A Day in the Life


Everyday Meg Montgomery’s class is full of ups and downs. There can be multiple problems but its impossible not to smile in her room. She works with students such as senior Jessica Hartshorn to prepare themselves for after graduation.

“The little things that make them happy probably should make all of us happy,” said teacher Meg Montgomery. In Montgomery’s life skills class, every single one of these kids struggle everyday with tasks the rest of us would find mundane, yet they appreciate the small things in life, which we seem to overlook, and they don’t let the small things bother them, like we do. For example, once when I was walking down the halls to a class with Zack Dixey we walked by two boys who laughed and said, “look at the retard.” I heard it and so did Dixey, and I know he understood what it meant and that they were talking about him, but it ended up bothering me much more than him. We continued on to the class and kept working like normal. Almost all of us have been made fun of from time to time and some of us feel personally assaulted, but not these kids. They come to school everyday to learn basic skills with the hope in mind that someday they will be able to live by themselves. Some, of course, will never be able to, but their goal is to be able to do simple tasks. But, that doesn’t mean that every day is smooth sailing. There can be a ton of problems from emotional breakdowns, to stubbornness, to temper tantrums. This semester, I spend a lot of time with Montgomery and her students just to learn how to help them and what their work entails.

Everyday these students come to school, and just like the rest of us are in good or bad moods. But, they usually express it differently, “ a normal day consists of a lot of drama, with a capital D,” said paraprofessional Cindy Morris. She went on to say, “There can be tears, anger, no compliance and the complete opposite with laughter and appreciation. All in the same day.”

The day can also be filled with problems. Both Montgomery and paraprofessional Colleen Charlson said that “communication (or lack thereof) can be a big problem.” Some students have difficulty conveying how they feel. And, sometimes, in a strange way, the kids who can’t communicate verbally can express their feeling much easier than the ones who can.

Yet even with all of the problems that can potentially occur, a day in Montgomery’s room is a lot of fun and always well worth the work that is put in. The kids make it worth it. They, even if they’ve had a bad day, can smile their huge smiles and make your day ten times better, “It’s like a family in here,” said Montgomery, “We just love these kids, it’s such a friendly environment. The kids work everyday on life skills, math, reading and writing and when they accomplish a task that they’ve been working on for weeks, months, or maybe even years, the feeling is amazing, “I love working with all the kids, each one is different and everyday is a challenge but full of rewards,” said Charlson.

And, that’s what makes working with these kids so worth it. Everyday I work with them they make my day because of how happy they are and how they don’t let the small things bother them. It truly is amazing to help these kids and watch them learn new skills. “It’s so satisfying when you’ve worked weeks, months, years on a skill, you really change someone’s life,” said Morris.