* Rough bird on a stick

You probably noticed, I mean I hope you noticed, that I was MIA from blogging in May (and at other times, sadly). Times were decidedly rough. Right now, I’m recovering from food poisoning so I’m feeling very a wee bit sorry for myself.

Back in May, during that distinctly rough time, I saw that Cee had a marvelous Fun Foto challenge on feathers. (Be sure to check out her fabulous entries!)

At the start of our dolphin adventure a month earlier, before times got severely rough, a grackle serendipitously posed for us as we waited for the boat to set sail. As usual, all the passengers were effortlessly snapping photos while I scrambled to get the lens on my camera. That pleasant grackle waited while I took this photo, no doubt grinning at my efforts. I also managed to smudge the lens with sunblock, so all my photos from this outing have a nasty worm-like blob which I have cropped out which didn’t matter since I was following Cee’s “rule of three,” despite my haste.

When times are not extremely rough, I will catch up on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges. I have plenty of singularly rough photos to use.

* Resilience

Find this photo here

Resilience is a much-admired and much-researched topic. For students with disabilities, resilience is also much-needed. Why do some kiddos and adults have it and others don’t? It has traditionally been viewed as an innate characteristic, but resilience is now regarded as something we can learn. And if it’s something we can learn, then we need to teach it.

I believe that some teachers already support and model resilience for their students. These are teachers who empathize with students, notice challenges, and encourage them to overcome obstacles. Supporting regulation of emotions is one key to developing resilience. Making sure that tasks are carefully sequenced and of value to students births confidence. Being a teacher who openly asks, “What can I learn from this debacle?” models a healthy approach to making mistakes and managing strong, unhappy feelings.

My advice is to read up on resilience this summer. Learn more brain-friendly strategies for supporting struggling students. Become a more resilient person and pass it along!

* They’re back!

The kiddos are here! Another fun-filled summer ahead of us, with as many electronics and wild times as possible!

It’s not all fun and games, though. One of the challenges we face is that Christopher (who is on the autism spectrum) is now using the term “autistic” as both a derogatory and teasing label for his sibs and friends. Last year it was “retard,” along with the ubiquitous “smokin’ hot.” Obviously, he has been taught that “autistic” is not a good thing and/or draws attention. (For him, all attention, whether positive or negative, is pretty much OK.)

Another change: Christopher no longer makes me chase him down for a hug while disguised as a “hug-hating” ninja or ghost! He chases me down for a side arm hug, his eyes glistening with mischief. What a sweetheart!

* Retirement: 3rd time the charm?

For 8 years now, after my first supposed retirement, folks have been asking me why I’m still teaching full time. It didn’t start out that way. I took 3 months to socialize and sleep in late. Then I responded to tutoring requests, started providing homebound instruction for a local district, and eventually filled my days and evenings with delightful teaching and planning. End of retirement #1.

Midway through that retirement, my long-suffering teaching widower wondered if I would ever have time for him. So I shed most of my tutoring caseload and started on retirement #2. That lasted about 3 months and I was back at my full-time pace.

In March of this year, I announced my 3rd retirement to coincide with my teaching widower’s imminent retirement. Will this one last? I have the hat and flowers, the perfect equivalent of a gold watch. We’ll see. I already have students in the wings….

* Father’s Day

Like Mother’s Day, this holiday was long a source of anguish for me. Growing up in an abusive home, my Hallmark greeting would have read, “How much do I hate thee? Let me count the ways!”

Over time and much healing, a lot of it from the hands of my dearest teaching widower, I have come to endure these celebrations and rejoice with others who have had a different path. After today, I have a joyous and unique new memory: my dearest widower winning a smoker at church!

I laughed because we typically never win anything. And we have been trying to decide whether to continue our movie group in the fall. I think this is a sign: Movies and a Smoker. Who would have guessed? The One who loves us and constantly surprises us with many good things. A Father who is worth celebrating every day!