Fibromyalgia,  Teaching

Light Breaking Through Cracks

This morning was full of twitching, pain, dizziness, and exhaustion. My candle was running low. It couldn’t be burned at any other end.

My head became so heavy that I laid my head on my desk during planning. Just a little sleep…maybe? No? Okay.

I walked into my 3rd-period class and my mood was immediately lifted. I hadn’t been able to come to this class because I had been testing a separate group of students for two days. The co-teacher and interpreter exclaimed how they missed me and the students had been asking for me. It was good to see my students and make sure that they knew they were worthwhile, no matter what grade they received on the big test they had to take today. I felt like I made a difference, my light was shining even through the pain of my fibro, as I provided my students’ accommodations for the test. I explained what questions were asking, calmed their nerves, and provided a sounding board for them to mentally work through questions. They seemed more comfortable now that they had their advocate with them again. When we watched the film paired with this unit, I was able to help point out the sections that answered the questions on the paper to clear up the confusion.

As I came into my 4th-period class, my student and I started our usual banter centering around homework. We were able to discuss an opportunity that he had and worked on writing down his hopes and dreams for the future. I then worked on some Expanded Core Curriculum goals with him. We had a fun time using some cards with questions about how he could take care of his hearing assistive technology equipment. I encouraged him to ask people around the room for answers or use the internet. He chose to interact with his peers through asking these questions. It warmed my heart to see one Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) student teach another DHH student how to clean hearing aids. I love creating community among our DHH students. The discussions we have are so stimulating and show the amazingly advanced language skills these students have.

For example, this morning I spoke with three DHH students about the Bullying vs. Teasing topic again. Our point of discussion was whether bullying can happen between friends. At first, they agreed that this was not possible. When I asked them if the drama was maybe a sort of bullying, they agreed that it could be but that drama usually occurred because of miscommunication.

This is why I love my job. I love the relationships that are formed with students and the encouragement I can give to these students as they navigate the ever difficult and increasingly unsafe environment of high school. I enjoy the bizarre, funny, and heartfelt conversations I have with my co-workers. This is the joy I must remember. I see the light through the cracks of my illness.


    • Elizabeth

      That’s wonderful! What grade(s) did you teach? I would love to hear more about your experience! I am also interested in homeschooling myself. What did you love the most about homeschooling in comparison to your other teaching experiences? What were your biggest challenges?

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