A World Like Never-Never Land

Thursday, November 29, 2007

take an action

Maybe the time has come for me to take an action...stand up..speak for what I believe in..argue for what I think is right..and what I know is wrong..today I came up with a very strange, yet painful fact: People with special needs are discriminated against. Thats a well-known fact. But it has more to it. They are not being discriminated against by what others would refer to as "normal" people, but by their very own people. By those who are supposedly different but on a different level. Levels do exist in their system. Maybe this should be our first issue that we need to solve instead of working on inclusion, equal rights...etc. I am not speaking generally. This is a very sensitive matter, and it does relate to where I work at right now.

It has been happening the second I moved into my new classroom. It has been happening for every single day. Starting with the materials, classrooms, toilets, food, and the way others perceive US. Our section. We do not have suffiecient materials. We do have ugly classrooms. Our toilets arent working AND not suitable for our students. We are always the last to receive the meals. The forgotten ones. The dead section. The silent students. Poor. Weak. Heart-breaking. All that applies to our section.

The image of our students today has been in my mind all day. They were simply dragged to the stage to 'look' like theyre part of the performance, when other students are actually performing in front of them and being clapped for. Ofcourse they have been rehearsing since ages. Our students were supposed to sit some place where they can not see the stage very well, because wheelchairs take so much space. And that space should be occupied by much more important individuals.

What hurt me the most, and what was so painful for me, was the "wheels of the bus" performance. Our class's favorite song. Ghadeer's favorite song. The song they were promised to perform and sing. They were also dragged for the third time on stage. And were placed at the very back. Okay, well, maybe wheelchairs do take space. But why should Ghadeer be standing behind when other students, who are NOT NOT NOT better than her in anyway, are sitting right in front of her performing and singing out loud. She can walk. She can run. She is WAY SMARTER THAN THEM. She does not have cerebral palsy. She's not part of the section. Thats why she should leave us. Yes I decided to give her up to the deaf section. I dont care if they dont want her, or have no space for her. She belongs there. With other students who are just like her. Students who communicate using sign language. Students who are taught how to read and write. Students who have a high chance of being admitted into a regular school environment, and get a job as they get older. She should be there. Not with me.

I am typing with tears in my eyes. I love her so much that I MUST give her away. I shouldnt be selfish and keep her with me. I'll be so unfair to her. Yes I love her, but I can not teach her. What happened today hit me straight into my heart. I couldnt stand there watching her with my group of students. She is different. And if the stupid center would treat students based on their disability, then she deserves to be part of a more respected section.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I just had to mark this very special extraordinary most shocking incidence...

I was in the classroom..ME..AHMED..& the NANNY...playing around with the balls..and trying out a different form of time-out in order to solve his spitting issues..,Ahmed was very happy..that he actually SOUNDED OUT THE ALPHABETS..yes in English...and really fast !! Not only that, but he sang a song that was played during his Music lesson, and said GHADEER..twice.

We went silent for 10 seconds..i couldn't believe it..WE couldn't believe it..I even asked her if she heard what I think i did..it was such a huge big shock..and it seems that this little boy was not the boy we thought he was..Ahmed is much more than that..

Monday, November 19, 2007


Sometimes I wonder about how would I feel if I lost the ability to move, touch, talk, see, or hear. And most importantly, I wonder about how will I be able to communicate when letters aren't even part of my speech. If it is actually hard to communicate when you have the letters, words, and speech, how about when you have NONE of these?! Getting aggressive is the first sign of not being able to communicate to others. Imagine being part of this scene. You're very thirsty, and the only person who sells water is a person who has absolutely no idea about your language, or the usual universal signs which shows that you actually need water. First of all, I'll try to explain using my very own signs, or ways to communicate. Then, I'll get so frustrated. Finally, I'll end up either killing him or taking a bottle of water by force.

