Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Class Project and a Blessing!

I know I don't talk about my work/school much on here. For those who don't know, I teach special education. My first 5 years I taught 5th grade self-contained. I loved it!!! I was then moved (not by choice) to the Junior High. I met some great friends whom I worked with there, and enjoyed seeing some of the kids I had taught when they had been in fifth, but I hated it there. Many reasons, but mostly I just really got into teaching to make a difference. Having kids, especially special ed kids, only 42 minutes a day, you don't really get to know them. I loved teaching my class all day, with all the little times in between "teaching" where you really get to know the kids. It's almost like for some of them you are earning "the right" to teach them. I find so many have negative views of adults and teachers. To get past that and encourage their motivation to WANT to learn and understand WHY it's important, that is when you really start seeing improvements. Last year I was able to move back to my past school, which I LOVE! I now teach more of a life skills class with kids who have more severe learning disabilities. My kiddos are in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. Most cannot tie their shoes, some don't know all the alphabet, most can't read. BUT, the kids I had last year. AMAZING progress!!! They are reading! They are WANTING to learn! They are doing SO GREAT!!! :)

The first quarter of this school year I had a student teacher. My first. And she was great, did an excellent job. Which left me lots of time on my hands staying out of the classroom to give her as much time there as possible. So I was left to find ideas and projects and other fun things to use later in the year. While I was searching, I came across a way to have pen pals. What a lost art!

I thought it would be great for my kids, give them a real purpose in writing and learn about another area/culture/place. I found a school in Ghana, Africa!! I teamed up with another class with a teacher who is just amazing. She is GREAT with technology and is just always going. Has such great ideas. Etc. At Halloween we took the time to share what the holiday was like here, and sent a package to them with a little something for each pen pal, and some bags of candy. We really didn't think much about it, we were just sending a package. As Christmas neared, we had a guest speaker who had been in Ghana for a time over the summer come and share what the country and culture was like and show us pictures. She talked about the kids there not having writing utensils, etc. And we planned a Christmas care package.

Each student (about 30 total) brought in a few dollars and we walked to Big Lots (a block away) to purchase pencils, coloring books, etc for our pals. We boxed it up and took it to the office to be sent off. Well. Hmmmmm... Now we wonder what happened with our Halloween package, because this one (about twice the size) was going to cost over $400 to ship!!!!!!!! What!? We just really didn't think it would be near that! :) Our principal is great and said no problem, he'd help cover it. But the other teacher and I balked and said that it was silly to spend that much on a package which cost less than $100!

So, we were going to give the packages to Toys For Tots and explained to the kids who were great about it. That was the day before our ice day, two days before I left for FL. That night, the other teacher received phone calls from 4 of her student's parents. Saying they would love to help raise the money to send the package. One was a school board member who said she could easily raise it and wanted to help. The teacher contacted DHL who said they'd ship it for $275 and in the time it took for her to call the school board member back, she had already raised OVER that amount!

I just found all this out today. During this time, the teacher was in email contact with the head of the school we write to. In one of his emails, he tried to explain to her the impact of our Halloween package. He said that all school activities ceased and every child in the school received at least one piece of candy and were overjoyed with happiness! Wow! Our Christmas package was supposed to be there the 29th, but the school was closed until today so we are thinking DHL wasn't able to deliver it until now. We CANNOT WAIT to hear about this package! I hope they are able to take a couple pictures to send our way! How amazing!

One of the students in my friend's class said, "Miss S, isn't it amazing that people were able to bless us so that we could bless others!?" That's what it's about.


Wow that is so fun! God is amazing!

What a blessing finding out the kind of people you work with.

Julie said...

This is great!

Rebecca said...

WOW!!!! That is so amazing! I wish we had teachers like you here ;)

Kathy said...

What a fantastic story! I am a single adoptive momma of 5 ... all with special needs. My oldest son is in a "life skills" classroom (he has down syndrome.) He adores his teacher and it brings me so much comfort knowing she loves him when he's not with me. How wonderful that you are teaching your kiddos the joy of giving!

Kathy (www.thebackyardgang.blogspot.com)

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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