My Former Life
I had a great life before kids. Wait, let me rephrase that….my life was different before kids and it was great in a different way. I worked in the field of education in varying capacities and loved it. I love kids, and being creative, and watching young minds blossom.
Right before I had Liam, I worked as a teacher’s aide in a third grade classroom with one student in particular. I was given free reign to be creative and teach him in whatever ways I thought would work. It’s interesting to look back. I now see that “free reign” that I thoroughly enjoyed was actually a huge lack of supervision and training. I never saw his IEP, never knew his diagnosis or understood his challenges, nor was I familiar with his curriculum or goals. I have no idea what the special education teacher said in meetings with the parents because they spent so little time with this student and had limited information from me about what we were working on. This student learned and blossomed, that I can be sure of. I just have no idea if he was actually meeting State and parent approved goals.
One of my favorite teaching jobs was in the field of outdoor education. The natural world offers so many opportunities to stop and say, “Wow” and to think through how things work. I think it’s great that children often get to go on school trips to outdoor residential centres, to really be at one with nature and benefit from everything it has to offer. As part of our job, we were required to complete some sort of project. I guess it was the old Professional Development For Teachers. Obviously this is very different and much more in-depth nowadays. For my development project, I chose….wait for it….re-writing some of the curriculum to make outdoor education wheelchair accessible. SAY WHAT!! Don’t even ask me why. I don’t even recall having kids with mobility issues attend our program. I suppose I wanted to actively invite them and say, “Yes, you can find fossils and watch birds too.” Was inclusion pre-wired into me? This project basically involved changing some of the activities we did so they could happen on the parts of camp that were easy to get to.
Fast forward almost 20 years. Aidan just had his first outdoor education experience. He went to the beach and explored tide pools and all the fabulous creatures that live there. He could participate. He didn’t miss out. Someone was already on top of that issue. His teachers and the outdoor education specialists put forth great effort to make this an exciting and successful experience for EVERYONE! That thrills me to the core. And to make the whole day even more fabulous, he was with his BFF Anthony.