Hard to believe that I'm finishing my 23rd year at Hardwick Elementary School. From land clearing, logging, and land surveying with my family, from high school years at Hazen Union (and now my oldest is about to graduate from there as well), to Lyndon State College, straight to HES. I'm thankful every day that I was given the chance to prove myself straight out of college. The only thing I ever wanted to do was help those who needed it the most. I am a special educator (another way to say jack of all trades, master of none). Every student is unique, every ability and disability, a challenge to keep one learning every minute, every day.
In my other life at home in East Hardwick we raise kids, pigs, chickens and the occasional cow. More for the freezer than the farm, taking care of the animals gives me outdoor time I can't get at work and balance I need to keep working. There are flower and vegetable gardens always in need of care, but that's okay because sitting still is not my thing. There are "big dogs" in the form of under exercised horses, and smaller dogs (picture the book Five Dog Night). In addition to the kids and wildlife, my family has done foster care for local shelters for over seven years, usually for whole litters of puppies.
Back at school, I have had so much fun this year teaching math with all sorts of materials I wish we'd had when I was a kid at Woodbury Elementary. I care deeply about the students I serve and hope that I make a positive difference in their lives. It's often hard to tell in this field, where progress is measured over miles instead of feet, and at this age level, but I sure hope so.
In my job I have learned to administer tube feedings, shape an ice scraper into a tool that lets a palsied arm reach the elevator button, adjust wheelchairs, properly react to seizures, skype meetings on one computer and record notes on another, run meetings of 2 to 20 people (who don't necessarily get along), and so much more! Believe me, these are things that were definitely not covered in college. The technology education alone is huge, from programming communication devices to iPad apps to pens that record the teacher's voice for notes. But it is exciting, ever changing, and hopefully, always for the good of a child. See you at Hardwick Elementary!