Started my new job and during the summer I’m working as a job coach for special needs young adults. We are working at a local farm’s produce stand. It is hard work, and exceptionally exciting. I’ve spent days sorting Bing and Rainier cherries, recycling dirt, moving watermelons, and generally ensuring that my clients get a safe, effective, and realistic job experience and I’m proud to say it is successful and fun.
I love working with children. Working with special needs children is even better. It is much more challenging and requires a certain disposition. One minute they may be screaming at you or scratching you, but the next you better give them unconditional love and support. I wish I could fully share my amazing kiddos with the world but, as with any student, I have to protect them and their privacy. I’m always careful when I take pictures on my playground and I was thrilled to capture this great image, a reflection in a puddle, wherein one of my students happened to reach into the reflection. A child at play. A time where my students just be. I love to just watch them and see who they are when they are just left alone. Such a revealing time when they pick for themselves. #TheWorldISee
The icons of childhood surround me everyday. It is one of the thrills of working with children. I get to participate in play. I get to be around the unbridled energy of youth. The untapped optimism. The joyfulness of children. Children are the greatest population on the planet and I cannot imagine expending my energy in any other capacity. I come home tired. In pain. And ultimately broke. But I don’t care. I love my job. I love my kiddos. And I adore tending to their needs, making sure they have the care and the attention they need. #TheWorldISee
Each day is a new journey. Out of the fog of this morning I found great adventures. I had triumphs and failures. I achieved huge successes with students and lost ground with others. Such are the journeys when working with children on the Autism Spectrum, or with numerous other special needs.
Regardless of how the previous day went, no matter how tired I was, how much ground was lost, each sunrise is a new beginning. Each day a chance to begin again.
I know this because I know I’m earnest in my care of my students. I am honest in my interactions with them. I admit when I’m wrong. Accept responsibility when I make mistakes, take ownership of my actions. I talk with them, not down to them. These children are people with histories and feelings. They have desires, wants, and needs. They just want to be liked and loved.
I always let them know, regardless your behavior I’m here for you always.
Every new day is a new beginning. For me. For them. #TheWorldISee
There is apparently a convergence of storms in our area providing some much needed relief from the drought and raging wildfires that have plagued my state this summer. While this poorly timed rain happened to coincide with the beginning of school thus ensuring that many of our recesses would be indoor ones we’ve managed to reschedule several to take advantage of the rain reals and I am not going to complain about the weather at all.
During today’s morning recess one of my most intriguing students; a student on the Autism spectrum who doesn’t sit still for a scant moment, has his body in motion all the time, isn’t particularly verbal beyond some scattered phrases or isolated words which he tends to spell, and tends to run from a designated area; saw these geese and loudly…boldly spelled “D…U…C…K…S” before trying to run over to them, way outside the outlined play area.
I merely outran him, placed myself way in front of him and redirected him back to the area and then engaged him about the “ducks.” I totally understand his desire and excitement to run over to these animals flocked so close to us. Just yesterday he ran across the room, grabbed me, dragged me over to the window spelling B-I-R-D to show me these gorgeous crows gathered on the playground outside our window. He may not be talking much, but he is communicating and that is extremely exciting. I love watching my kids in action. I thrill seeing my kiddos interact with the world. I am genuinely excited when I get to learn how to work and communicate with them and become part of their world. Which is why I love my work. #TheWorldISee
The first day of school at my new job back at my old stomping grounds-ish. Excited I’m back in familiar territory and with a district I know I can trust.
I have some great kids. A handful, ones that need tender loving care. Ones that need someone to give a damn about them. Someone to see them, to want to be there despite their behaviors. I want to work with them regardless of how tiring it may be. Already some of my most exciting ones are the ones with the worst behaviors.
And then I go to my other family, surrounded by the zaniness of five fabulous children and I know my life is complete. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t my flesh and blood. It doesn’t matter that I’m not their father. These kids are amazing, always have been and each moment I spend with them only makes me cherish them more. Their mother radiates, she is a brilliant star. They are a reflection of her. This is the pale comparison of their night sky as I leave their house drenched in laughter and love floating on cosmic rays and stardust. #TheWorldISee
As I sit here writing my soul my little runt of a kitty keeps me company. She is always nearby and curled up against me. I have literally changed the way I sleep since I rescued her twelve years ago.
Today was a fabulous day. I quit my horrible job that was such a hostile work environment and filled out all the paperwork for my new job back at the most amazing school district I’ve ever worked in.
Summer is winding down and I’m totally psyched to start work. I love working with special needs children it gives me the chance to actually make a difference every single day.
Today was filled with love and growth and now I sit here penning a letter to my loved one. A great day, a fabulous way to end my day. #TheWorldISee