“Rodents of unusual sizes? I don’t think they exist.”

The building that houses my Teaching to Read class.

I go to class in this building once a week.                                        Copyright, Siobhan Stewart 2013.

Sadly, this post will not be any sort of Princess Bride tribute, though the movie deserves every accolade it receives.  Mostly I didn’t want to have another “I’m sorry I never post” blog title.  Umm…but yes, I’m here to acknowledge my extremely inconsistent posting as of late.  And to offer many, many excuses.  In the form of “A Day in the life of a Smith College MED student.”

A Day in the Life of a Smith College M.E.D. student

A note, if you haven’t been following my blog: MED stands for Master of the Education of the Deaf.  As much as I would enjoy being considered a talented, brainiac medical student, I discovered at a fairly young age that my clumsiness and lack of precision created more medical problems than they would ever prevent.  (Case in point: the accidental black eye I gave to my older brother when I was four.  Or seven.  One of those young ages.)

A second note: The following entry will be more detailed about my life than anyone except my mama will want to read.  Skim accordingly.  Skimming is a grad school skill — we just call it scanning to be fancy.

7:30. Alarm rings.  After a few snoozes, I roll out of bed, throw together the lunch that I forget to prepare the night before, and get out the door by 8:05.

8:15. Arrive at the preschool, where I help with last minute needs, and talk to my co-operating teachers.

8:25. Head outside to the bus drop off zone to remove half-asleep three year olds from their booster chairs.  Make sure nobody’s hearing aid/baha (bone anchored hearing aid) has fallen onto a seat.

8:25-11:30. Assist, teach, and interact with preschoolers.  We start with listening checks to make sure they have access to sound.  A listening check involves listening to their device (aid/implant/baha), remembering that their hearing is way different than yours (less distinct), and then saying sounds for them to repeat.  These include the six Ling sounds “ah, oo, ee, sh, s, m” and a few others.

Teaching involves sitting in front of the children at the group area (carpet, mats, etc.) and teaching them a 5-10  minute lesson on sharing or a Fall song, or how we can eat real food, but not fake food (Yuck!).

The children are sent to find “work” which basically means finding something they want to play with for their 5-10 minute attention spans.  (Which become remarkably longer when trucks or dirt is involved).  It also usually means finding something somebody else has already decided to play with, because really, grabbing is very satisfying.

Our interactions generally consist of playing with the children and helping them use their language.  We are trying to teach them that language is empowering, and that instead of pointing/grabbing/making loud noises, using their words will produce a much better effect.  It’s slow going, but it’s incredibly rewarding to see the progress they’re making.  Highlights of the day include things like a child stringing two words together, or another one initiating a conversation.

11:30-2:15. I head upstairs to the storage unit I call my office.  OK, it’s actually an office, but it’s filled with boxes that define the word miscellaneous (and possibly detritus.).  Basically the school used to have more separate office buildings, but they sold those and consolidated into the preschool building (which used to be a boarding school back when you sent your children away if they had a problem).  All of the items from the move that didn’t have a home ended up in what is now my office.  These include boxes and boxes of: video cassettes and video reels of the school going way back; boxes of annual reports that date back to the 1860’s; unsold auction items, an ancient typewriter, a box of old foreign coins, and more.

I spend my time clearing out and organizing this office — which, no joke, I have been approached about by the wife of a hoarding expert.  He’s heard of it and wants to come check it out.  I have lots of fun nerding out over the random discoveries I find, and imagining who was holding the annual reports in the 1860’s and how they felt about living through the civil war, and what they thought about the place of women: and of course, they all have excellent British accents, because my literature from that period is all Austen, and my show is Downton Abbey.

I also get to do stuff for the development office, which includes writing Press Releases, Facebook content, and gathering items for an upcoming fair we’re hosting.

3:30-5:30 (or 1:00-4:00, depending on the day).  Class.  I talked a bit before about what I’m studying, so I won’t go into detail here.  It’s pretty awesome to have teachers who are working professionals and can give us practical advice along with all the theory.

5:45. Home.  And dinner.  (I also babysit three-year-old twins for four to eight hours every week.)

7:00-10:00. Homework, chilling with roommates, skyping with my fellow, shooting videos.

10:00-11:00. My ideal sleep time is 10:30.  I like my 9 hours.  I usually don’t get my nine.


So: pretty busy load. Blogging hasn’t been at the top of my priority list, but I do hope to start up again.