handicapped class but whenever I get the chance I visit her across the hall, out at the lunch tables, on the field in P.E. or in the O.T. (play) room. She is sooooo cute! Most of the time I'm not sure she is saying anything that exists in any known language but sometimes I can decipher things like "sit", "watch" and one particularly heart-warming time, "I-LOVE-YOOOOU!" She is very sweet, loving and full of energy. She gives me a big, strong hug when I see her and sometimes clings onto me with her legs too like a baby or little monkey. The thing is, she's so tiny and frail, I don't understand how she gives such strong hugs! On the other hand, JJ can sometimes be very stubborn, uncooperative and cranky.
Anyway now that you have her background I will tell you what happened. I saw JJ in P.E. and sat next to her on the steps. She babbled for a bit, then took my hand and placed something in it. I looked. It was a booger from her nose. I stared at it for a second and then said, "Yuck, JJ! I appreciate the thought but I don't want your boogers!" So I don't know if she was thinking like a cat who brings you a dead mouse or lizard as a present that she was giving me a gift or, if she just thought she could use my hand as a kleenex. Oh well, I still love her. :-)
If you're still reading by this point I thank you. I know this post was exceptionally long-winded but I hope you enjoyed reading it almost as much as I enjoyed living it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Such a cute week

Although every week is, really. So many funny and entertaining things happened. Shall I make a brief list?
- I hugged a cute little girl in my class who promptly started purring like a cat and rubbing against my arm.
- The sweet little boy with the voice like an angel had his mommy substitute for his aide and kept giving her kisses in art class and saying "I love you mommy!" His mommy would respond in equal measure. :-)
- A shy little autistic boy beat me in chess! We had a $5 bet going on and he was sooo excited to win $5 of fake, school money. He kept telling his classmates, "Look, I'm beating Ms. Christy!"
- I suggested a 7th grade boy make his copper key chain Emperor Palpatine. He agreed but then lost focus halfway through and started making a zombie.
- A "cool" 8th grade boy thanked me for helping him with his math homework. This is BIG if you know 8th grade boys...
- A cute, chubby autistic boy burst into tears in class and his classmate cheered him up with this sentiment: "If it makes you feel any better, my parents are robots!"
- I saw a student carrying his baby sister on his shoulders.
- Saw so many amazing pieces of art in the 6th grade art class. Some of them have such talent. Just a perk of working at an arts-focused school. ;-)
- Got two truly glowing recommendations from my colleagues for a scholarship I applied for. I couldn't thank them enough.
- While waiting for a precious 6th grade girl from my class outside of the bathroom (unbeknownst to her) I heard her singing at the top of her voice.
- A student gave me the nickname *note: this is not my e-mail address!
- One of my students earned the "Leading the Way" award. A very high honor bestowed to an outstanding student every month.
- The students were tested on their math and reading this week and many of them improved by more than 200 points since last year! Truly awesome!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


So, remember the little boy I talked about in my last post? Well, here's a news flash: he's blind. I just found out this week. Duh! Of course he only responds to sensory input, he can't see who the heck I am. I tried to interact with him again the other day, but he was sitting at his desk with his chin resting on his hands, fast asleep. Yes, he sleeps sitting up! He is such an interesting little guy. The other day he was at an assembly where I heard him giggling the entire time. It makes me glad to see him so happy. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen him crying or upset. Wouldn't that be so amazing if you could never feel sadness or anger? Maybe he's luckier than most of us. Maybe he's happier than any typical person because simpler things make him happy. I know I'm going off on a tangent but this is an important point, and something I often think about.
I used to get really sad when I saw kids who had special needs. The more severe they were, the more I felt sorry for them. I didn't think I would ever be able to work with kids like that because I'd be crying all the time. However, as soon as I started working with students who have special needs, I realized that most of them appeared very happy. I began to think, "Why should I feel sorry for kids who seems perfectly happy?" They live in a completely separate world from us, so to speak. Their expectations and happiness are much different than a typical persons'. Being able to talk and walk, have a career, marry, have kids are not things a lot of mentally disabled people comprehend. If they don't comprehend something, then how can they miss it? What they can comprehend is love. I have never met a child with special needs who I didn't think could interpret love. Even those who were completely paralyzed and non-verbal I still believed could sense when someone cared about them. I could be wrong, but I strongly hope I'm right.
Perhaps I should talk about the actual class I work in more often! More on that next time. :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I made a new friend!

