Saturday, October 15, 2011

What My Job Means To Me

I love my job.

On paper, I am classified as an "Educational Therapist".  Basically, I have some fancy training that says I can work with kids who have "learning differences".  For the sake of imagery, picture me making quote fingers wherever you see the quotation marks. 

In reality, I'm just a woman (with some fancy training) who believes that kids who "learn differently" are no different than any of the rest of us.  We all have gifts, talents, strengths, and things we could improve on.  My students?  Are referred to at school as...mine.  Oh don't worry, their parents are not only completely fine with it, they wouldn't have it any other way:-)  And let me tell you, they are brilliant.  Some can do mental math that others would need a calculator to complete.  Others can draw pictures so vivid you'd think you were looking at a photograph.  I have kids who can whip around on the computer with the speed of a gazelle, and others who could earn full athletic scholarships to college.  Some can write beautiful poems, others can sing like nobody's business.  My job?  Is to remind them of just how awesome they are.  That, and to help them overcome the things that maybe don't come quite so easily. 

To pass by them in the hallway, you'd never imagine the challenges they tackle on a daily basis.  I know a little something about that.  We have a lot in common, my kids and I.  I get them.  I understand that, behind that smile?  Could be a big ball of anxiety.  Behind that gaze?  Could be a heavy traffic jam on the highway of their mind.  Depending on the subject of that lesson, the traffic may be bumper to bumper.  Sure, there are those occasional times in which they don't wish to listen, but the great thing about them is...they're nothing if not honest.  They'll just come right out and tell me;-)  Again, can any of us say we can't identify?  I've been in more than one business meeting over the course of my career where I was present in the room, but somewhere a lot more pleasant in my mind - like the beach!  All I was missing was the tan to show for it!

When I reflect on what I do, the kids whose lives I get to be a small part of, the families of the kids whose lives I get to be a small part is the most humbling thing.  Ever.  What an indescribable feeling it is to be in the midst of working with a student and see that 'lightbulb moment' happen....the moment that something clicks and they've GOT it.  Wide eyed gazes that scream "WHOA!", followed by a shout of, "I GET IT!" or a simple question of, "was it really that easy?" or sometimes, the words don't come.  At all.  They just sit with it for a bit, smiling in amazement:-)  Those are the times I choke back my tears, sit waaay back in my chair, maybe even throw my feet up on my desk (because that makes them laugh), smile, point at them and say, "that just happened...and you are awesome!" 

I've read Psalm 139 many times, but this week, after numerous 'lightbulb moments', I read certain portions of it with a new perspective:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well... All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand."

It hit me.  If all the days of these students are written in His book, since they spend parts of their days at this particular time in their lives with me, then that must mean I am a tiny part of God's plan for them.  WHAT?  Whoa.  My response to this? 

**let's just say that I totally know what it's like to have the silent lightbulb moment**

For as long as the Lord wills, I'll do His work with these amazing kids.  What a blessing it is to serve them and their families.  What a joy it is to witness their victories.  What a gift it all is...every bit of it:-)


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