we're back at school here in the neighborhood. our winter weather has been nice and mild, and the kids are outside playing like there's no tomorrow. it does a heart good to see this...i just love the fresh, rosy look they have in their faces when they come in from play. here in phoenix it doesn't snow, and the coldest it tends to get is into the 40s in the morning. but the kids here don't know any other winter, and they've got their mittens and hats. so funny.
i grew up in a suburb of chicago. winter was fierce there. we often had temperatures below zero with windchill. the year we left (1979) we had the worst blizzards ever...people had to shovel their roofs to avoid them collapsing. we walked to school and played outside with only our eyes showing. we had recess as long as there wasn't an ice storm going on. here, we keep the kids inside when there's a heat advisory and parents line up in the street to pick their kids up if it's "cold". rain in the phoenix area equals a top news story. my squeeze, who grew up in nebraska, and i think all of this is hilarious. i guess that's what perspective will get ya!
so...back to school, and the kiddos are fired up. i've been a special education teacher for a hundred and fifty years (okay, 22 years) and i still get excited when we return to school from breaks. the kids always have so much to tell and share. it's great. this year is particularly great...nobody forgot everything we learned in the first five months of school, so i'm happy!
as i've mentioned, my rosie is in first grade at my school. she is a typically developing child and learner. my perspective is a little warped as i've worked with non-typical learners for soooo long...and the fact that she's reading, writing, and doing math so well just amazes me. to watch the process unfold and develop is so gratifying. and, of course, i thank God every day that she's happy, robust, and doesn't have to struggle with learning. i've watched the pain of my students and their parents for so long, and not having that for rosie is a gift.
i happen to adore my students. their special learning, behavioral, and emotional needs are challenging, but workable. i've comforted many a parent over the years by telling them that their child is perfect and beautiful just as they are. they are not defined by their "disabilities" (how i dislike that word)...their uniqueness is just a part of them like their hair color and height. i am humbled and honored to work with these children every day. they have learning disabilities, autism, mental retardation, physical challenges, language delays, sensory/motor needs, and emotional/behavioral disorders. they are alive, bright, healthy, and learning. they are making gains and growth all the time. they are here and will contribute to their communities and the world. some children won't get the chance to do that. perspective...perspective...