Oh second graders are a handful! Today I subbed for a second grade teacher, and it was a lot of fun but a little crazy. First of all, I walked into the room and it was so visually stimulating--colors, shapes, posters, information EVERYWHERE! It was so bright and colorful, and it made me realize how boring and drab high school classrooms tend to be. No colorful bulletin boards, no fun posters, nothing that keeps you looking around and excited about school. Boring posters, no colors, sterile. It just makes me want my own classroom even more! Hoping I can go shopping with Mom this summer to pick up some things from the teacher store to make my classroom exciting and fun.
So second grade. Wow. The kids are so well trained to come in, put their things away, turn in their homework folders, pick up the morning exercises (math and language arts), do their work, and then read silently until it's time to go over their work. I was completely blown away by this! I mean, of course you have a few students who need redirected once in a while to stay on-task, but for the most part these kids were so good about doing what was expected and stayed focused on their morning routine. These are eight- and nine-year-old's, and yet my fourteen- and fifteen-year-old's can't seem to remember what time to show up to class, let alone what to do once they get there! And staying on-task while working quietly and independently? That's a joke! I was so impressed by these kids. It was actually a lot of fun to work with younger kids for a change, and they were great for me. Lunch was a little crazy, though---sitting with a group of 8 eight-year-old boys was a little more than I could handle lol!
I spent the afternoon acting as an aide for a little first grader who is diagnosed with mild-functioning autism. He was quite a handful, and I can't imagine being an aide every day for 30+ years. It's not that I don't like to work with kids who need the extra assistance that an aide provides, but I just don't have the patience or the heart to be able to do that every day. I have worked as an aide at a few different schools now, and it's always an interesting experience. I wouldn't say it was ever "bad" but it has made me realize that I would burn out very quickly doing it all day every day. I know that I shouldn't look at these students as "different" or feel like I need to give them pitty, but sometimes I see these kids and my heart just breaks for them. I don't know that I could do it every day for 30 to 35 years, and I have so much respect for the people who do.
What I find interesting is that we as adults tend to feel pity, discomfort, and awkwardness around people with extra needs or who are different, and yet this student's classmates accept him and include him like nothing is different or wrong, and without question. They know that he has special needs in the classroom, but that's not how they define him or look at him--they seem him through eyes of acceptance and friendship. These little first graders can look past differences and past his obvious "problems" and see him as a friend and as a normal classmate. It's mind blowing that these young kids, who have not experienced the world's biases and prejudices, can do what some adults who are much more "mature" can not. And maybe it's because these kids haven't encountered true social bias that they can do this. But how sad is it that we as adults are creating an environment where kids are learning to go from accepting to prejudiced instead of the other way around? It breaks my heart...
I want to raise my future children in an environment that realizes people's differences and needs and embraces them instead of judging or avoiding people because of it. I want to believe that my kids will not go from accepting to prejudiced, but will set the example for others no matter how old they are. And most of all, I want to raise my kids in a world that reflects these values. Sadly, I feel like this last one is impossible sometimes... But I refuse to give up on these wishes for my children, and I refuse to let the world's biases and prejudices get in the way of raising respectful, accepting, and inclusive children! Jesus said "let the children come to me" because He loved them--not just the ones who were mentally capable, or behaviorally acceptable, but ALL of the children.
40 more sleeps until I move home. I'm excited to have a summer to relax and prepare for what will be the start of the next chapter of my life (and to not have to worry about rent or groceries or laundry!) but the idea of being away from H for that long is not as exciting. It's not that I can not handle that kind of separation--I mean, I just worked through 4 months without him (okay...maybe that wasn't my best example of surviving without him lol!) but as we work daily on rebuilding this friendship and relationship, the idea that we have to do that through phone conversations only is what I'm not finding to be so happy. Some people have made it very clear that they are not happy about us working things out and getting back together, and I respect their opinions. However, I will not be doubting this choice or allowing someone else's opinion to change mine. After literally months of prayer, I truly believe that God has brought us back together. "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart; commit yourself to Him and He will do this" Psalm 37:4-5. I have literally given up everything to God and chased after Him with a passion I haven't felt in years, and He truly did bless me with my hearts greatest desire--to be with the man I love in a mature, strong relationship. The people who matter most in my life see how happy I am, and how much I believe that God has blessed me with this and will continue to bless our relationship together as we put Him in the center of it, and those are the people who support me in this. Those are the people who God has put in my life to be my support system, and those are the people who I choose to continue to surround myself with. Those are the people who I thank God for daily!
It feels good to trust Him and know that my life is so much better because of what He is doing in it! And it feels amazing to know that the second most important man in my life (sorry, a girl's daddy always comes first!) is just as determined and focused on creating an amazingly strong relationship and future together as I am. Life is good again. So so so good. :)