Today I went into the severely handicapped class across the hall from my classroom. I said hi to a little boy I always say hi to but rarely get a response from. I've actually never heard him respond verbally to anyone and I'm pretty sure he can't speak at all. He is super tiny, about three and a half feet tall. The most reaction I have ever seen him give is laughter and clapping. That was pretty momentous! So when I said hi to this boy today I didn't expect a response but to my surprise, he reached out for my hand and patted it. I put my hand on his desk and he continued to pat my hand. Then I put my hand up for a high five and he responded to that for a few minutes. Suddenly he took my hand and placed it on his head. I started to realize the best way to communicate with him is through sensory input. I noticed this before but now I know that's what I have to do every time I want a response from him! Just when I was starting to enjoy my new connection with this special little guy, the teacher I work with barged in and pretty much told me to get back to work. Oops! I thought things in our classroom were pretty slow because there were only 6 students and they were about to go to lunch. I guess I'll have to be more careful about when I leave the classroom in the future. This is why people think I'm wierd. Sometimes my love for children gets me into trouble. Also my love for cats...I will follow a cat for blocks until I can pet it and this really upsets my friends. Anyway, better stop here! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Back to work!

This week I went back to work after a long break. The break was nice but honestly, I like it when I work. I know I sound like such a wierdo but it's true. Not only do I feel more productive, I love seeing all my students -and some kids who aren't my students- every day. Well, excluding weekends. Shhh...don't tell my work and don't think I'm pathetic but these kids are like my little brothers and sisters. That's how much I love them and uh, that's how immature I am. :-/  I'm pretty sure I'm just a child in an adult's body. I wonder if this will hinder me when I try to become a teacher...
So a couple very lovely things happened today but I only have time to share one. There is a sweet little boy in the 6th grade severely handicapped class. He barely ever speaks but when he does he says things like "I love Barney", "Sesame Street", and other things that are spoken in such a soft, angelic whisper I can't even understand what he's saying. Everyone is in love with him. Every teacher, every aide, his family and students. I would love to be able to post a picture but that's unfortunately a breach of confidentiality. Bummer. So I talk to this little guy almost every day when I see him at lunch or in the hall and he rarely responds. Today I went to say hi to him at the lunch tables and he looked at me with his precious blue eyes, smiled, and took my hand. He held it for a few minutes until I had to leave and get back to my class. It made me so happy that even though he can't express himself well, he is capable of having seemingly caring interaction with others.
There's a lot more I can share but I'll save it for another day. Plus I want to have dinner. Until next time...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hi! Let me introduce you to my blog...

Hi! I'm Christy! I work with kids! I am so happy!
Allow me to elaborate. I am a paraeducator for kids who have special needs. The kids I work with are truly amazing. They are cute, funny and most importantly kind-hearted to the very last drop. Sure, kids have their bad days and some of my students can be bullies or misbehave but they all have good hearts. Don't assume all classes are like this though - I just got very lucky! I really have a speical class. :-)
To be honest I am a little embarassed by my "softiness". It's difficult to cope with when you know so many cynical people and most people my age aren't very interested in kids. However, I try to proudly claim my love for students with special needs and pretty much all kids in general.
If you haven't guessed, or you are exceptionally dim-witted, my blog is going to be about my experiences as a paraeducator. You will learn about the ups, the downs, the funny and the disgusting. One thing is for sure - you will always be entertained. Get ready for adventure!