Chandler Balch: How I Go to School
I wake up every day between 6:00 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. with help from my mom. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so of course I would never skip it. My favorite breakfast is an egg and sausage sandwich, but most days I have oatmeal. What do you have for breakfast?
At 6:45 a.m. I get on a school bus that has a specially equipped lift for my wheelchair. I’m lucky because I have a nice bus driver who I’ve known since Elementary School that really helps me to get on and off of the lift. The ride takes 20 to 30 minutes, but class doesn’t start until 7:40 a.m. so I am always on time.
I have three different classes that can meet first thing in the morning: art, music, and gym. They work on a six day rotation so that we are not stuck doing the same thing every morning. I think art is really slow and boring, but that is because I am not that great with my hands obviously. I like music the best because it goes really fast. I like gym also. When games involving running I get to drive around the gym in my wheelchair. The gym teacher is really accommodating to my needs and I try my hardest to play the games.
After one of these three classes I go to math. I use a computer program called mathfactcafe.com, and I have to do two 20 minute online flash card sessions before I am allowed to leave. I have to type the answers into the computer so sometimes it can take me a really long time.
After math I have reading. I read using a program called Reading Naturally, which if there are any teachers out in the audience I highly recommend it. This program gives me a bunch of different 500 word stories to read from pieces of paper. It takes me 30 minutes sometimes to read 500 words. My teacher says that is a slow pace, but I think that I do pretty well for myself considering.
Normally after reading I use an iPad to do more math. I like using the iPad because it is user friendly. The touch screen works well with my hands, as I am best at using just one finger at a time.
Next comes lunch, my real favorite subject of the day! I eat in the cafeteria, but I normally pack my own lunch. I eat at a table with my class, and I like the lunch ladies. They are very nice. Every single day I eat peanut butter and jelly, it’s one of my favorites.
At the end of the day I go to science. My teacher is cool and nice, but the information puts me to sleep. I’m not a big fan of rocks and minerals which shouldn’t be a surprise since I am not known for being a big outdoors man. Remember when I got stuck in the mud last week for over an hour! I don’t think environmental science will ever be my specialty.
My favorite teacher in the whole school is Ms. McGinnis, an instructional assistant who works with me; she is hilarious to work with. Ms. McGinnis is the main reason I get up in the morning on days that aren’t Wednesdays (days I go to my internship). Mrs. Green is my second favorite teacher, she is in charge of my program, and Ms. McGinnis works under her. She is always very pretty! I also really like Mr. Cartwright, but by the end of the day it’s always he that drives me almost to insanity because he makes we work really hard and challenge myself physically a lot.
Spring-Ford High School itself is one story so it is very wheelchair friendly, but the front hallway in the morning when I go to gym is like driving through 422 in rush hour on steroids. My classmates are all very nice, except when they are moving through the hallways in between classes. Imagine trying to maneuver a wheelchair through hoards of excited 14 and 15 year olds, it is nearly impossible.
We have no snow days left this year, which is a bummer. They were all gone by November 1st because of the hurricane and a transformer explosion, so I guess I have to wait until spring break to get a day off.
Besides science and having no snow days you can see that Spring-Ford is very accommodating to my needs. They have special programs that allow me to learn easier, and people who are nice and work very closely with me. The school district does an awesome job helping me out. Next year I have to move to the upperclassmen building which is multiple stories high. This means that I will need to use the elevator and the hallways will be much more crowded which could make life a bit trickier. Wish me luck for next year!