Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the blink of an eye

Within the span of a week two of my co-workers have each experienced the unexpected death of a parent. Its a stark reminder of how we can lose someone we love within the blink of an eye. Tell those you love how you feel about them and say those three words "I love you" every chance you get; you never know when their life or yours will end.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To whom it may concern;

To whom it may concern;

I saw you yesterday in your nightshirt, blue robe, and fluffy slippers walking down the street; hair all a mess as if you had just rolled out of bed. Nightshirts, robes, and slippers are not meant to be paraded around in my dear. Next time you want to go for a walk, please put some decent clothes on. The same message applies to all of you girls who began wearing pajama bottoms and slippers to Lincoln Center's Starbucks and Noah's bagels. This type of clothing was intended for a select group of people to see you in not Joe Public.

Total Stranger

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stockton gets a bad rap

This city has been called many things from an All American City, the Port City, and recently dubbed the worst city in America. If you look around, there are some really beautiful things to see in this city along with some really cool people.

Walk or drive along Acacia Street heading east off of Pershing Ave and you will see some of the most beautiful yellow flowers in bloom all along the street. Come to find out, those beautiful flowers are actually weeds; beauty found in a weed.  Have you ever taken a stroll or listened to the music in the park during the summer at Victoria Park? How many of you have visited the Haggin Museum? The museum houses some gorgeous paintings and some great history of the San Joaquin Valley, Stockton, and the foothills. Stroll through the campus of the University of the Pacific with its towering trees and listen to the hymns coming from the Burns Tower.

If it is people you seek to meet, visit Empresso Coffeehouse on the Miracle Mile. Further north, walk around Lincoln Center and drop by Starbucks or Noah's Bagels and I guarantee that you will meet an interesting character or two. I frequent Lincoln Center myself, so I'm included in the "interesting characters" group. You can even take a leisurely stroll by the Delta down at the waterfront. In the summer time there are fountains that kids, including adults, can cool off in. You meet a lot of nice people there too.

See, Stockton isn't so bad if you take a look around. I am a true believer that good things can be found here if you look for them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Special needs"

I use the term "special needs" to describe the children I once taught who were diagnosed with Autism. Each student fit on a different point on the spectrum of Autism. Anyone who knows anything about Autism is aware that these children are very bright, loving, and very complicated. They also have the most incredible desire to learn and be "normal." The students I taught displayed some typical behaviors associated with Autism such as not acknowledging people around them.

At the beginning of the school year, I was faced with seven students who never interacted with each other. More than anything I wanted my students to interact with each other. I had the "experts" tell me what behavior to expect and that there were just some things that I would have to accept about this particular population and that they may never interact with each other regardless of what I did. Being as stubborn and determined as I am, I began my grand plan to get my students to interact with each other special needs or not.

I created center activities that required two or more students to complete each task. My students were not too receptive to the idea of working with another person because the "experts" had deemed that inappropriate for these students. Regardless, I began to encourage my students to play ball together on the playground and other games that required two or more players. I encouraged my aides to ensure that our students were interacting with each other as much as possible.  I was very persistent with them and I am glad to say that my persistence paid off.

By the end of the school year, my students were fighting with each other over toys, they were also reminding each other of the classroom rules, and actually hugging each other when they saw the need to. They began to interact with other students who were not in our classroom when they would see them on the playground or in the lunch room. Some of my students could not speak, but they still managed to make friends with other students outside our classroom. Play translates well with children no matter if they're "special needs" or "normal." Hooray for my students!

Never underestimate the power of the human spirit "special needs" or not. We all have special needs and there is nothing normal about any of us. Of course, this is my humble opinion.

Let's get started

A few days ago, I witnessed a man finish his soda and hamburger while standing on the corner waiting for the bus. He then proceeded to throw his trash on the ground. There was a garbage can within reach of this man, but he chose to litter. Who is going to pick up his trash?

Every time I witness someone litter I remember Hoot the owl who had commercials in the 70's with a tag line, "Give a hoot, don't pollute." Unfortunately, I see someone litter everyday and that is why our streets and highways look the way they do. No need to litter folks; there are trash cans everywhere.

Purpose of my blog

Everyday I observe the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of life. I'm sure you too see things that can cause reactions from laughter to anger. You may witness something that gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. Observations that are noteworthy can be shared here. If you have ever witnessed something that you have wished you could share with everyone you know, I hope you will share it on this blog.