I graduated in December of 2012. Not many job opportunities for teaching in the middle of the school year. I interviewed for one in Oklahoma, but it wasn’t going to pay well until I got my Oklahoma certification (which would take who knows how long) and I was broke.
I was offered a job as a one-on-one paraprofessional in Nevada and after meeting my girl I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
It was hard. Every day was hard. Without too many specifics my girl had health issues, and weight issues, and lack of bodily function control. It was hard. But we made it. Every day she came to school we got things accomplished. I did her hair every morning so she would feel good about herself. I made sight word flash cards and we walked and practiced reading. We did math lessons and sorted everything under the sun. She loved typing (and loved tricking me into doing part of her typing class). I got her to start wanting to play in PE with the class, and eventually we got to where she didn’t want me to play next to her. We worked on speaking clearly and enunciation. It was hard, but I loved that semester with my girl. Those few months were eye openers. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I learned so much about the kind of person and teacher I wanted to be and the kind of example I wanted to set for my future students. I loved and still love my girl.
I saw her last year at our alumni basketball game that is held as a fundraiser for Nevada’s Special Olympics team. And she immediately called out to Mi Woads (Miss Rhoads) then gave me a hug and kiss. I think about her a lot and always remember back to those hard days and how even if I was having a bad day or week, my girl was always looking forward to seeing me at school every day. We make a difference even for those kids who aren’t like every one else and need someone fighting for them. My girl is my own champion and I am so proud of her. ❤