Tag Archives: Drake University Hell

Day 17

What can you celebrate today?

There’s lots to celebrate right now…

Derek and I both have jobs we enjoy, we have insurance, a house to live in, are able to spend time traveling together, we both have good health…

But, specifically speaking, on huge celebration that came in the mail earlier this week was a letter from Iowa Student Loan. There is a federal grant available for people who have student loans before a certain time, within a certain amount of money, have taught as a highly qualified teacher in the areas of math, science or special education and have taught in a low income area for 5 years. I applied for re-imbursement, as this was the end of my fifth year teaching (along with all those other stipulations) and I just got my letter back saying that I was approved!

Woohoo! The government paid $17,500 of my student loans! Which means, they essentially paid for my entire master’s degree! AMAZING!!

Totally something worth celebrating!

… and completely worth sending thank you notes to the folks over at Iowa Student Loan!

kill me.

“Okay! I’m talking and you’re talking… hmm…” says the teacher in the front of the room.
Is it me talking to my elementary school students you wonder?
It’s my college professor in my graduate level $990.00 course.
(Well at least she didn’t “SHHH!” us like the 19-year-old sophomore bitch in the front row did last week.)
“I’m talking and you’re talking…” I’ll take that. I will let you talk. In fact, my clever little self will let you talk all nite long. And when you are anxiously waiting for a response during that awkward silence after you ask a question too hard for the undergraduate students to answer… I’ll still just be sitting quietly in the back row. Not talking while you are talking.
I am a teacher… That will teach you the lesson of telling me not to talk.
So we wait.
She asks a question. It’s painful. The silence is painful… not the question. No one answers the question. The “obnoxious grad students in the back” (as we have been labeled) decide we will let the others do the answering tonite. And so we all wait together.
I can’t help but smirk a little when the general look on the kids around the room is confusion, and I get a little nudge and giggle from my peer sitting next to me.
Maybe I should set this situation up a little better in your mind. Let me tell you about the reasons that we are “talking in class.” WE ARE BORED!!!
Is it right to be back in the back row passing judgment about comments being made?* No, it’s not right. But really, I don’t need to spend two hours talking about the fucking AEA or taking personality tests torn out of some out-of-date Seventeen magazine!
I am not trying to be rude, (there are many things that I am that I shouldn’t be… judgmental, loud, overwhelming, etc. but I don’t intentionally try to be rude), about being in a classroom environment with 19-year-old sophomores but follow me here —
Think back to your 19-year-old mind. What were your experiences? What was your development in terms of your career and work ethic?
Here is the news… we are not on the same page!! There is nothing wrong with that, but please, somebody at the damn college, please acknowledge that we are not in the same place. And therefore, should probably not be in the same class. Start thinking that one through please, Drake University.
(Please know that I do not mean being in a room with undergraduate students is a bad thing. There are aspects that we can all continue to learn from one another. But, when the majority of these students have had no hands on classroom experiences, it makes the learning environment naturally fall into two different playing fields. So, it is not the amount of education that I am talking about when I say “undergraduate,” I am more referring to the amount of experience among the different groups. This is something I can admit a difference of myself in as well. I naturally did not know nearly as much about being the classroom when I was a sophomore at Cornell as I do know. From actually having been in the classroom.)
And while we are on the “undergraduate vs. graduate” thing… I am not sure if this is a Drake thing, or if this happened at Cornell also and I just didn’t realize it (being of a more immature, inexperienced mindset), but this course is filled with lemmings. People, please! It is okay for you to have a different idea than what the professor has and you sure can express it! In fact, that makes the course much more interesting! Honestly, throw me a bone here, dammit.
It’s bad.
I know what I am going to say next might sound lame. But I really like learning. And I do really enjoy being in class to see what I can gain from it. I am not one of those people who just take the class to take it, I really do like to participate in discussions, debate, and hear other people’s experiences and perspectives. (The complete psychology of a teacher will come at a later date!) It is really hard for me to sit in a class and realize that I am not gaining anything from what I am being exposed to.
All of this, and more, is why Wednesday evenings have just become a horrible, daunting task for me each week.

* I hate to go back to the guy who loves the “happy kids with Down’s Syndrome,” but HE KILLS ME! Get out of the fucking profession! You can not relate every special education incident to your high school senior year football experience. And tonite I learned that you most certainly can not relate to a child with disabilities needing help because you needed help pitching on the sophomore high school baseball team! Are you sure that a job at Kum and Go isn’t calling you out?

“Judgy-wudgy was a bear…”

Alright. I’m riled up.
What’s new?
I know… I know…
But bear with me on this one. (or these few…)

So, in class last week our assignment was to respond to this question:
“If you HAD to have a child with a disability, what disability would you choose and why?”
That’s a pretty loaded question…
First of all, isn’t that taboo, politically incorrect, or at the very least just jinxing yourself?
Nope. That’s the question. Come back with your thoughtful answer.

(Now, before you start asking other questions such as, “Is it my first child?” “Am I married?” “Do I have a good job/any money?” Just get those questions out of your mind. You don’t get to ask them… just answer the original question.)

Initially what I thought about while making this decision were two things:
What disability could I have the most effect on?
What disability do I think I could offer the most as a parent for?

Naturally, I thought of a behavior disorder first. What I believe most about behavior disorders is that they can often be somewhat controlled given the most accommodating environment. Not to sound overconfident here, but I do know that I have a high interest in behavior disorders, and I also know that I have made many connections with children suffering from behavior disorders… connections that I feel are pretty beneficial. I think that as a parent I would be able to use some of those success strategies in my own home and possibly enhance the life of a child with a behavior disorder.

And then my mind got the best of me and I kept going… I went on to think about the students that I have worked with in my years of working with disabled children… and I thought about the situations that many of them are in, and in the most drastic of those situations how would I be of any benefit to that child? Basically thinking, (of specific students) and wondering if they were mine, what I would do differently.
(You can go ahead and save the judgment lecture… you know the one, about how I am not a parent… blah, blah. You know the line… “Some people do crafts…”)

Back to thinking like a parent, long story short, I thought about how having a behavior disorder is often times in correlation with having another disability, which also got me thinking about having a child with autism. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I work with a student with pretty severe autism, and she most definitely has a long, hard road ahead of her. But, ultimately do I think I could offer something to a child with autism? Yeah. I know I could. Do I know that it would ultimately benefit my life having a child with autism? Yeah, I am pretty sure of that.

Now, fast forward to class tonite… We have to “share” what disability we chose.

Hold on! What the fuck are you talking about? ADHD? Dyslexia? Seriously? Well, people go on to say, “I was just thinking about what would be least invasive for my child.” Or, “I was just thinking about what I could actually deal with as a parent.”

Alright, I’ll give you thinking about what is least invasive for you child. Call me selfish, I was thinking about what disability I could have an effect on to help my child. But, what you can deal with as a parent? Really? First of all, is ADHD a disability? Hmmm… And what kind of disability can you deal with? Are you here in this class to become a special education teacher? Because that might cause some serious conflicts of what you can “deal with” as well.

And this is what I hear in return, “Well, you aren’t a parent… so obviously you would have a different outlook than us.”
Hmmm… I’ll just leave this one blank and let you guess how I responded to that.

And just when I thought I was going to blow, this is what I hear from the guy who showed up 47 minutes late to class:
I would choose to have a child with Down Syndrome, because you know… they all are just so happy all the time!”
Yeah, and that’s the rant of the next blog… being a graduate student having to sit in class with undergraduate fuckwits who are just looking for an “easy major.”
(Go back to your crafts… I am most certainly judging now!)