"Love bravely, live bravely, be courageous, there's really nothing to lose. There's no wrong you can't make right again, so be kinder to yourself, you know, have fun, take chances. There's no bounds."- Jewel
I have some worry as I start a new school year, a new job, a new job description,face new children with new challenges I have not faced before or for at least 20 years. I have many choices-I can run, I can hide, or I can face the challenges and embrace them. Children on paper are only statistics, numbers,data. It is my job to turn these numbers and data points into living, breathing children's successes and milestones. I need to come out of my comfort zone and into theirs.
The staff at my new school is past amazing. They are so forward in their thinking, so full of energy and so welcoming. That is more than half the battle. The Deaf/HH team I am with is very much a team mindset, helping, sharing and giving. I hope to learn tons from them,and also to teach them from my past experiences. I can use what they know worked with these students before and also add my ideas.
What dawned on me today was a memory of a job far more nervewracking than this. I was hired in Nebraska 20 years ago for a 4th grade self contained deaf/hh class. I knew they would be functioning a little lower,because they were not mainstreamed. However,r I was shocked to see them roll in to my room in wheelchairs or have clear (unlabeled)autistic behaviors. After the first day of crying at home, I went back,created amazing, fun and silly lessons. I taught them to cook, sing and dance. It was one of the most fabulous years of my career.
I have to go at it this year the same way. There are not alot of details of "how to's". Instead of flipping out, I need to create my own "how to's" and be thankful. I am ready to try, make mistakes, fix them, and have fun. Each day there will be ups and downs,but I know that in the end, passion to teach deaf/hh children is inside of me, my love of creativity, music, art and all things reading is there, and that I will embrace these children and do what I need to do to give them the year they deserve.
If you have any creative preschool level arts/crafts/music ideas, please send them my way. Always looking for new ideas-the more hands on/interactive,the better!
Happy New School Year to you and yours!
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.