Sometimes teaching moves you, and fundamentally changes you on the deepest levels. Every single teacher I know started in education out love for kids and the deep desire to contribute something positive to the world. I have been out of the classroom for nearly two years, but my experiences with Lanie, have definitely changed me. Further, my experiences with the teachers in her school humble and move me to tears.
A few months ago I was asked to meet with a student who uses a Tobii Device. The Tobii allows the user to manipulate a computer or communicate purely through eye gazing. I have seen things like this on TV but never in person. The young lady I was asked to meet has cerebral palsy and the Tobii is her primary way to interact with the world around her.
The Tobii she is using is a loaner, this one does not have Wifi and that can be incredibly frustrating for a teen who needs access to resources to learn, research or just have basic communication. In order to teach her today we had to move to 3 different classes just to find a drop that would give her internet access.
The thing I learned is she is just a teen, who loves Facebook and Youtube (Go figure!). She likes Keith Urban, so I have found a kindred spirit. I also learned today that even though the Tobii is an amazing piece of technology, she would often lose her written work and would have to email it back and forth with her teachers which is cumbersome. This is where I finally feel like I can help, Google Drive and the Chrome browser is going to be a game changer for her. By the time I left she had already shared a document with her teacher.
At one point in the morning her mom asked to see me out side, and earnestly asked me not to drop the ball on her daughter. They have had a lot of disappointments. In that moment, I remembered all the CSE meetings, the tutor who took me on for free because I couldn't read nor learn phonetically. I remembered my mother fighting battle after battle to get me services that didn't really exist yet. I remembered always feeling different, dumb and on the outside of life. I remembered the special ed teachers that never stopped telling me I am worth something, that I am smart, I can do it.
Drop the ball on her? Not a chance.
Mrs. Foley and Mrs. Cubetta never dropped the ball on me.
I am a technology leader, professional developer, teacher, parent and proud owner of an IEP. Let's talk about some fabulous learning experiences.