Saturday, March 28, 2009

What I have learned

When I started to write this blog, work and the field of assistive technology or technology was very important to me. A little over a year ago, my family suffered a tragedy. Over the past year, I have been evaluating what legacy I would leave behind. This past year, I have sat on the sidelines and watched. Today, I am going to share what I have learned this year.

Family:

I have learned that family easily has to be your priority. We are so caught up in the things that we are doing that we often forget to pay attention to the people that in our lives. We think that our family will always be there and we will have time to talk, go out or spend time with them, we just have to finish this. However, sometimes we do not have the next minute, hour or day. We need to stop thinking of everything on our To-Do list and spend time with our loves ones. The things on our TO-DO list will be there tomorrow. You have to balance what needs to be done now with what you might be missing with your family. For me, my family is not just my sister, brother, nieces’, nephew or cousins it is the people that have stood by my side and supported me when I could not support myself. They are the individuals that held my hand and pulled me forward. They are the individuals that saw the sadness behind the wall. Family is what we make it.

Work

I have learned that work is what pays the bills. I have learned that work is not what should define who you are. I am a teacher. I am an assistive technology specialist. There are titles that define my job but they do not define me. I do not want people to remember me for my title but for the compassion and love that I have for the individuals that I work with. I treat my students, consumers or clients the way they should be with respect. I do reach out to them when they need me but I have learned that some issues do not have to be dealt with immediately. Before Brittany died, I would feel guilty if I did not answer an email or phone call immediately because someone needed help. Now, although I do answer quickly with 24 hours if it is just a question – immediately if a true emergency (something that can do harm). For the most part, I have learned that my job is 9-5. That after five, it is my family time. I have learned that I do not need to know it all and be the first to tell about it. I need to know what I am talking about. I need to share my experiences. I need to help when no one else has a suggestion. My help and support should be outside the box and not just cookie cutter.

Legacy

Everyone battles with what be remembered when he or she is gone. For me, it is that I was a good hearted person who cared for others. She went out of her way to help others in need. That her family was the most precious gift she was given. That she fought for the rights of the underdog. She spoke her mind and did not care who was listening. I want my legacy to be about my actions and not just the words that I wrote in a report or blog. I am still learning how to improve my legacy.

Fun and Laughter

I have come to terms that we need to have MORE FUN. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves and the things around us. The economy is horrible but having fun does not have to be expensive. The only cost to fun is your time. When Brittany was murdered, I could not even imagine laughing or smiling again. Nevertheless, those things happened and you feel guilty because the person is not here with you to share it with you however, you suddenly get how important laughter and smiling is. Laughter even in the darkest moment makes you realize that things are not as bad as you think. Take the time to have fun and laugh. You want to create those memories with your friends and loved ones. You want to sit around the table and laugh at the stupid things you have done together. These stories and memories are what life is about. So move away from the technology and have some great fun with the people that love you.

Technology

I love technology. But here is the thing… put it down and move away from the keyboard. Your email will be there when you are finished with the important things. Family, friend, and the great outdoors. Technology gives us a view of so much but what is right outside our window. It gives us connections with old and new friends. However, if you spend more time looking at a flat screen than you do a person you are wasting precious time. Make eye contact with the person you love. Really pay attention to the people you pass on the street. OK be careful you do not want to be over friendly or freak people out because of the staring. There are so many great things to do in real time. You want to make connections with real people in real time. Technology changes in a heartbeat but so do the people in our lives. The next best thing is tomorrow’s thing to complain about.

I also learned that technology could be a tool for prognostication. I now mark off times in my day that is email time, FACEBOOK time and web searching. I found that I was spending excessively too much time on things that took me away the important things. So now, I set a timer for 15 minutes for email and FACEBOOK every hour. In that 15 minutes, I get to answer what I can and move on. It sounds crazy but on any given day, I can have 200 or more emails that are from list servs. The beauty of list servs is everyone shares his or her experience and opinion. I do not have to read every single one and I do not feel the need to get in the middle of a disagreement unless I feel strongly about it. This makes me be more accountable to me and what I have to say and share.

This blog

I honestly do not know what this blog will or will not be. There are many things that I want to say but they are not always positive. I get frustrated that the educational system lacking a vision for students in special education or even regular education students. I have focused on students with an IEP. The students that are failing are not the students with IEP’s. The students are falling through the cracks are the students we need to start focusing on. We have students that are leaving our schools who cannot read, write or do simple math but were not disabled enough to have a 504 or IEP.

I am frustrated that we waste money on technology in education and no one wants to admit it. Technology is a tool. It can be a powerful tool but having it and not knowing how to use it is a waste. Do not complain that your school does not have something when you can walk past classrooms and the computers are not being used. Technology is a wonderful tool. However, if you do not use what you have you should not be asking for me.

I honestly do not know what this blog will be or not be. I am taking life one day at a time. There are days that I do not want to do anything. There are days that I am not motivated to leave bed. What I do know is that I am blessed to have individuals that are in my life and I am living a blessed life. If you choose to join me on my journey, I appreciate your patience with me. If you need to move on, I also appreciate the time you have spent with me.

Thank you for your time. Come back and visit if you wish.


2 comments:

Patrick Black said...

Jeanette,

Whatever you decide to do, it will be great. You are the reason I started blogging, and became to connected! You inspired me to create my PLN. I hope you decide to share more of your insights (good or bad) and can't wait to read what you decide.

Michelle_special_ed_teacher said...

Jeanette-
You also got me started on my blog! In fact, you spent a good bit of time answering e-mails when I was trying to get it up and going. I, too, look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
Michelle