Looking Back…

For some reason tonight I was sorting photos. I had a box of over 1000 or so pics just sitting there, so I decided it was time to cull them.

However in the process I came across a few stories I’d love to tell – memories that either warm my heart or puzzle me or just make me giggle.

So this ‘category’ will last until I have recorded all the images and enjoyed ‘looking back’. This is more for my benefit, but you might find some of the stories amusing or encouraging as you read.

The first story starts when I went back to teaching at Scarborough High School, at the same time as leading a youth ministry at Scarborough Baptist Church.

I was given a bunch of Phys Ed classes, but because I was light on my timetable, to make sure I had enough hours they gave me the ESU class – the ‘special’ kids – and my job was to teach them computers… This was (believe it or not) before I had ever switched on a computer.

We lasted one lesson. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and even though there were only 8 of them it was a nightmare. Attention spans were at an all time low and social skills were on a par.

I was very worried. I had spent most of my teaching and coaching focussing on the elite end of the scale, so to be given the opposite end of the spectrum looked like it was going to be a challenge well beyond me.

I went to see the deputy principal and explained that as I had never used a computer, it was unlikely that I was going to be much chop at teaching it (duh…) She agreed and told me that I could basically do whatever the hell I liked so long as it gave their regular teacher a break and it was legal.

Now you’re talkin…

So what do you with do a small group of intellectually and socially disabled kids for 2 double periods a week?

I don’t remember all of what we did, but I do remember thinking that this was a time to really give these kids a buzz – to do some stuff that would make them feel ‘special’ in a healthy way and to have a heap of fun!

I remember taking them shopping for food so we could do some cooking, heading off roller blading, running their own athletics carnival for them complete with trophies for each of them, watching movies and then there was 10 pin bowling…

The bus in the pic was my own old Nissan E20 van. I could pile them all into this old beast and go anywhere I liked. Ten pin bowling was probably my fondest memory. The little fella third from the right called Rory could hardly lift the ball let alone roll it down the aisle. But he had a go and really enjoyed it. We all had lots of laughs because I was about as bad as them.

What was cool though was that 6 years later Rory was competing in the WA Special olympics in – of all sports – 10 pins bowling! Danelle and I laughed as we remembered this scawny year 8 who couldn’t fnd his way round the school now the WA champion with a score close to 200. The pic below is of the opening ceremony of the WA special olympics where I was invited (as Rory’s ex teacher) to go and ‘open the games’.

Rory was a real special kid.

I remember him coming to class without his sports gear the first few times we did phys ed – he was in my phys ed class as well – and always coming late to our ‘life skills’ class. He just couldn’t remember his timetable and he was scared of everything and everyone. The new semester was terrible for Rory as he was only just getting the hang of where to go after semester1 when all the classes changed!

He began to come to our youth group on a Friday night. Danelle and I picked him up and took him home each night. As we did we got to see some of his life – his drug addict, ex-con father who treated him brutally and his mum who seemed to care, a little. Rory had a terrible speech impediment, a fear of any discipline at all – I reckon he’d been abused badly – but he became a great little friend.

What difference did we make in Rory’s life?

Who knows… As is so often the case though, Rory made a difference in my life as I discovered I could love him and the rest of the ‘dream team’.

The year I spent teaching the ‘special kids’ was definitely one of the best I ever had as a teacher.down to you dvd

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