Sunday, October 14, 2007

I got me a sense of purpose...

There are many subjects I like to write about. These are not some of them:

- politics (except maybe in the face of blinding, extraordinary idiocy, in which case I might)
- clothing
- dull things, like geology and wine tasting

But past that, the world is fair game to me. Today I would like to briefly discuss my career.

Though most of the people reading this probably already know how I make my daily bread, I'm a substitute teacher's aide in the local school district. I work in special education classes. It's not the easiest job in the world, but it's hella fun and incredibly enriching, not to mention the pay beats the hell out of Taco Bell. I've learned so much about autism and learning disabilities in general - in the year that I've been working in the district, my preconceptions and ideas about the mentally retarded have changed drastically.

But what I love most about my career is that almost every day, I hear or experience something incredibly hilarious. Not (always) in a malicious way; there's just so much unabashed innocence and curiosity that has no restraint in special education.

A site that always puts a smile on my face is tardblog, which is an archived collection of stories written by a special education teacher. It may sound a little mean-spirited, but there's an FAQ on the site that really reflects how I feel about my job.

"This page should be seen in the same light as surgeons or paramedics making jokes about injured people, or psychiatrists making light of their mentally deranged patients. The people in those fields use humor as a way to relieve the daily stress and aggravation of their very difficult jobs. Paramedics and doctors, especially battlefield surgeons, are renowned for making sick jokes about their patients during their off-time. If they don't release the emotional tension through humor, then it has to come out some other way, hence the saying, 'If I don't laugh I'll have to cry.'"

What really gets me about special education is that 7 times out of 10, the parents just don't give a shit about their kids. They dump them in their classes from day to day; it's like a day care service to them while they do whatever shit they want. They view their children as nothing but an inconvenience. A lot of the time, that is the reason why their child is in special ed in the first place. Really, it breaks my heart.

Hopefully, I'll get the chance to share both the happy and the sad - oftentimes I get a lot of both of them in the work I do. But I wouldn't have it any other way.


Smartie said...

My new favourite blog! WOOOOOT!

*runs off to link to this on my blog*

Shannon Vasquez said...

Whee. I'll read your blog. I DIDNT EVEN KNOW I WAS SIGNED UP FOR THIS BLOG THING UNTIL I CLICKED TO POST A CoMMENT AND IT WAS LIKE POST AS SHANNON wtff omg. Sorry, i'll try to leave more less cap-locky messages in the future. ahem. but yes. i'll read your bloggggggg. journall. whatever you want to call ittt.