Wednesday, March 16, 2011

a new venture

Woke up this morning very sore- my workouts with Paul have seemed tougher lately- he has upped some of the weights he has me lifting and boy oh boy do I feel it! So @ 5:30 I schlepped my old sore bod down and got into the hot tub to loosen up so I can function @ work today....
Did I mention it was pouring down rain....NICE...

What a way to begin the day- a cold hard rain seeping through the deck overhead onto me while I am in the tub....

Today I have to go out of the school building- on site to a work site @ our local special education agency, where one of my students works in a job study placement. It should prove to be interesting. This week is relatively easy and my work load is finally lightening up as I only have 6 more IEP conferences between now and the end of the school year. Some people might say..6?! ugh! but when you begin the school year with 50+ then 6 is nothing! :)

I am really excited about some co teaching lessons I am doing with another special ed. teacher beginning next week.

Many of the students I work with are eventually going to end up in workshops, or supported employment positions- meaning they may not actually be able to get a job within the competitive job market. They may get a nominal salary but not receive "regular" pay- many of these kids function just too low. 

There is a  group however who have the capabilities to secure a "regular" job and get paid minimum wage at a grocery store, fast food restaurant, retail store like Walmart stocking shelves etc.... These kids are the ones who are not of average intelligence, but do not physically appear disabled say for example-as a downs syndrome student may appear. Often these kids are just labeled as being "slow" by society.

It is this group that we are targeting. Sue (the other special ed. teacher) and I are going to begin a unit on job interviewing. We plan on hitting every aspect they will need to know- from what to wear, what to say (and not say!) all the way through to how to follow up after the interview. Most of these kids have NO CLUE what to do or say when applying for a job. Many of them have a difficult time filling out a job application on their own. When asked to tell you a strength they have they look @ you in confusion.

Most of these kids also don't really understand that the economy is really tight- and that jobs that were once perfect for them are being taken by other people who have been laid off & who will take any job to get a paycheck coming in. In our area it is tough all around- but in some ways it is really tough for teenagers ... many of the jobs that were previously predominately filled by teenagers are being taken by adults with families to support. 

This whole unit is new and has never (to our knowledge) been done in our district before. Two years ago (when we were still able to order materials for school) I ordered a series of videos called "First Job Survival Skills- Surviving the First 90 Days". Part of the unit will include the students watching some of these videos as well as them doing "mock" interviews with various staff members as practice. We are planning on video taping their "final interview" and then letting them watch them afterwards to see what they are doing right/or wrong to help them.

I am really excited about this new opportunity and hope the kids will learn from it. Many of them have a good work ethic, but are overlooked by employers because they appear "slow" or "special". Everyone regardless of their mental capabilities should have the right to secure employment and lead productive lives. Hopefully this will help some of them to be able to do just that!   :)


  1. What a wonderful opportunity for them B. It sounds exciting and very valuable.

    Hopefully the economy will improve and they will be able to find jobs - they may be "slow" in the eyes of society but from someone who has worked along side of young adults with disabilities they are some of the hardest, dedicated workers I have ever met. Very inspiring.

    Good luck and enjoy your hot tub ::jealous!:: even if it is raining. :) [One would think with a Poolman as my spouse I would have one of these, y'know? heehee]