This has been my morning as of late: A tall Americano (no room), breakfast from home, my MacBook, and I all tucked away into the small corner table at the Starbucks down the street from work.
It’s been nice leaving the house early, arriving to Starbucks before the rush, and getting homework completed or teaching applications filled out. I am not one to typically fall into a routine, but this is one that I could get used to. It’s nice to have this hour in the early morning to myself, preparing for both the expected and unexpected events of the day that lie ahead of me.
Working with children on the autism spectrum definitely involves unexpected occurrences. For the most part, I know how our day will go: we’ll do language arts, phonics, math. We’ll go to recesses. We’ll sing songs and dance around all silly. A kid will undoubtedly need to use the restroom after we just got back from the potties. Somebody will roll through the dirt on the playground. We will make a noticeable dent in the classroom supply of fruit snacks and fish crackers. These are the things I know and that I take comfort in because they are expected.
It is the unexpected things, however, that make this job one that I love. Will someone use a complete sentence for the first time today? Will the principal pop in for an unannounced visit? Will one of the students leave me in an uncontrollable fit of laughter because he or she is just too darn cute and funny? Will they finally understand the difference between a dime and a penny? Will I get bitten again? These are the things that I live for. When you work with special needs children, you understand how using a complete sentence or finally writing one’s own name can be like the best present you’ve ever received. These things seem so small, but for many of my students, these are HUGE stepping-stones that will lead to even greater things. The job is physically and mentally demanding, but when I see a student progressing, I know that it’s more than worth it.
So what will happen today? I don’t know, but now that I have had my americano, overnight oats (recipe below), and an hour to collect and organize my thoughts, I think I am ready for just about anything.
Oatmeal Cookie Overnight Oats
-adapted from Oh She Glows
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 small scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- 1 tablespoon walnuts (for topping)
- a sprinkling of raw buckwheat groats (for topping)
- Mix the oats, protein powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, and almond milk in a bowl. Stir in the raisins. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight to thicken. (Please note that, without the chia seeds, this will not thicken).
- In the morning, top with walnuts, buckwheat groats, and other desired toppings. I think a drizzle of almond butter would be wonderful!