Over the past ten years I have invested countless hours, money and love into photography. From learning how to develop film and how a camera works, to logging locations to shoot at in a journal and driving miles to find a place I swore I saw something at a few years ago, to working to set my work apart from everything else I was seeing in the art community through subject/medium relationships. And, I am still not done learning, exploring and trying to capture my world the way I see it.
Recently the opportunity was awarded to me to have my first showing at Bluebeard Coffee Roasters. I put a collection together of nine great pieces; many symbolizing my love for Tacoma. If you are in the area, please stop in to this great location and view my work.
When I started teaching six years ago, I had little experience teaching students with special needs. I soon met a colleague who spoke of the joys of working with special needs students, including those with autism spectrum disorder. I then began working with students with autism in the general education classroom and experienced success with the aid of a supportive network of teachers.
Last spring I was asked to join our district’s Autism Resource Team. We plan and meet to provide resources to teachers of autistic students. A month ago I was asked to design a presentation on effective strategies for autistic students in the general education classroom.
Tonight I presented to the staff of another elementary school in my district. It felt great to share strategies to a receptive staff and cross another one off of the list.
First, I need to discuss cognitive dissonance. It’s the theory by which I make life decisions and it’s proven successful thus far. Cognitive dissonance is discomfort caused by holding conflicting cognitions simultaneously. Theories of cognitive dissonance propose that people have a motivational drive to reduce the level of dissonance by altering previously held beliefs. This theory is at the backbone of this challenge.
My previously held beliefs about my body and endurance levels were challenged. Riding fixed gear bicycles long distance is not a common feat. My legs were engaged and moving for every mile we traveled. No switching gears, no coasting, no walking my bicycle. 6:30 am Friday, my friend Derek and I left Tacoma. We traveled 90 miles on Friday and stayed in Castle Rock, Washington. Saturday we traveled 20 miles and had to throw in the towel.
We were soaked from head to toe. Wet socks, shoes, bike shorts, underwear, face, hands, jeans. We completely overestimated what a great night’s sleep could do for us. Leaving Castle Rock and traveling to Kelso was difficult. The rain was relentless. We sat under a gas station awning until the owner bought us a cup of coffee and gave us a pep talk. Unsuccessful. We saw beautiful parts of Washington few have experienced. Derek was chased by farm dogs and experienced a fall in Yelm. My genitals have been numb for 48 hours. All in all an awesome experience. However, I haven’t given up yet.
2nd attempt will be made in two months.