Thursday, April 3, 2014

Special People

As long as you all have been reading me, you know by now that I have some seriously mixed feelings about our schools- a lot of rage and a lot of love, a lot of people that irritate the hell out of me and a lot of people I admire, and a lot of those lists overlapping.

Being an autism blogger (meaning spending a freaking lot of my time being caught up in special needs parenting and special education and all of the stories that come with it) I don't really get to see much good. I see the fights, the abuse, the lack of services, the lack of funding... everything that's missing and nothing that's good enough.

I don't hear the stories about the good teachers. The ones who go out of their way to brighten up a child's day in the process of teaching them something. I don't hear about the teachers who love their job and want more than anything to help these children. The ones who actually enjoy what they do and aren't just there to collect a paycheck for something they lost the passion for long ago. It's not the good ones that need the attention, is it? They are already good. You don't fix what isn't broken. But, I do need to hear that. I need some sunshine in my days. I need, not only to know that we're not fighting a losing battle, but to know there is good in this world and educators who care.

It's been a long couple of years, this year has been especially hard, and I'm at a breaking point right now. I need hope. I need promise. I need to know that we parents (some of us, but let's not get started on that right now) are not the only ones fighting. and so I search out educators.

I've been following a blogging superintendent that caught my attention a while back, he's pretty cool- you can find him blogging here and on Twitter here. So, I've been following him (not the same as stalking, following is legal.) and I've seen some pretty great tweets from him with these crazy hashtags like #colchat and stuff. I'm not all that twitter savvy- at all- so I googled it. They're twitter chats. Schools chatting about how to improve their students' learning and sharing ideas, supporting each other and stuff. I've been a lot more active on Twitter lately than I probably should be, but it might be worth it.

In those chats are so many teachers, principals, school administration... every single one of them have something great to offer. Every single one of them are positive and encouraging, and dedicated to their ideals. They have great ideas and wonderful stories to share. They also have a completely different perspective. I've seen comments here and there about supporting the students that have no support, I've read blogs about why teachers burn out in rough schools, and blogs about how the teachers feel about their students. I've read many blogs over the past couple of weeks, the more personal ones are my favorite, the ones where they talk about what education means to them, where they share their thoughts on how things are and what they want.

There for a minute, I even got my sense of humor back. I know Walter has several good teachers in his middle school, I know Thing2's principal is cool, I love Alex's entire staff, and Goofy's teacher is amazing. I know this, but it gets beat down in the fight for services so seeing these educators' passion for what they do is a desperately needed breath of fresh air.

Now that we're back into the fight for services, that got beat back down. Talking to the staff at Alex's sister's meeting was another episode of relationships gone sour or staff gone wild, I don't even know which one that would be. The total lack of professionalism, the dirty looks, the obvious anger, the disrespectful and condescending tone, the flat out rudeness of the staff overshadowed all of these wonderful people I have found and had me thanking God that my children are not in that school district. They stole my sunshine, but only for a minute.

After I raged it out on my own blog, a post came to my phone. Singing in Public, 30 days of autism. She used one of my quotes among many others (that were much better- go look). My own shocked me out of my foul mood-

“ ‘This, too, shall pass.’
It’s a reminder on the hard days that it doesn’t last forever,
and it’s a reminder on the good days that it doesn’t last forever.” 
By the end of the post, I had tears in my eyes. I love this community. Unrelenting optimism and all.

Then another post came to my phone, Curiously Collaborative's I don't believe anymore. I needed this today. I needed to be reminded that it's not all like that. I needed to be reminded that my kids are in good hands. No matter what is going on elsewhere in the world- Walter has several good teachers, Thing2's principal is cool, I love Alex's entire staff, and Goofy's teacher is amazing. There are people who care. There are people who are looking out for my kids' best interest. There are even people who go out of their way to help (Alex's principal). I am not the only one who wants them to succeed. I am not the only one who cares about them. I am not alone in this fight to get my boys the education they need.      ...just the services ;)

and, bonus, if you look right up there, in the previous sentence, I think I even got my sense of humor back. Now, my younger boys are in the basement, passed out in their brothers' beds after early morning tornado sirens. I think I'm going to go watch them sleep for a few minutes. Probably take some pictures so I can remember this moment because it's not going to last forever. For all of you who helped me out without even knowing it.... Thank you.

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