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My New Theme Song?

13 Aug

This is really awesome and amazing, which was an accidentally discovery.  You would think that I would have my own blog bookmarked, but on this newer machine and not having blogged regularly for a couple of years…well it was just easier to search for it whenever I had the need to look at it. And then I made it private thinking it was hindering my job search and ignored it (and the poll results that said it was a good thing) and forgot about it.

So I’m searching for my own blog and then I happened to stumble upon a song and an album with a name that is oddly and mysteriously titled similar to my blog.  What do you think?

It really hits squarely on a major theme that I have tried to address in so many of my posts as a parent and as teacher.  I think it is beautifully done and when visiting the album’s web page discovered just a series of positive and inspirational tracks.  Kudos to the producers and musicians who put this together!

Ummm…you might want to have some tissues handy watching the whole video.

I’m just sayin’.



12 Aug

Here’s an inspiring message from a TED talk that I watched today– Aimee Mullins talks about disabilities and adversity:

[ doesn’t want to embed..oh well, follow the link for a good 20 minute investment of time]

I thought she did a good job of illustrating the power of language and words.  But there was something there for everyone, because as she points out, adversity is part of everyones life, and a necessary one at that. I also watched her 1998 video, where she talked about her experience in the 1996 Para Olympic games in Atlanta, which is another wonderful story.

The Great Horde

15 Nov

I also, on occasion, teach adult Sunday school. Last weekend I taught part 1 of 2 on 2 Chronicles 20. I had no idea at that time how appropriate this lesson would become in the week ahead. My brave band of paras and I bravely stand against a horde of responsibilities and insensitive bureaucrats and administrators who seem bent on crushing us.

Well….maybe not so brave. For the past week, I have not even wanted to go to sleep, because I knew that as soon as I closed my eyes, I would awake to a new day of being crushed. And so it was, as some of my paras were out for all sorts of reasons and I had substitutes who courageously tried to soldier on with me. But by Friday, my back was positively aching from all the extra lifting.

In 2 Chronicles 20, the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, is threatened by not 1, not 2 but 3 separate armies who have joined together against him. He gathered the people and cried out:

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

That last verse totally resonated with me and where we are. I was told not to send any letters to parents until they are approved. Therefore I’m giving up on that, although those letters do chronicle past and current problems. No, I will call or talk to parents in person. It’s time for some parent involvement. Trouble is, the school doesn’t really like such involvement. But outside of that, I must not fret, worry and sweat it. I was told that nothing would change unless something bad happens. But it’s my job to ensure that nothing does happen. And we will hold the line. Fortunately, Jehoshaphat was not left dangling and neither are we, for a the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel:

15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

And so it turns out that not a shot was fired from Judah in anger. The invading armies turned on each other and wiped themselves out! It took 3 days for the people of Judah to carry the plunder from the enemy camps.

So tomorrow, I’m going to face the horde and trust that God is with us.

Answering the Tag: Bloggers who make me think

1 Mar

Part of the deal with Reflective Teacher’s nomination and  Alsoomse I just found out!) was that I had to name 5 other bloggers that make me think. That’s easy enough. The hardest is limiting it to 5 because there are so many who make me think. So here are my nominations for the Thinking Blogger Awards:

1. Kristina Chew is just an outstanding writer, educator and parent. A body can not help but read her without learning something. A parent asked me awhile back about other parent blogs and if I had to recommend just one this would be the one for autism.

2. Liz from I Speak of Dreams has been invaluable to the development of this place through her own blog. She keeps up on all the latest mostly on Learning Disabilities but also disability news in general. For anyone who is looking for the latest in the world of LD, she’s the one to go to.

3. Nickie: You think you’ve got drama? There is no possibility of NOT being inspired by this blogger’s story. Articulate and well-written. Just go and visit.

4. Autism Diva: This was probably the blog that started changing my view of autism the most. She moved my thinking from the whole “victim” mentality towards being more willing to embrace the “differentness” of autism as well as my own autistic-like issues. It’s not all about suffering.
5. John wills Lloyd who I mostly read at Teach Effectively (although you’ll see other blogs of his in the blogroll). The good professor keeps his finger on the pulse of effective teaching practice in special education. He’ll talk about what’s effective as well as point out the junk that is popular but NOT effective. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic/tactile learning anyone?

