Thursday, July 25, 2013

Substitute teaching and special education: sudden deja vu when "on the road"

Today, on a little day road trip, I stopped for dinner in Fredericksburg, VA in an Italian restaurant downtown, and got into a chance conversation with a special education teacher. 

It seems that when I go "on the road", the karma from my months as a substitute teacher keeps coming back, with plenty of deja vu. 
I told him about my experience as a substitute teacher some years back when I got special education assignments despite it not being in my “profile” (see the posting here July 25, 2007).  He said that school systems often do try to get subs to take special education assignments before the subs understand what is involved, and fear that not many would take them.  But he did not want schools to do this with any of his classes.

I showed him, on my iPad, my review (Books blog, July 4) of Kristine Barnett’s book “The Spark” about her autistic son, who blossomed with his gifts and was able to go to college at age 15 and study physics.  There’s also the story of basketball player J-Mac  (March 18, 2008), who appeared on Larry King Live o CNN and seemed fine as a young adult.   These great outcomes are rare.

The moral quandary comes when someone who is “different” and somehow challenged (physically or neurologically) but can excel in his own niche in life quite publicly, understands the sacrifices of others to give him or her the opportunity.

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