I'm a brand new substitute para educator. Each assignment is a different school, a new set of tasks, and an early morning drive! I love it, especially the drive because I'm nervous and doing my best not to get lost. It makes everything I see vivid and new and worthy of charcoal on paper.
There was something very special about last Friday's job. First off, they didn't know the school put in a request for a para sub. They wanted a long term para to work one on one with a child with autism. As I waited for them to figure out what the heck to do with me, I got the chance to observe the sweetest kids ever. Really, I fell in love with them by the time the first bell chimed. The teacher decided not to introduce me to the boy with autism since I was a one-day sub. I shrugged off my disappointment, but then the call came in at lunch time. The teacher (who totally rocked by the way) had a meeting and asked me to watch the boy while she was gone.
So I sat across from him while he tumbled on the couch playing with his Legos. After a few minutes, I recognized his chatter because he was reciting the same lines my son kept reciting last year. "Skylanders! I know this game. Chaos controls the weather!" He looked at me, full on looked at me. I moved to the edge of my seat and played along. He bounced to the movie Frozen and started saying lines. I was having the best time when suddenly he stood right in front of me, threw his arms wide, and sang, "Let it go! Let it go!" My whole body felt like it was flying, that's how wonderful it was! After he sang that song, he moved on to another one. When he got too loud I told him to bring it down and he did. When he took off his socks because he was getting carried away by then, I told him to put them back on. "But I hate wearing socks." It was glorious! In the midst of behavior that typically separates himself from his world, he stopped and communicated so clearly how he felt.
I'm not sure how much I contributed to his world, but he will be a part of mine for as long as my memory holds.
This is where I tell you Think Out Loud is such a cool meme that you should get on it and join. I also like to tell you we're cool people. We are. Come on, hang out with us.