Friday, February 2, 2007


I had a good day.

It's that simple.

Jenna had a field trip to the planetarium in Flint. It didn't suck. Mostly, field trips suck.

I'm that mom. I go to school every Friday (always have) to help Jenna's teacher. I go to every field trip. I attend the assemblies. I don't like small children, except my own. I do these things because it makes my daughter feel good.

I love my daughter. So, I do these things for her.

You know I like to back-track before I get to the point. It's pretty much inevitable. Back-tracking will appear in italics, so you can skip it if you want.

I spent several years taking a class here and a class there working toward my accounting degree until January of 2004 when I quit work to concentrate on completing my degree. I've been doing the Barnes and Noble thing once a week for a few years now. It's the only place I get any serious work done.

So there I was, at Barnes and Noble, doing my accounting homework. I was getting ready to transfer to a four year college to get my bachelor's. I had taken as many credits as I could transfer. I only had 2 semesters left and I'd have the bachelor's. But I couldn't concentrate, because I didn't like accounting. I liked books. I was surrounded by them. I love langauge and literature.

Then and there, out of nowhere, I started researching my options for becoming a high-school English teacher. It was wierd because it was exactly like an epiphany. I had never in my life thought about becoming a teacher. I was going to be an accountant and that was it.

Now, I'm going to graduate with the bachelor's next spring. It takes 5 years to become a teacher. I work my ass off and will have done it in 3 years.

Why do I think I'll make a good teacher? I am positively lustful about English, literature, learning, and (recently) history. I have something to offer. And I connect with kids at the secondary age very well. I have a genuine enthusiasm for what I'm going to do. I didn't have that with accounting. I was just good at it, so that's what I was going to do.

What does all of this have to do with the planetarium?

Early in the school year, Jenna's class got a new student. He has special needs. Nothing physical. I'm no where near qualified to make assumptions, but if I had to, I'd say he seems to have Asperger's. From the very beginning, on my Friday "helper" day, Jenna's teacher (a long term-sub until December while her real teacher was on maternity leave), I was put with him to work one-on-one.

He's gross. He picks his nose, sucks his thumb, bites his nails, wipes his snot all over his hands and then... he touches me. He constantly needs hugs. He takes my hands and puts them on his face because he needs to be touched. I was put off at first because of the germ issues, and I don't like to be touched.

But, I connected with this kid. He works for me. As soon as I would come in on Friday, he'd be straight to the back table to sit with me. He'd bring his unfinished work and I helped him. Jenna's sub told me I should reconsider my major and go into special ed because I "have a gift." I did not entertain this.

One of my teachers last year said that if I can't get a job, I should take a special ed position to get my foot in the door and transfer as soon as what I want opens up. It sickened me. Children in special ed deserve to have a teacher who cares about their situation genuinely and wants to help them. I'm not saying I couldn't do that, but I don't want to. I want to teach English. It's not fair to the kids that their teacher is just taking the special ed job until something better comes along. It's just not fair.

On the way to the planetarium, Jenna's teacher told me that today the school and this boy's parents were meeting to discuss his IEP and he was going to be pulled into special ed. This is great for him. He's intelligent, but he needs the one on one attention that he can't get in a regular classroom.

He was in my group. Him, my daughter, and one of her friends. He's always in my group because he loves me and he's good for me. In the theater, as we were looking up at the ceiling when the lights went out and the stars came up, he got scared. He leaned over and buried his germy face in my arm almost the entire time.

I started to tear up.

I'm going to miss him. He won't be greeting me at the back table with a hug (a hug that I despise) on Fridays anymore. I don't get to help him with his work anymore. He won't step out in the hall to hold the staples while I pull down the old displays and put up the new.

Then I started to think of what Jenna's sub said back in September. Maybe I do have a gift. Luckily, I have some time to think of this and I'm already in the right program. I don't have to do anything drastic, like change my major. I could teach special ed.

Ah... but English... sweet, sweet English.

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