An important aspect of being in the field of special education is to place yourself in your student's shoes. Thats the only way in which u'll be able to understand your student's needs. After Reem's first attack, I went through a hard time trying to let go of that feeling of GUILT. She must've wanted something. Or she should've been in some kind of pain. Those bruises left a mark not only on my body, but in my heart. I woke up every morning thinking of the plan I have for her to assist with her communication skills. Will it work out? What if it didn't? Whats my alternative plan? What could she possibly want to communicate? Would it be something like learning a new language? At the moment, all the books and readings didn't matter anymore. Although I read so much about tantrums, it was different when it was REAL. It's either you stand up and control the situation, or things would get worse and you mark it as a FAILURE for the rest of your life. Yes, I did control the situation. It was my only choice.

I started writing the BIP for my Barbie boy. And i did discover much more to his behavior than what was clear to me in the beginning! I just started today, and the first reason to his behavior is: US! We actually reinforce his behavior! Its amazing how observations reveal so much about a student's behavior. I was also able to see his smart side. He knows whats going around. And he is aware of what other people are talking about. The only thing I missed today was his TANTRUM. I left the classroom for a second. I come back and its a big chaos. I have no idea about what happened, how it happened, and why it happened. Ahmed's tantrum is somehow different than Reem. Its kinda worse. HE BITES. But this time I was ready with 3 assistants holding him. Oh god so much to deal with!!!

I do have 4 students. Each student has a 10 academic issues, 10 emotional issues, and a 100 behavior issues.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My students

My brain has been working so hard since I started school. And I still feel lost and confused about a lot of things going on around. Things that are hard to undesrstand, process, accept, and solve. Its like I make a decision to work on a specific problem in a specific student, but I end up thinking of all problems, in all students! It feels like being in a maze. You think you're kinda near the exit, but you get dissapointed to realize that you need to go through another path.

Starting with my class. And to be more specific, starting with my Ahmed. I went through times whenI really hated him. I mean HATE. I couldnt look at him, work with him, or even smile to him! Maybe I was very dissapointed with myself since I havent find a solution to his behavioral problem yet. Maybe I feel so weak, so useless around him. I see my failure in him. So I decided to avoid him for a couple of weeks until I heard that some teacher shouted at him like he was some kind of a discusting insect. Just because he was sitting innocently in her classroom, for 5 minuetes. GUILT, GUILT, & more GUILT. So the first step was: love him, in order to accept him. I just wanted him to enter my heart, and for me to enter his. I wanted him to know that I am his teacher, and I care. I spent some time with him and was able to see his life story through his eyes. I knew he was being physically abused at home. I mean he blinks so hard when I try to touch him and I directly see fear in his eyes as I come close to put my arms around him. So yes, love was the first step. I played with him, cuddled him (YEAH I DID THAT), and I had to switch off my breathing system just to forget all about the small annoying things in him. He responded so well, like a baby waiting to be held with love. He actually reached a stage where he couldnt let me go. El7imdilla =) Now I can start the intervention process. And I know I can do it. I will.

My Hamda is getting so much better! Now she can move her arms, and she says one name!

Ghadeer is responding so well. She knows I'm her teacher and when I say something she HAS to do it. I love her smartness. Although she cant hear, cant see, nor she can swallow/breath well, yet she still fights back. Such a miracle. I have plans for her and I really hope she'll do more than anyone else expects. I dont just hope, I promise.

Reem is living in real chaos. Moving between mom, dad, sister, aunt, nanny. She's always nervous and feeling anxious. But I know deep inside that she understands very well whats going on around her. Its just that her emotional problems are affecting her, and I wish her 'loving' mother would actually see that!!

My last plan is to develop the center. There are so many ways in which we can get money, and I dont care what I WILL GO THROUGH as long as those poor students get their FULL RIGHT to a receive a high quality education just like any other student. This should be my main goal and nothing should stop me from achieving that. I dont care how long it might take, or how much I'll be going through. I know this process of 'begging' is such a KILLER. But insha'Allah He will be there to ease off my path, as long as I keep the good neyya in my heart.