Thursday, August 23, 2018

My Prized Possession by Dixie Diamond

(I share this because it was a rough week, ego and pride wise and wanted to share and also to hear from others)

So a dear friend of mine asked me what my prized possession was and I gave the standard, my necklace, and cross because it was my mom's chain and my grandmother's cross. But I realized that something else was more prized than that. It comes from when I taught a sub-separate class. I had always worked in Title I schools, so the gifts and recognition was always a bit sparse especially as a special education teacher.

In the shower, I realized what my prized possession is, it's this wicker basket I have had for about 12 years. We had this parent who was a bit blunt and abrasive and that is putting it mildly. He was an older backwoods kind of person, probably in his 50's-60's with an elementary school child.
I first met this child when I substituted for an after school program and I called on her and she was rocking back and forth and talking to herself and muttering, "Why is she looking at us?" "What does she want with us?" Etc. and I knew something was up.

Fast forward two years, and the decision is made to put her in my class and her father was absolutely resistant to it. He had observed another teacher who let her class run amuck and he did not want that for his daughter who held on to reality by a thin string. He fought and fought the placement to my class. The team assured him that she would do well. It was a rough transition with her wetting herself and never telling anyone, etc. Up until then (she was in 5th grade by now), she had never even taken the state test or anything. She always had a doctor's note to miss school for two week's. By the time she left my class, she was in the regular education English class with very little support and even managed to take the state test.

Her dad wrote an amazing letter praising me and the rest of the team for how well we supported her. I remember getting that basket for Christmas and everyone walking around talking about it. I had gone into the guidance office and saw the basket she had received and was oohing and aaahing over it and she said wait til you see your basket. My basket ended up being twice as big as everyone else's. Fast forward six years later and I get an e-mail inviting me to her graduation party and she was graduating with a regular diploma. Her dad sat at that table in his house and told all the people, the one thing that turned everything around and made all of the difference in the world was when the administration at the school I worked at wanted to put her in a specialized school and I stood up to them and refused to let them place her there and how much of an impression that had made on him.

That basket represents my love, my career, my passion, the love of a parent, teamwork, and everything else I can think of as a parent and a teacher. It represents when I got my voice as an advocate and when I learned what a difference I really make in people's lives and that by my small contribution, I am capable of changing the trajectory of a person's life. It reminds me of why I do what I do. So yeah, that's my prized possession. It means absolutely nothing to anyone else, but it means the world to me.

Former classroom teacher with 20 years of experience working in substantially separate, inclusion, co-teaching, dual certified, General Ed, Special Ed and Gifted and Talented students. Currently Program Director for Educator Preparation Program Mo
derate Disabilities Teacher Candidates. Worked in Bureau of Indian Education, charter and public schools. Passionate about all aspects of building relationships and helping children reach their full potential.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.