Friday, February 5, 2010

Driving Where Life Takes You

So on my way out to give my talk today, I had to stop and pay off a bill that was delinquent (the usual story about hubby and I thinking the other paid it). I needed to make a slight deviation from my route, but no matter, I had a way of getting back on it from my errand.

I thought I did, anyway. I was well through and past the intersection I should have turned before it occurred to me that I was heading to a different destination.

No matter. I made the next right and figured that would eventually take me where I needed to go.

And I couldn't have planned a more serendipitous ride. I had no idea there was still this much open space in Eastern Montgomery County. I enjoyed the relief from the usual house-farm/strip mall helter skelter development that marks much of suburbia. And the quiet landscape allowed me to focus on the talk I was to give about parenting, advocacy and my own story.

I never plan my talks so much as sketch out an outline. Usually, the feeling of the room tells me what stories I need to tell. And I had plenty to share.

As I stood in front of the class of girls (all born well after I graduated high school and probably even college), it occurred to me that I was exactly where I needed to be at this particular moment of my life.

I liked the teacher. She challenged me and some of the decisions I made, and a couple of the more adventurous students asked whether I would recommend my methods and considerations to other parents.

My last slide answered that question: One size does NOT fit all. Individualized Education Plans are JUST THAT.

And I said that if you had 15 or 20 different parents up here, they would have 15 or 20 different stories. Our journeys are as unique and as individual as our kids.

One thing I would add here, and this is something I have meditated on at great length. It's damned hard to be a teacher today. Many parents expect teachers to raise their kids for them. I'm not making a judgment, just an observation. And that was the thesis that launched my talk; it is more difficult to teach now than it was 30 years ago, because much, much more is required of you.

And expected of you. Whether fair or not, I know it's true.

I have been phenomenally lucky in that Nic has had such dedicated teachers who believe in him. That's all I want for any kid. Some one who is invested in his or her success. In his or her future.

So to all the teachers out there, I salute you. And thank you.

1 comment:

Virginia (Jenny) said...

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