I’ve been avoiding talking about school. I’d like to keep the tone of this blog light and avoid any controversial issues or things that are extremely personal. However, I think a certain amount of intimacy is necessary for this blog to be a faithful representation of my life. I am currently in a teaching program pursuing teaching credentials in multiple subjects (aka elementary school) and special education. I could get much more detailed about my program, but the people for whom those details would have the most meaning already know. The following will probably just be a rambling post about how I feel right now, so I apologize if it is not very interesting.
For the past month, I’ve been doing fieldwork observations at a local high school for one of my classes. As my choice in credentials probably indicates, my focus up to this point has been on elementary school. I’ll even admit that when I was placed in a high school setting for this round of observations, I was initially disappointed that my request to be placed in elementary school was not fulfilled.
How wrong I was. High school is absolutely awesome. I made an almost instant connection to the kids in these specialized academic instruction classrooms. Something that is important to know about me is that I get very attached to people very quickly and once someone finds their way into my heart, it is unlikely that they will ever leave (whether they deserve a spot there or not). Anyway, today at 10:30 AM marked the end of my observation hours and since then I have spent all day feeling a huge sense of loss. The phrase “heavy heart” sounds so strange and abstract, but it’s at times like these that I really understand what it means. It really does feel like I am carrying around extra weight in my chest and I’m finding it a little difficult to breathe at times.
I have done a lot of fieldwork hours in several different places in Santa Barbara and San Diego and I am familiar with this feeling. I usually feel a sense of loss when leaving a fieldwork placement, but this time feels so much different. It actually pains me to think about the kids going to school tomorrow and me not being there with them. It saddens me to think about all the kids I didn’t get to see and say goodbye to today. They have made such a huge impact on my life and I’m not sure they even realize it.
The kids recently went to prom and their prom video was just uploaded online. I hadn’t had the chance to watch it until today. It’s an almost 3-hour-long live stream of the event and I doubt I will watch it in its entirety because really, who has time to do that? I have watched about 20 minutes of it though and I can’t even express how great it feels to see how excited and truly happy these kids were that day. They are usually pretty happy when I see them at school, but in this prom video their faces were lit up in a way I had never seen before. It’s kind of unreal how these kid managed to get their smiles even bigger than they normally are.
I know that with time this feeling will fade and I will be ready for my next adventure, but for now I feel like I am in mourning. I can’t help but feel that twinge of sadness when I remember that I won’t be there on Monday to ask them how their weekends were. I won’t be there to play frisbee golf with them during APE. I won’t get to see their eyes light up when I walk into the room as they say, “Good morning, Miss Jackie!” And don’t even get me started on how much I loved the staff there. They are like a family and they were so open and willing to welcome me into their “home”. Yes, my fieldwork observations are over, but I think I just might have to find a way back there sometime.
I have done a lot of soul searching over the past few years trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Something drew me to special education and I took the risk to quit my job in order to pursue it as a career. I had zero experience and no “evidence” to back up my decision and prove that this was an appropriate move for me. I took it on faith that things would work out. Since then, literally every new experience I’ve had has done nothing but reinforce in my mind that I am in the right place and I have made the right decision. Even now as I feel like there is a piece of my life missing, I know this is a sign that I am doing the right thing for myself. I know that after years of wandering aimlessly through life, I’ve found something to be passionate about and work towards. I feel very lucky to be in this position.