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Numbers and Letters: A Day in the Life of a Special Education Teacher

“Two years.

It’s January 2014, and that statistic echoes around my head as I arrive at work. Two years is the average shelf life of a special-education teacher in Hawaii.

I’ve made it a year and a half at this middle school, but it’s felt a lot longer than that. I’ve worked during every break teaching ESY (Extra School Year) in the FSC (Fully Self-Contained classroom), and that’s to say nothing of the part-time job and full-time grad school schedule I’ve also been juggling.

I turn the engine off and sit inside my car for a few minutes to gather myself. I try to rub the exhaustion off my face, but it feels like I’m only spreading it around, like how a child attempts to clean up spilled juice with a paper towel. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere about feeling like a child when I’m here at work, but I let it go and heave myself out of the car. I try not to look at the gas meter…”

 

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What I’ve Learned About Being Local

“Before I left home last year to move to Korea, my nostalgic flashbacks to my life in Hawaii became particularly acute.

My parents still live close to my elementary school in Aikahi, and I remember how stoked everyone in the neighborhood was when the new playground was built — and how terrified we were when it almost burned down.

I would get out early on Wednesdays and go to Dave’s Ice Cream with my dad and my brother. I remember the liberation I felt when I got my first bus pass. I remember it all: There was the beach park where I got in my first fight, and the fence my friends and I used to hop over in middle school to smoke in secrecy…”

 

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In Defense of Millennial Whining

“You might not know this just by looking at me, but I’m special. So special, in fact, that I can do anything – anything – I set my mind to. Don’t believe me? Ask any of my teachers or coaches from elementary school. They’ll tell you. Better yet, while you’re hanging around my old stomping grounds, check out the motivational posters plastered to the walls. Not only will you discover how special I am, you might just realize that you, too, can do anything you want. So long as you follow your heart and shoot for the stars and never give up, of course…”

 

Read more at The Finite Life

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