Wednesday, May 2, 2007

special little snowflakes

1) i have the coolest girlfriend in the entire world, and will harp on this fact for all it's worth. how cool, you ask? so cool that after me blathering on and on about how i've seen both spider-man movies at midnight showings, she bought us 2 tickets. man. i love that girl.

2) yes, i teach special ed. and, yes, i will harp on this fact for all it's worth, too. yes, it's hard. but it's also one of the funniest jobs you can have. people often ask if the kids in my classes are... you know... like, retarded or just learning... disabled? and i have to tell them that no, they're not retarded, on the whole they just have processing difficulties and it takes them about a week to learn what other kids can master in like a day. where the synapses in some kids' brains are highways, the synapses in my kids' brains have sections like this

often this manifests itself in something you could describe as a general slowness: it takes them a longer time to respond, you gotta repeat stuff a lot, etc (although every kid, yes, is a special little snowflake, yes, and all have different strangths/weaknesses). so, as their teacher, what i do is try to find alternate routes around their roadblocks, finding a way to get curriculum shoved into their brains. most of them don't really like learning, or thinking, because it's just a lot harder for them than playing video games or just sitting there, doing nothing. i think of it like having to do wind sprints whenever you want to take a nice, leisurely walk. often they don't really have that creative spark, so if you want to do creative writing with them you really have to pump them up, give them a lot of examples to use as templates, and just be generally weird.

2 years ago, i had a student named andrew. he was the strangest little man ever. he was more unique than most kids because he was really creative, but he kind of didn't know it. he would give these bizarre answers to mundane questions, but not because he was trying to be weird so much as those answers were genuinely his opinion. for instance: andrew loved vacuum cleaners. LOVED them. whenever there was a sale at like best buy, andrew would come in to class, all smiles, and march right to my desk and show me the sunday advertisement with the one he wanted. he was the maestro of cleaning, and vacuum cleaners were his string section.

andrew transferred schools for some reason, and i kind of miss him. looking through my desk yesterday, i found an old vocabulary story he wrote. i used to teach them 10 vocab words, and then as a review exercise i'd give them a story topic and have them write a story about that topic using the 10 words, which they'd underline. i have decided to transcribe it here, for you, because it's standardized testing ALL WEEK and i'm bored and you all need to know why my job is rad. without further ado, andrew's story, verbatim, written in class, straight out of his wee head, misspellings his. the boldfaced words are the vocab words.

the day i built a robot

I, Andrew always want to build a robot, humanoid, or robotic to see it like us. I invented the three laws of robotics, A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction allow a human being come to harm. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the first law. A robot must protect its existence, as long as this does not conflict with the first or second law. I hope this is not inferior. I worked with Sony & this day we are going to build Qrio the robot it can walk, talks, runs, dances, plays ball games, surfs the web, recognizes voices & faces, can differentiate between sounds. It's height is 2 ft (61 cm). Some of the equipment was savage. So we bought new ones. This robot is not colossal. that's good the the robot is not unstable. Many years ago we invented a girl robot names Maria. Qrio was trying to woo at her & it was intention. We are the most valor people making robots and robotics. We hope not that a instruder won't come in the lab or we will go to the den. Few days have pass & I went to a rite at church & my teamates scorched some of the extra equipment. What a thing we invented a few days ago.

this writing exercise pales in comparison to his district essay proficiency essay. that one he chose the topic "how i would improve the world," and basically rewrote plato's republic, but with a flying robot police force

and him as general andrew, president of the world. i'm not joking, and neither was he.


Jason said...

No, YOU Sir are a man's man. That's really cool.

Oddly enough, both of my boys have been fascinated with the vacuum cleaner at one point in time. It could be something to do with the fact that it is the first power tool that they become farmiliar with and their little man-genes force them to love it. Irregardless, my one-year-old likes to hug it from time-to-time.

pachoob said...

i won't lie: sometimes andrew picked out some awesome looking vacuum cleaners. when we were kids, vacuums looked like couches. now they're all futuristic and shit. slap some flames on the side and call it awesome.