Friday, March 25, 2011

You Learn to Work Harder When You're a Little "Different"

"When you are weird, you learn to sell your work"  -Temple Grandin 
In my experience as a teacher, especially a special education teacher, I've learned that being "different" is a lot more work. It is relatively easy to be a part of the dominant culture or to maintain the status quo. But be a square peg when all that is available to plug into are round holes, and you start to understand the monumental changes that are necessary in order to "fit."

And it seems that everything is about "fit." Are you the right fit for this job? Are you the right fit for this school? Are you the right fit for this lifestyle? Are you the right fit to even be my friend?

Students with disabilities have to work awfully hard to "fit" into the standards we've set for "typical" learners. This bothers me for two reasons. First, should all square pegs have to find a way to fit into round holes? And second, why aren't there any square holes?

If you want to "fit," then you need to find a way to sell yourself and your work in a way that "fits." It depends on what's most important to you. The other option is to find people and places that "fit" you instead.

There is no right or wrong way here. It's what you can live with.

Temple Grandin talks more about what it takes for autistic students to "fit."

Read more:CSU's Temple Grandin says high expectations can help autistic students succeed - The Denver Post
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