dog of the day…
Yesterday I took advantage of an opportunity to volunteer at my son’s elementary school, through a program called Watch D.O.G.S. Probably the one and only day in my life where I took no exception in being referred to as the “dog of the day”, it was actually a great joy. The D.O.G.S. program is designed to involve more fathers in their kid’s formative years, as well as to provide an extra set of eyes and ears around the school campus. The morning instructions they gave me were fairly simple: roam the halls, poke your head in any classroom you like, keep your eyes and ears open for anything that sounds like trouble (fighting, bullying, etc), and check in with the office staff once an hour. Many teacher’s welcomed me into their classrooms and offered to have me participate in their current activity. There was a first grade science project, a second grade rodeo collage (my son’s class), and a bunch of third graders planning to cook their parent’s a feast at the end of the school year. Those activities, along with the becoming the lunchroom referee, kept me on my toes. The experience was fantastic, and the wisdom behind the idea of asking every father to “donate” one day per school year is really phenomenal, on many levels.
As my good friend Jessica Zwilling COVT wrote this week (tip of the hat to Jessica), when you’re deeply committed to Vision Therapy, as most of us are, sometimes it’s hard to turn off. Like Jessica, I suffer from a similar affliction.
A piece of my day not mentioned yet was my experience in the fourth grade class. They were learning how to calculate interest in their bank accounts and attempting to understand the amount of yearly savings required to save one million dollars before 50 years of age. The kids were split into groups of four, and every group had a calculator, a handful of Monopoly money, and a tally sheet – their teacher asked me to assist the group having the most trouble. In my group was a young lady with an obvious exotropia, a boy squinting to read, another boy seeming to cover one eye in the customary but modified, “thinkers pose”(hand over his eye rather than his chin), and one young lady who clearly was the class clown. They didn’t understand money – a quarter, a nickel, two dollars – nothing. “How am I supposed to do this if I can’t even remember how many quarters belong in a dollar?” one student asked me.
Sounds like a Vision Therapist’s paradise, right?
Relax Jessica, I was biting my tongue. Hard. 😛
As we worked through their assignment, I subtly asked the kids if they had ever been to an eye doctor. Only one child answered in the affirmative, sharing that he had surgery on his eyes in second grade. Since I was visiting in a volunteer capacity, and was not very familiar with the teacher (neither of my kids have been in her class), I figured I better not delve further into these kid’s personal lives.
On my way out of the classroom I handed the teacher a business card and gave her the 30 second rundown of my job. Oddly enough, she shared that her son had had Vision Therapy many moons ago, and apparently did quite well.
“All those kids I sat with would benefit from a vision exam and perceptual testing” I told her. She smiled, accepted the business card, and said she’d mention it to the parents.
I disappeared into the hallway.
Time for lunch.