To continue with my reflections, here are three more highlights.
5. Since I have started teaching, I have been lucky to work with some amazing educators whose focus is special needs kids: Bill Theimann, Linda Bruton, Julie Paolini and a supportive staff and administration. I had just assumed that their approach of compassion, inclusion and treating all students as learners was the norm. When I left SUSD I found that was not the case. However, I was brilliantly lucky to be placed in a room next door to the new SDC teacher, Sheila Monger. Monger, an inclusion specialist, shares my views and passion for creating a seamless education environment where all students learning needs are met. This school year, I am teaching a 4+5 combo and Monger is teaching 2+3+4+5. Having more of an overlap has opened the doors for more integration and inclusion. Together, we are gradually breaking down barriers and opening doors for opportunity for teachers, administration and students look at learning a new way.http://mrsmcconnellsblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/technology-and-inclusive-education.html
6. No year is complete without the McConnells doing some construction project and this year was no different. After years of replacing umbrellas and awnings, I scoured pinterest for ideas for an outdoor room. In May we met with a brilliant young contractor, Brett Stocks, of Haven Homes and he immediately got my vision. Soon a structure emerged which I am pretty sure would survive a 8.0 earthquake. WIth our new outdoor room, we have expanded our living space for most of the year. The room gave a more intimate feel to my parents 80s party and we've enjoyed many meals in our new outdoor dining room. In fact we had New Year's Day brunch outside!
7. After months of inconclusive biopsies, in mid-July I had to have surgery for an atypical and inconclusive tumor on my thyroid. Having never had a serious illness or condition, this was quite new for me. Nothing your read or hear can really ever prepare you for the sensation. For about four weeks I recovered in the comfort of our new outdoor space and I am happy to report that while I am still atypical and often inconclusive, my thyroid, what's left of it, is just fine, thank you.