And God Laughs
I told God my plans and He laughed. So now I am living, laughing, and loving according to His Plans.

My Professors Wore Pull Ups (Memory Monday)

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Student teaching is like an audition, a constant job evaluation, organized chaos, and being thrown into the deep end without a life jacket and learning to swim. At least that was my experience. I found out part way through my time in the classroom that my student teaching adviser had placed me in that classroom because the teachers were struggling to maintain any semblance of control and were on the edge of a three year old version of "Lord of the Flies". While I greatly appreciated her faith in me as a student to be able to make a difference and even help the real teacher figure things out, a little warning would have been appreciated. And combat gear. More on that aspect another time.
Little children can sense what I lovingly call "fresh meat", someone new to their environment who may or may not play by the same rules that the other adults in their environment enforce. I was "fresh meat" and every single child in that class smelled it the minute I walked in the door, and within the first three days of student teaching each and every one of them tested me individually to see where my boundaries were and if I actually followed through on consequences. That was like enduring 12 midterm exams that are not graded on a curve, they are pass or fail, while trying to dance a highly orchestrated ballet in tap shoes blind folded. Peabody College may have been looked down on by the Arts and Sciences students, with the phrase "those who can do, those who can't teach" often heard, but I dare them to survive a day in an inclusive preschool classroom.
My favorite test came from a very well mannered little girl with deep brown eyes and a tender heart overflowing with love. However, she still felt the need to see if I was serious or if I could be manipulated. We ate "family style" which meant that we corralled all 12 children at two tables and passed dishes of food (teacher's serving, we do have boundaries for hygiene) and shared a meal. I had finished setting the table with "help" from two other students and helped guide each child through the handwashing process. Jasmine was the only one left who had not washed her hands, and she was intently sitting in front of the computer playing some alphabet game. The following conversation occurred.

Me: "Jasmine, it is time for lunch. Come wash your hands and sit down at the table."
Jasmine: "No, I am on the computer."
Me:"Computer time is over. It is time for lunch. Wash your hands please."
Jasmine: "No, I don't want to."
Me: "Your choice is to wash your hands by yourself, or I can help you. It is lunch time. What is your choice?"
Jasmine: "To play the computer."
Me: [I walk over to the computer and pull the power cord out of the wall, ending all computer games] "Computer time is over. So can you wash your hands by yourself or do you need help?"
Jasmine: [Her eyes grow huge at the fact that I calmly reached behind the computer and actually unplugged it from the wall. She was expecting a back and forth exchange of turning it on and off with the power button.] "Uh, um..."
Me: "Thank you for making the right choice. When you are done washing your hands, please sit down with your friends so we can have lunch.
Jasmine: "Okay."
Me: "Thanks Jazzy! We would have really missed you at our table!!"

I passed the test, and she never challenged me again. Now the number of thoughts firing through my brain during this exchange, which lasted at most 2 minutes (with time for her to make her choices), was astronomical. My poor brain was firing thoughts so rapidly that it began to fire protests back, basically random jolts of "you are in over your head" and "ouch, thinking hurts!". Jasmine was the first child to out and out test me, and so I was nervous - it was a test not just to earn her trust, but a test of much greater importance. If I failed, if I could not enforce a behavior in a three year old, then I was in for a very long, hard learning curve. Passing that test was the first hurdle, and it was the reassurance that I could do this. Thank God I did not have a crystal ball or I may have fled that room and never returned. :)
1 comments:

I was laughing as I read this, and then at the end I found myself nodding my head and saying Yes... keep it up...
I bet that you even kept you tone pleasant and you didn't clench your teeth...
Ah, the lessons you could give to new parents... State the task and stick to the task... hold that line!
Maybe it's time for you to write a book?


Job 8:21

"He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."



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Wild Olive

Wild Olive

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Creative Victory

This is Me

I am a thirty year old enigma who has defied every expectation ever placed upon me and refused every definition created for me. My greatest passion in life is to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs and their families. As a special education teacher I broke all of the unwritten rules to make sure that my kids received the services they needed and had a right to receive. I have never been so proud to be reprimanded before in my life. Now, due to unpredictable twists in life, I am learning first hand what life is like when you rely upon a wheelchair for mobility. I am a medical puzzle with the pieces slowly being identified and put together, and my medical bills alone could fund a small nation. It takes a village to keep me alive. :) However, I am not defined by the genetic misspellings. I am a teacher, a daughter, an aunt, a friend, a dreamer, a reader, an amateur photographer, a writer, an advocate, a star gazer, a world changer. I am stubborn, situationally shy, quick to use humor and wit to make others laugh or cope with a situation, sarcastic, fiercely independent, giving, compassionate (sometimes to a fault), protective of those I love, defiant of arbitrary boundaries, perfectionistic, self conscious, self assured (yes you can be both!), articulate and occasionally dramatic. And that is just what I could fit in two sentences! :)

Who's On First, What's On Second, I Don't Know! (Third Base!!)*

Simple Vocabulary Definitions for those who may not speak fluent medical :)

Undiagnosed Progressive Neurological Disorder- This is the diagnosis that is believed to make everything else fit together. It explains my frequent infections, my muscle weakness and dystonia, my dysautonomia, my cardiac issues, my inability to regulate blood pressure, my dysphagia, my ataxia, my severe fatigue, my extreme nausea, my gastrointestinal dysmotility and IBS like syndrome, my unbelievable migraines, my sensory changes in my arms and legs, my vision issues, my hearing loss (so much for blaming medication), and so much more. Going back to infancy and childhood, this would explain the severe apnea, the significantly delayed motor skills, the reason why I could never keep up with my peers in physical activities, the neurogenic bladder, the malfunctioning thyroid, and my frequent illnesses and vomiting. This is the diagnosis now being used since the DNA testing for Mitochondrial Disease came back odd and I can not afford the expenses of a workup at the Mayo Clinic. We are treating symptomatically.

Pan-Dysautonomia- "Pan" means that it impacts many different systems of my body, "dysautonomia" is a failure of my autonomic nervous system or the part of my brain that does all of the automatic things that do not require conscious thought like telling your heart to beat, regulating your blood pressure, adjusting your body temperature, maintaining balance in space, digesting food, hunger and thirst, etc. It is believed that I have had this from birth based upon my history of symptoms, including severe life threatening apnea as an infant, but the cause remains elusive at this time

Dystonia- abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, including painful spasms, that primarily impacts my feet and lower legs and is now starting to be a problem in my back

Ataxia- difficulty maintaining balance and coordinating/executing movements

Dysphagia- difficulty swallowing due to any number of causes including muscle weakness and poor muscle coordination

Adipsia- the absence of a sense of thirst



Other Medical Issues- Lupus Anticoagulant (autoimmune disease that causes me to tend to form blood clots and has already caused two deep vein blood clots and one mild stroke), Migraines, unknown connective tissue disorder, abnormal gastric motility, allergies, history of v-tach and severe sinus tachycardia, changes to my echocardiagram that include leaking valves and a new murmur, low blood pressure, ataxia, untreated PFO (small hole in my heart that increases the risk of stroke), chronic lymphadema in my left arm, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Narcolepsy/Idiopathic CNS Hypersomnolance (believed to be a result of the dysautonomia and my brain's inability to regulate the sleep/wake cycle), mild hearing loss, malformed optic nerves, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pernicious anemia, vitamin deficiencies


* Title comes from an old Abbot and Costello routine that I chose to memorize in 6th grade and absolutely love.

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