Life Skills

Life Skills

A new experience

And then today I was asked to sub in the Life Skills room for 30 minutes because the teacher was late. What a totally different educational world it is! The Life Skills room serves children whose impairments or disabilities impede their participation in regular classrooms, as they require a completely different program – to be more exact, development of life skills rather than informational learning. The environment, the challenges faced by the children, and the type of support needed from the teachers made me remember my Early Childhood days – which are not that far away, but seem to have happened years ago.

I ponder and I wonder

As I interacted with children who needed constant reminding of not tossing toys, of asking before yanking something out of someone else’s hand, and of staying in the classroom, I pondered what the goals were for each one of those students. I also wondered how the teachers determine how far they can go, how much they can learn. But, above all, it dawned on me that this is one of my weaknesses: this level of difficulty – the lack of evolution or the extremely slow pace of development – could paralyze me as an educator. As I became involved with one of the children, taking the time to establish a rapport and be extremely attentive to capture any response I might get, I suspected some of those students could not make that type of connection.

Give and take x Give and give

I am thankful for the gifted teachers who find their call to teach such children, and I admire them immensely. My inspiration for teaching day after day, for waking up early, working over hours and dedicating my personal time to planning is fed by children’s response to my effort. I need something back from my students so I can gauge my progress and determine the next course of action. I cannot imagine what it would be like to work this hard not having this response. Maybe these teachers are more altruistic than I am, and they are able to give. Just give.

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