It doesn’t matter if these folks nominate 5 other folks or not, because they are still worthy of the Thinking Blogger Award.

But they’re supposed to.

I’m just sayin’.


Teacher absences and Health

1 Nov

GAA is still the dominant influence in my teaching life, but I’m going to take a shar p turn, here.


Every Friday and every Monday, the principal of Magnolia High, Mr. “Fightin’” Joe Clark sends out an email to everyone announcing how many of the staff are out.  Last Friday, about 20% of the staff were absent.  Monday, about 12% of the staff were absent while only 8% of the students were absent.  Our Superintendent mentioned this in a beginning-of-the-year speech he gavem where he said that teachers were missing more days than the students.  It would be interesting to know how wide spread the problem is, and what the cause is.


In my classroom, I rarely go a week without at least one person out for some reason.  As for me, last year I didn’t miss a day and haven’t so far this year.  But if it does happen where I have to, it’s not a big deal.  I just find it more of a bother to be out because it takes time to put things back together after just one day out and the kids like to punish me for not being there upon my return. 


But there is a problem that is lurking in the wings, and it seems to be growing nationwide.  Last Sunday, I happened to catch part of a PBS special on it, and this months Reader’s digest had at least 2 articles on it.  The radio waves are filled with advertisements warning about it an epidemic that is mostly preventable.  And it’s not autism. 


I’m talking about diabetes, specifically Type II Diabetes.  Apparently this is what happened to the little girl I was doing Hospital Homebound for last year, and they didn’t know she had it.  But it is a growing problem in the U.S. and threatens to overtake our healthcare system.  It is also becoming a global problem.  Apparently having all the food we want is killing us.


According to the PBS special, those of Hispanic or African descent have a 1 in 2 chance of getting diabetes at some point.  That is an incredible rate!   And the consequences of carelessly ignoring the issue can be quite dire.  The good news is that it is controllable and perhaps even preventable.  I’m sure there are readers who are more familiar with this that I am, and could expand on the topic much more.


Aside from the ads and publicity, this has been something that has been casting a shadow over my own classroom.  Queen happens to have almost every risk factor there is for this disorder, including a temperament that is in deep denial of the problem.  She already takes blood pressure medication that she does not take regularly as prescribed.  She insists on eating the fattiest, most sugary substances within reach and is relatively inert when it comes to exercise.  Her lack of physical mobility is becoming more of an issue as our students require more physical involvement.


Coach is also being monitored for his blood sugar, his heart and his blood pressure.  He is only about 25, but is overweight at about 290 lbs and about 5’11”.  The good news is that he has dropped almost 50 pounds over the last 18 months, and is getting serious about his diet and exercise.  He seems to have some motivation in his favor, as well as being of European descent which for some reason helps.


Patience is in her early 30’s, is not significantly overweight and eats relatively well.  She’s probably the most fit of the 4 of us..  However, she is of mixed Hispanic and African descent and she says it is easier counting members of her family who *don’t* have diabetes than ones who do.  Both her parents and 5 of the 7 siblings of her parents have it.  She suffers from low blood pressure, so her risk is still pretty moderate.


And then there is me.  I quit smoking months ago and have weighed 220 lbs for the last 10 years at 6’1”.  So I am a bit over weight but at least stable.  My blood pressure and general health have been pretty good and my family’s health has been good with no known risk factors.  I know I’m not getting enough exercise which is a challenge with a bad knee. 


As far as being physical, while we do lots of lifting and positioning and moving, it is not quite as physical of a job as my own ancestors who were all farmers.  We have our own kitchen in our room, so we have access to food all the time.


And parents…egad!  ALL of the parents of my kids are severely obese.  Every. Single. One.  I hadn’t thought about that at all until just now. 


Am I being alarmist?  I don’t know.  I do know that I would rather NOT have diabetes than have to deal with whatever complications occur with it.  I see a lot of over weight educators (even bigger than me) out waddling around.  Could we be smarter about it?  Should we?  Is our healthcare system on the verge of collapse because of this one disease?  These are all sobering questions but I suspect I’m not the only one thinking about the possibility of dealing with these issues.

Links from PBS (although not the special I watched) :

 Frontline on India: A Pound of flesh

American Family: Dealing with diabeties 

 Second Opinion: type II Diabeties