Gosh, where to begin.
I met Stace on Twitter earlier this year, and although we haven’t been friends for long, it feels like I’ve known her for many years. She’s so sweet and thoughtful, and she always makes time for people. So when I was asked to write a little something for her website, I immediately agreed — even though it’s taken me a ridiculous amount of time to come up with what you see here.
Anywho, I should probably get on with it…
How about a brief history of me before I begin my tale?
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and spent twenty-six years of my life living in the city. I studied Web Graphic Design in college and have a degree in that field, along with a certification in Administrative and Computer Software. In my spare time, I enjoy drawing and watching movies. I’m a huge nerd and an even bigger foodie. Back in 2015, my husband and I moved to southern Indiana to be closer to our families. Once we were settled in, I began looking for a new job, and that’s when one of my dad’s coworkers suggested I apply to the local school district.
Alright, we’re all caught up, now onto my story.
“Why do you want to work in special education?”
This was the first question I was asked during my interview for a paraprofessional position at a local high school. Thinking on it for a moment, I knew almost immediately what my answer would be. With a smile, I spoke from the heart.
“One of my biggest motivators for wanting to work with children or adults with disabilities is my cousin. She has lived with a hearing impairment her entire life, along with being diagnosed with Asperger’s. We have always been close and without even realizing it, she taught me patience and acceptance.”
Thirty minutes later, I finished my interview feeling confident. A couple of days went by, and I received a call back from the school corporation and was offered the job. So began my journey as a para.
Three years in, and I can truthfully say that I enjoy the work that I do.
I love the people I work with, and I adore my students. As with anything in life, there are good days and then there are the bad, but honestly, the good outweighs the bad in my opinion. I can’t see myself working in any other field.
Thinking back, I see that I’ve always surrounded myself with people who are considered special needs individuals.
In kindergarten, there was a girl who had many surgeries, and who looked and spoke differently than the other students. [bctt tweet=”I was always taught to treat everyone equally and to treat others how I want to be treated. I’ve stuck with that viewpoint my entire life. ~Guest Author & Special Needs Paraprofessional Cat Eyes” via=”no”] Although I was an extremely shy and awkward child, I swallowed my fear and spoke to her, and we became friends. To this day, we communicate with each other via Facebook and try to keep in touch.
Even in high school, I conversed and spent time with classmates who were placed in the life skills classroom. [bctt tweet=”I’ve never been one to judge someone by their appearance. I look at what’s on the inside. ~Guest Author & Special Education Paraprofessional Cat Eyes” via=”no”] There have been times I’ve asked myself, “If I knew then, what I know now”, I might have reconsidered my career path, but I don’t regret my choices. They led me to where I am at this point in time.
One thing I’d like to say about the people living in Indiana, they’ve been very accepting of our kiddos. The gen ed students at the school I work at try their best to interact and include the special education students. Every morning when we get our guys off the bus, a group of students wait in the same area as us, and they wave and talk to any student who walks or runs up to them. I have one student in particular who likes to go up to complete strangers and rub their bellies with his hands. We always apologize and say, “_____, don’t touch people you don’t know,” and “Sorry,” but the teenagers just smile and say, “It’s okay.”
I’m extremely proud and happy with the young adults of this generation.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ve already written a short novel. Until next time.
Happy holidays, everyone!