Personal Blog by Rhonda Crowdis Hardisty

Posts tagged ‘Education’

Parenting from the Heart: Slow to Wrath

thCACQKSEYAt the mall last week I had a 6-year-old who could not stand still, could not help but put his hands on everything he walked past, and could not accept correction without becoming increasingly angry. In fact, his two-year-old cousin, who was also a handful, was better behaved. I finally had to take both boys, who are 4 and 6, into the hallway while my daughter and granddaughter finished shopping. When we headed to the car, my daughter informed the boys they were not going to go swimming that night due to their continued behavior. This was the last straw for the 6-year-old and he shut down immediately; refusing to walk to the car and threatening to run away. It was a difficult situation that could have escalated very quickly.

Recently, I have found myself more and more often faced with a child who quickly becomes angry when he does not get his way. My knee jerk reaction is often to snap at him for this behavior, but I know better. So,  instead I work to de-escalate the situation in a more proper way by calmly discussing the problem and working toward an agreeable solution…MOST OF THE TIME!

Having raised three girls, taught primarily girl courses such as Interior Design and Apparel at the high school, and then taught primarily girls in the Life Skills unit, I have undergone quite a lesson in appropriate responses to male children since moving to elementary to teach students on the Autism Spectrum in addition to taking on two boys with ADHD in my home. Both of these diagnoses often include male children who are quick to anger, have difficulty listening to instruction, and speak before they think. This makes it so important as a parent and an educator to be quick to listen, slow to wrath, and slow to speak.
I ended up carrying the 6-year-old to the car, kicking and screaming, strapping him in against his will, and praying for a safe trip home while watching to make sure he did not try to jump out at a light. He continued to complain out of anger saying that he did not love us, that we were mean, and that we should die. All we could do was listen and pray until he finally broke.
About half way home it happened. He began to cry, and we knew from training and experience this was a turning point. This was his release. I reached for his hand. He accepted and held it in his lap as we quietly drove on. I once again told him that I loved him to which he responded positively. As we pulled into the driveway he apologized for his behavior.

James 1:19 http://bible.us/114/JAS1.19.NKJV says “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  As a parent and educator I must be the righteousness of God for my children, and especially for my students, who may have no other avenue of viewing the love and righteousness of  Him, than through me. I have to be constantly reminded to listen before I speak and think before I respond, especially in the volatile situations where I find myself.

God does the same for us, when we as adults find ourselves acting as children throughout various situations in our own lives. How often do we thank Him for being such a gracious and loving parent? How often do we show our children the same grace and love He has shown us?

5 Minutes from the Heart: View

935741_627204340640703_547424500_nLinking up with www.lisajobaker.com this morning for the first time in a while. The topic caught my eye and made me feel like writing. Here goes my addition to her 5 Minute Friday flash mob of writers all talking about the prompt “view”.

Start: 6:25

From the beginning of this school year until now my point of view has made drastic changes. It actually started a few weeks before the first day when I was offered a position on a new campus that was quite a bit different from what I had done for the past three years. I moved from a medically fragile life skills classroom of high school students to an all autism classroom of elementary students. I felt sure there would be some challenges, but I also felt sure that my graduate academic certificate in applied behavior analysis as well as my previous 6 years of teaching experience had prepared me for this challenge. To say that I was wrong is a huge understatement. My intent was to learn and grow, but I had no idea how much learning and growing was ahead of me. Over the past year I have gone from 8 students to 6 and back up to 8. I have gone from one classroom aide to two, back to one plus a different substitute every day. I have gone from wondering what I was thinking to really enjoying my choice to become a teacher of such wonderful little people who learn and grow so quickly. Then on to wondering what the district was thinking and if I would survive the school year. I never imagined that my point of view could change so drastically in the span of 10 months. I am thankful for the experience and know that God’s plan to grow me and mold me has not been completed. God is good and He never puts more on us that what he has designed us to handle. Just when you think you have come to your wit’s end, allow Him to change your point of view and show you just what wonders are in store.

Stop: 6:35 (with a phone call in the mix)

Drafted Heart

draftlistIt’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about this place; this home away from home, where I share what makes me tick, what makes me smile, what makes me cry, what keeps me moving on after the tears. I often stop and take a moment to draft the beginning of a post because for that one moment I want to write and I want to share. The trouble is, that moment is never long enough to complete the thought, to complete the process, to dot the i‘s and cross the t’s. It’s just enough time to start a draft, save it to my phone, or as was the case just over a week ago, accidentally post it because the location of buttons and processes have changed while I’ve been away.

Today I have taken a little more than a moment and cleaned out two e-mail boxes, and started on a third, which is currently full of weekly posts from a blog I follow called “Classroom Freebies”. I get a lot of inspiration for what goes on both educationally and behaviorally in my classroom from other teachers that blog, and this inspired me to write today. If only for a moment…13 draft await, and as the school year comes to a close I have that and so much more to talk about! Can’t wait to finish 22 more days and school and get back on track right here, not drafting my heart, but actually sharing my heart!

