Monday, May 23, 2016

Huck it all or get a doctorate?

I'm always doing something new for work (the work I do for money that is. I'm always writing different things too but that's not really for money.) In my 14 year career I have taught small groups and whole classes. I have taught someone who has never read a word and I have taught college writing. I have worked in child protection and adult protection. I have taught in a classroom with kids who dissociated and didn't know where they were. I have tutored college writing and taught ESL.

These days I do disabilities services which means I help students with disabilities get accommodations to make their college content accessible. Today I worked on a de-escalation presentation for staff and faculty around how to help avoid escalation as well as help settle someone down, especially students with PTSD.

I have turned off my screen and tried using a screen reader to look at a website with a text to voice software that tells me what I'm scrolling over.

What I like about doing this sort of work is thinking of the world differently. What would airport security be like if you couldn't see? What would lead climbing be like if you could hear someone yell "ROCK"? What would working in the professional world be like if you had dyslexia?

I love reading and writing and learning new things and as much as people want to make that a thing about me, it's not. It's normal to be curious and to enjoy learning new things. One of the coolest parts of working in higher education, especially at a community college level, is finding the way people get curious and reward their curiosity with knowledge. It's amazing to see what people overcome to get to class and to learn.

I met a kid in the lobby today who had broken his eye socket base jumping. He showed me the video of it happening and we talked about our shared love of adrenaline rushes. I don't even know his name. But I know that when he's down for the count, he goes, well, I guess it's time to let my focus be on learning and school while I heal.

I guess it's okay for my focus to move around too. Even if it means less writing. I hate that but I'm looking at beginning a doctoral program and that will be the case for me if I do indeed do it. It will keep me meeting people who take a break from base jumping to study and who use screen readers to learn and who use sign language to learn math. It will keep me in the qualification pool to keep on working in a place where folks meet challenges in a way I really want to keep being a part of. But then, when I sit for too long, there are also moments when I want to huck it all and just write every day. It's hard to imagine jumping off that cliff though but you just never know...