Thoughts from Mentoring.

I got a job!–Last month.

Yeah, I kind of keep forgetting to mention it.

But it’s way cool.

My college has a program for ASD (Austistic Spectrum Disorder) students, where regular students help them along with getting adjusted into school.

Kind of like an assistant who’s paid less and has less hours.

But on the plus side, it’s excellent experience for someone like me who is learning to work with disable people (since technically Deafness is still considered that.)

It turns out this job is suited to my talents almost perfectly for the most part. The only thing I don’t naturally tend to do is askpeople a lot of questions aobut their sceduel and personal lives, even if I want to know, I don’t normally think it’s polite, but as a mentor, I am supposed to do that.

You kind of have to flip a switch in your brain to tell it that you’re in a different mode than before.

My mentee is very high functioning, and I’m pretty sure no one who didn’t know could even tell he was ASD. He speaks normally and remembers things well and makes eye contact fairly easily. Plus can track with a regular conversation with only a slight tenancy to derail onto the same subject.

Actually, at one time in m life, I had a lot of tenancies that could be grouped into this spectrum. The only difference I see is that I was able to learn myself through trial and error, and did not have a label or a class to go to in order to help.

I also got blamed and held responsible for my lack of social grace, whereas these students tend to be excused for simply not getting it.

It makes me wonder, do we choose to blame certain people simply because we think they know better?

There are jerks who will still get mad at people with real disabilities. I have a friend with a brain injury disability. It can be frustrating to talk to her since her memory is effected by it, as well as her ability to understand instructions or questions. She is smart, but processes slowly.

I have been blessed with a very quick mind, not bragging, I know that it’s a gift. I could just as easily have had a different learning style and less ability to process.

Under pressure I tend to kick into a higher gear because I can process quickly and effectively, while some people freeze up.

I feel it’s important to assist people who learn with more difficulty than I do. I guess I never gave it much thought. As a kid, I just naturally explained things to kids, my younger siblings, even my parents. I’m the kind of person who can get people interested in stuff, if I put my mind to it.

As I got to know more of my peers I naturally answered their questions. And I always got a thrill when that change in their tone or expression would come, you know the “I get it” look.

Now that I’ve moved into teaching Sunday school, assisting friends with ASL, and mentoring, (which is kind of like teaching by example and input, more than teaching directly,) I see it more and more.

Even in my Math class, my worst subject (in high school, though I did okay), I’ve ended up working with two older ladies who are much slower at it than I am, and helping them do it. Of course, who you team up with in class is subject to change, but it seems I’m still one of the fastest people.

I end up helping my classmates in virtually every class I’m in. Often people just ask me, like they know by looking at me that I’m a good student.

And being a good student comes naturally. I don’t put that much effort into it. I take notes, do assignments on time, and that’s about it.

All this to say, I know that I’m very lucky to find it so easy. Being home-schooled, I learned to enjoy learning for its own sake.

The Bible actually says, in Daniel 1, of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:

“(17) As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams…(19) Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. (20) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.” 
Also, in another place:
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance…” — Proverbs 1:5
Skill to learn and understand it a gift from God.
I don’t have a lot of skills in the Manuel labor department. I don’t dislike it, but the opportunity to learn those things has rarely presented itself in my life.
Doing an honest day’s work is nothing to avoid, and many people should take pride in what they do.
Teaching itself is something a lot of people in my generation seem to be interested in doing.
Not everyone who has a message should preach it, not everyone who has a lesson should teach it,
and I say that not because those things shouldn’t be shared, but because they are not always meant to be shared in that form.
I’ve had many people deliver a message who were not good at it. Who should have delegated more to people with gifting in that area.
I happen to be good at that, and hop to grow better in it.
I might be better at other things, though. I prefer to write (no shock there).
This job of mine is only temporary, though I hope to repeat it in the future, but the important thing was, I am strengthening my gifts.
By taking Math, I am working on my weaknesses, but I find that even my weakness is strong if I simply treat it as an opportunity to apply what I am good at within that class.
The real secret of studying is taking the approach that works for you and figuring out how to insert that into every subject in some way.
And if I can help other people get there along the way, so much the better. Because I think everyone should be able to learn and improve. I’m not interested in living in a world of wimpy morons who learn nothing and don’t apply themselves, so why would I encourage people to give up by not helping them?
Anyway, that’s all for today, until next time–Natasha.

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