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Thankful Heart: Day 27 – The Process

There have been times when I have had a need in my classroom for more staff to provide a better student-teacher ratio for my unique student dynamic. This is never something that will just be given to me because I have asked for it. A need must first be established. This includes drafting an outline showing where my students spend their time during the course of the school day and which staff members are responsible for them at each point of the schedule. Next, this information will be reviewed by administrative staff who will forward it to other administration staff and so on. Then someone will come visit my classroom and assess the need for themselves, making suggestions on how to better use the current staff before changes will be considered. At some point more questions will be asked and if there is funding available, or maybe if I have enough student parents involved in the situation, a requisition will be processed for the additional staff and the position will be posted on the job board for the district. It’s a long process and at times seems to be never-ending; definitely a test of endurance.

I have spent many days and nights crying over the fact that I was not equipped to teach a class just the available staff. I have felt as if I were asked to paint a picture, but  have been restricted from using paint or a brush. I have said many times that I forgot how painful growth can be, but I also find it painful to be stagnant and lacking in opportunities to become a better teacher, a better parent, a better employee, a better Christian, and even just a better person.

I am reminded tonight that just like the school district has a process, God also has one. He does not just give us the things that we ask for without requiring something of us. Something like a relationship with Him, faith in Him, hope in Him, love for His people. God expects us to be faithful and follow His direction; move through the process so to speak. It is during this process that we learn to trust in Him. It is also during the process that we realize He is always with us, even if it does not seem like things are going our way. He has a plan. He is in control.

It’s time to start enjoying the process and asking God what He would have us learn through it. Today I am thankful that He teaches us through His process and in teaching us makes us better equipped for the future.

Thankful Heart: Day 23 – Students

So, I thought I was finished with my Thankful Heart series until I received an e-mail. On the side, I do in-home training and parent training for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Today I received an e-mail from one of my parents. She started by explaining that yesterday started as a difficult day, but at some point her child realized that going to eat at a family members home was not optional. Mom thought as long as no one got hurt, it would turn out to be a decent day, but she did not have high hopes beyond that.

They made it through the usual pleasantries and just before dinner the family began their traditional round of comments on why they were thankful on this Thanksgiving Day. Following a few comments, my student stepped into the room and spoke up; something completely out of character for this child. The words that followed brough joy to Mom’s heart and caused me to cry as a read the e-mail out loud to my mother. It was a simple statement.

“I am thankful. I am thankful for my family, for my teachers, for my brother, and for my cousin.”

Mom was so proud and e-mailed the classroom teacher and me to let us know that we had made the list of things for which this student was truly thankful. Mom continued to say that she is thankful as well because our help brought her child to this point and provided the support necessary to speak out in public for the first time. Mom finished by telling us that in helping her child we have provided her the greatest gift she has ever received.

With everything I have been through this school year and with some dread as I looked toward the long Spring months until June, this was just what I needed today.

This e-mail made my day, even my week. In general education you see changes and improvement in your students on a daily basis, but the same is not true in special education. As much as we do for our students on a moment by moment basis it is a rare month that something like this happens and you see how truly effective you are as a teacher. God is good. I pray that He continues to work through me in the lives of these precious children as well as in the lives of their parents.

Thankful Heart: Day 12 – Parents

I am thankful for my parents who taught me right from wrong. They taught me to stand up for what I believe in and not be swayed by the wind or anything else that might come up against me. They raised me in church and paid for me to attend 8 years of private school so that I would have a strong biblical foundation on which to build my life and a family. I am so thankful for that start.

They raised me in a loving home, even after they divorced they married other people who loved me and taught me right from wrong. to this day my step-parents mean the word to me and I don’t know what I would do without them. My step-mother has taught me about nutrition and has shown me how to love and support extended family as she loves and supports hers. My step-dad and I have become very close, at one point we even ran three miles a day together, and supported each other in our health goals.

They exposed me to various settings and events. They took me to college football games and attended some of my high school games. They took me to exotic places such as Jamaica and Cancun where I could experience a different culture and understand the command to love one another.

They have made me a part of their extended family with family reunions and other events where I have bonded with family many people never get the opportunity to even meet. My cousins and I are close even though we live miles apart. Many of them I only see once or twice a year, but we start up right where we left off each time we meet.

God is so good and has given me such great parents, today I am so thankful for them all.

Thankful Heart: Day 8 – Teachers

I am thankful for teachers who get up every day and give everything they have to our children. They say that “behind every good_____ is a great teacher.” If you think about it, everyone had a teacher at some point that taught them everything they know. They had to learn to write, to type, to spell, to add, subtract, diagram, etc. when they were in elementary school to make it to middle and high school, then eventually to college and so on. Everyone had a teacher somewhere who was instrumental in giving them a love for something they later to choose to call their career.

My daughter had great art teachers who cultivated her ability. I had amazing teachers from Kindergarten on up who made me want to be who they were adn do what they do. I had a high school english teacher who loved my writing and encouraged me to continue to write. My husband had a shop teacher who taught him how to put things together, and before that he had a Dad who was willing to take the time to teach him how to take a car apart and put it back together.

Teachers come in all forms, not all of them certified. Some of them are our parents, and others are our neighbors and mentors. Take the time today to thank someone who taught you something. Teaching is a gift. Not everyone has the patience to teach what they know to the next person. It takes a special kind of person to share their craft, their time and their knowledge with someone else to the extent that you learn from it.

Who is your most memorable teacher and what did they teach you?

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