As you may have read in previous posts, I started teaching at a new school this fall. We didn’t have busses at my old school, so having to do bus duty at my new school is something new for me.
This means that we have certain assignments to help the students get to class after arriving.
DJ is my assignment, and has been since nearly day 1.
He is one of my students, and highly talked about during the first week of work– that week before students came.
DJ was born with cerebral palsy and walks with ankle braces to help keep his legs upright. He is new to my school this year, but not the district, and I talked to both his physical therapist and his previous special education teacher about how to support him.
Push him, Was the theme. He used a walker until last year, when a strong willed paraprofessional began to push him.
He didn’t fall, he flew.
It was evident that they didn’t want to see him regress.
The walker sits in my room, since the beginning of the school year.
I should also mention, that DJ is the type of kid that everyone loves. He’s full of smiles and good natured and all loving.
So.. every morning, he’s my duty. I get to greet him and his wide smile (his bus driver happens to be pretty awesome too<3 ). I grab his backpack with my arthritic hands, and swing it over my shoulders- sometimes with ease and other times in agony (their little backpacks are heavy!). I hold his hand while he walks down the giant bus steps and while we’re on the narrow sidewalk between parking lots.
Then, in the crowded sea of children hallway, I let him go.
The first few days, I worried so much. Would he fall? Roll an ankle? (I learned that the braces prevent that). I nervously held his hand all the way to his classroom.
DJ used to walk on the slow side. As I started to lesson my grip, he sped up. Now, he cruises to class– usually with me huffing and puffing behind with his backpack.
He doesn’t fall often, but it happens. Just yesterday, he took a big spill- he and his two sandwich bags full of chips and his water bottle (he was bringing his snack to my room). This time, though, my heart didn’t stop. And he was fine!
With a month of school under our belt, my principal started switching around some of our assignments.
She didn’t switch mine, but I panicked for a second at the idea.
I started this new job with awful and random leg/knee/mobility problems. You can’t tell me that getting this little boy situated every morning is a coincidence.
DJ inspires me every single day, and I think I need a dose of him every morning. He may have no idea, but he’s one of my greatest teachers ❤