Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lots to say, but perhaps not today

I've been in a slight funk in the past week or so. It's a normal occurrence, nothing to be terribly alarmed at, just a cyclical thing Jeremy's brain goes through. It's just that this mood has precluded me from putting any serious thoughts down on paper (or on my blog, as the case may be). And now it seems I've ended up with so much to say, it's tough to know where to begin.

For starters, last week I worked at the special education school in the school system I work for. Many schools have special ed classes, but sometimes there are students that can't function in a normal school environment, and that's when they're sent to this place. The teachers there are absolute angels. I spent five days among them, and by the fourth day, I was ready to quit and run out. The students were friendly enough, most of them, but I encountered a little too much stress, not to mention bodily fluids, to soldier on. I made it through, and finished the week with high praises from teachers and students alike, but I have no desire to go back. Too bad I'll head back there in September for another week.

That's not to say it was terrible. The hours were great. I could come in at 10am and leave by 2:30 or so, not to mention being able to wear shorts and a T-shirt in school greatly decreased the sweating that normally occurs. And the kids were truly lovely. They were so happy if you spent any time at all with them. Unlike many of the 15 year-olds I taught who are complete jackasses because they think their friends will respect them more for it. I had lunch with the elementary 3rd-graders. There was one student who loved to just look at me. He would look at me and if I returned the glance, would launch into hysterical laughter. He thought getting to play kickball with me was the greatest thing. Especially because he couldn't walk right and had to wear leg braces and heavy shoes that made him sound about 300 lbs. as he thundered across the floor, chasing a ball.

This experience also rekindled the interest I had in mental problems that left people unable to perform certain functions, especially social ones. The kids were sweet, but they don't always know how to interact with others. But like I said, the teachers were angels. I went to the grocery store to do shopping with high school students, so they could familiarize themselves with money and how to use it. I walked with one kid named "Eight." Literally. It's probably not good to name students, but this is a Japanese name I've never heard before. Anyway, we had to hold hands with our partner students. So I'd hold "Eight's" hand as we walked. Well, it being mid-June with 80% humidity, those clasped palms got a bit sweaty and uncomfortable. So we'd switch hands. Unfortunately, right before that, he'd usually wipe his nose with his free hand and then run to my other side and give me a nice gooey clutch to change hands. Needless to say, I tried to touch as little as possible.

So that gooey experience pretty sums up my time there. I won't mind going back, because I know I have just one more week that I'll do it. I couldn't imagine doing that every day, which makes me respect my mother, a teacher of BLIND mentally handicapped kids, even more.

I'll write some more, but hopefully this weekend.

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