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Day 438 - Students are Awesome!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

One of the students in my class is incredibly intelligent, but obviously has some disabilities. He speaks 3 languages fluently, and knows a few others in varying degrees. I found out today that he had a serious auto accident and suffered severe brain trauma. He has trouble walking, writing, and speaking, but it is obvious that he is brilliant. He can't afford to buy the textbook, so he's been memorizing the PowerPoint slides to help him succeed in the class.

He's having problems in his math class, but he is so determined to pass, I have no doubt that he'll be successful.

I had been warned that he was going to be a challenge in my class. What I didn't expect was that the challenge would be directed at me. He makes me think and forces me to be a better instructor. I had a great chat with him today at around noon, when he was eating lunch in the quad as I was returning to the office from running some errands. He inspires me.

On another note, Steve gave me his blessing tonight that if I wanted to get my Master's degree in English, that he would support me. We desperately need English instructors, and there is a strong likelihood that will only get more critical in the next few years. My big challenge will be finding a program that will fit with my work schedule. An online-only program would be ideal, but there aren't many of those, and what I've found so far have been for-profit universities that don't have the level of accreditation that we usually require from our instructors' degrees. I will keep looking. If any of you have any recommendations, please send them my way.

Is there someone in your life that inspires you in ways that you didn't expect, like my disabled student? There are likely to be people in your life with stories that might inspire you. Use that information to spark you toward a new tomorrow. You never know what you might discover about yourself!

Keep Sparking, dear friends! You inspire me every day!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My daughter inspires me. She suffers from anxiety and she is bipolar. She has fibromyalgia and PCOS and Sjogren's syndrome. She also has her master's in social work, she has earned her license, and she has a job with a local nonprofit helping people get homes and keep them. Many people have told her she should just sit home and collect disability but she keeps pushing herself every day.
    1842 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    Steve you might want to check out Amazon Used Text Books to see if the book he needs is available. They have a free shipping program and also a special funding program for students. I like it is worth checking out. I'm so glad you have connected with this young man, I believe you will be a positive force in each other's lives.

    I will check out a couple of programs re the Masters Degree and let you know how things shake out.

    Throughout my life and as part of my advocacy work, I have been blessed to know many people that lived with mental and/or physical challenges. Memories of one little boy in particular came to mind as I read your blog.

    I had developed a summer program called "Reading Buddies" My proposal was accepted and I received a grant to fund the program. Each year we selected a special topic we would work on one day of the week.

    This boy was very small for his age and both mentally and physically challenged and he never raised his hand. We were learning about alternative power sources.
    The very last question I asked was, does anyone have an idea for a power source we haven't learned about? And then I saw little Aaron's hand go up. I asked him if he had an idea and he said, "Maybe we could develop a power source using electric eels." With all his challenges there was also a mental ability that no one had seen before. Ten years have passed since that first year of Reading Buddies and Aaron is doing very well.


    1843 days ago
    TBIs are rough. I was hit by a car in 2013 and sustained a TBI. I was behind my car after a trail run, and a women hit the gas instead of the brake and her car hit mine. I was thrown several feet and landed on the pavement, and could see my own car rolling towards me. Luckily it stopped but I spent a night in the neurotrauma ICU for a brain bleed. I was very lucky. My sister has a brain tumor and has had 3 surgeries. She inspires me all of the time. She still does everything she can to work in her profession even though physically, she has limitations now. So whenever I think I can't do something, I think about her - which is why I tell myself exercise and running is a get to, not a have to. Thank you for all you do for your students. I used to work at the statewide system office for the CCCs and was continually inspired by how great all of the faculty were to students.
    1843 days ago
    What an inspiration! I am sure you are a blessing to each other!
    I hope you are able to somehow get your masters in English, Steve! I could see you teaching a class part time after retirement! If it's meant to be...
    I am glad Steve is supportive! That has to mean a lot to you, too!
    I am very inspired by many people I read, see, & hear about and their courage to take on life with whatever it hands them! I enjoy reading books about such people and have read anything from survivors of the holocaust to individuals with severe disabilities they have overcome! There are videos on SP that feature people overcoming impossible odds and I rewatch them, as I am in awe of what they have done and the perseverance it took for their success!
    Thanks for this reminder, Steve! I am motivated again to actively seek out this kind of inspiration!
    Much Love & Hugs,
    1843 days ago
    My sister has Spina Bifida. She inspires me. She finished the Boston Marathon, for example. Every time I have a little pity party for myself I think about all she's done in the face of adversity. And I suck it up!

    Thanks for a thought-inspiring blog entry.
    1843 days ago
    I don't blame you for being wary of the for profits and their reputations aren't great. Check out UCF Online. I think they have a Masters in English. Big push for this here, so I expect more programs to be added.
    1843 days ago
  • FITNIK2020
    I have z connection at U Vic on Vancouver Island to see if he can supply some information. My degree Lit, not creative, and to teach here you must hold yet another degree in Education.
    1843 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    You are both blessings to each other Steve, this student of yours...

    You will both grow!
    1843 days ago
  • FITNIK2020
    Dear Steve... Guess what, I hold an MA in English Literature. I'm not sure that degree is available online, but you might look into some of the Canadian . Universities offer programs. I would try UBC in Vancouver, or Simon Fraser also British Columbi
    1843 days ago
    What a bright and determined person your student is, Steve! People like him help us to re-evaluate what we think we can or cannot achieve. At our high school in Dublin we had a fantastic student called Christopher Nolan who could only move his head and his eyes - he became a renowned poet and author and won the UK Whitbread Book of the Year Award at the age of 21! His first book of poems, called Dam-Burst of Dreams, which was published when Christopher was 15, made so many students at our school see how lucky they were and inspired them to improve their grades and get off the couch.
    I do hope you find a suitable course to do your master's - you would be an excellent English teacher!
    1843 days ago
    Your student sounds brilliant and inspiring!
    Accidents and disease can create limitations, difficult ones sometimes, it is great he is not discouraged, but excels in what he is good, and pushes hard in the challenging areas.

    Your English Master's degree plans sounds great, I'm sure you will be a great instructor.
    1843 days ago
    My daughter inspires me. She is a doer, compassionate, loving and a true gift the moment she was born. Jaimey has always understood the concept of "living life" to the fullest completely; when she says she is going to do something, she does it. Her heart is huge!
    1843 days ago
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