I have been teaching full time in Special Education now for three years. It is a field fraught with challenges, behavioural and academic, political and paperwork-related, technological and time-wise. Yet I have met students in these three years, and some before these three years, that I will never forget, and that is due to the Special Education field.
The terminology and models related to Special Education / Special Needs / Student Support Services / Services Delivery are in a state of constant flux. I have been a teacher, special educator, student support services representative, instructional resource teacher, all in the last three years. Labels have changed, terminology become more diverse, and models much more inclusive and strict.
Yet with all the changes, one thing remains the same: the kids availing of services. They are the ones I think about when I am inundated with meetings, paperwork, assessments, applications, report writing, and the million and one other things that I am unable to name. When I become frustrated with changing policies and directives, I stop, think of the faces I look at every day and force myself to look at the bigger picture.
For better or worse, the changes that are occurring are going to keep occurring. They, while sometimes messy and problematic, will eventually bring up to a place where our education system is inclusive and services are delivered to all who need them, from the students who are gifted, right across the spectrum to those beautiful children requiring a functional curriculum.
I have bad days, when I find it difficult to function, smile, or work at coaxing smiles and effort out of others. But more often than not, I am proud to be a teacher in the field of special education, where I know that if I teach someone one thing, despite all the other issues that I face daily, that I will have made a difference. I look forward to the system we will eventually have in its entirety, and until then, I will continue to do my part in working towards the betterment of our educational system. And on my next bad day, I'm going to have one of my students tell me his joke, for the thousandth time, about the chicken escaping the KFC man. You ask me, that's a hell of a good reason to cross the road. Now that's perspective for you!
Rating: 8 out of 10.
This movie is one of my favourites. The creators were fortunate enough to combine a good storyline with an excellent cast. The story line is mysterious and creative, if a tad predictable in places. With a script and story that is only good, not great, it is necessary to find other elements to make a great movie. Effects, props, and settings were not spectacular, especially given today's standards, though they did assist in moving the story along. For me, what made the movie great was the superb acting by everyone involved. None of it felt forced or contrived. The dialogue fit the characters and their actions throughout the film. Having such strong leads as Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie only served to make the movie more believable, which is what you want when making a movie that is more reality based, with a real mystery and a real killer, being sought by real police professionals.
Additionally, the music was well chosen and placed throughout the film. It served to heighten emotions and increase tension throughout, leading to a much more intense conclusion. I am never satisfied when the music does not appropriately match the actions, dialogue, and story line of a movie or tv show.
Finally, there is a more subtle element to the movie. That of relationships and self-awareness. The developing relationship between the lead characters shows a genuine connection and developing friendship between two characters who find that they truely understand one another. There is also a hint of something more, the potential for romance, even when faced with obvious physical obstacles. Then there is the development of self-awareness and how the physical limitations affect the life view of a character. The movie begins with a character ready to leave behind a life fraught with difficulties with health and then, without ruining the climax, ends with a character who can only fight for every moment of life left to him.
All of these elements, story, script, settings, characters, actors, and underlying relationships, served to come together in a great way, creating a movie that I have watched many times over the years, and never get tired of watching. I urge anyone with a love of mystery and good acting to pick it up and watch.
Written in July of 2006. Rating: 8 out of 10.
Eureka! We've found a new hit show!, 24 July 2006
LOL. I know. The title of this post is too cliché, but I couldn't resist. In any case, I found the pilot of "Eureka" to be totally refreshing. The makers of the show took issues and aspects of long standing science fiction, added a new twist and location, and a ton of humour, creating in the process a fun new show that both amuses and mystifies.
Personally, I enjoyed seeing science fiction elements that have been proved interesting, stimulating, and well liked in the past. Throughout it all, while not too much language was used that I consider far above my own understanding, it still gave me the impression of "Hmmm... They know what they are talking about. Maybe some of this really is possible." I love that about television shows.
Leaving behind the sci fi subject matter, I was also impressed with the acting within and writing of the show. The pilot showed a serious side, with veins of humour throughout. The acting showed great compatibility and believability of the characters. I found myself liking some characters and getting annoyed at others. I love being drawn into a show like that.
Although some things can be considered predictable, and indeed I guessed a number of things before they happened or were revealed, I was still held in suspense and laughing from beginning to end. I can't wait to see more, and I totally recommend this show to everyone I come across. I think you all will enjoy it just as much as I did.
Note: I have watched this show since the very first episode and I just wanted to say that I enjoy it just as much now as I did when I first wrote this review.
This was written in September of 2007. I thought I would transfer the ones I have written and start writing more. Rating: 10 out of 10.
More Than Meets The Eye..., 23 September 2007
:) Forgive the title. I simply couldn't help myself. Well, on with my review. Put quite simply, I fell in love with this movie. I was skeptical at first about how a (sometimes cheesy) cartoon and comic book would translate to the film. We have seen it happen successfully with other characters of course, but alien robots? :D Well, I went in with an open mind and I was not disappointed. Every minute of this film was filled with either 'edge of your seat' action, or 'rolling in the aisles' humour. And in many cases both were expertly put together.
The special effects and writing were absolutely wonderful in this film, where even cheesy bits from old school Transformers made both serious and humorous transitions to the big screen. I loved the witty banter that came from some of the characters, just as much as I loved watching the rolling transformations of the Transformers. Additionally, the soundtrack for this film was absolutely breathtaking, especially the Autobots Arrival and the one playing when the soldiers are fighting the decepticon in Quatar.
And the actors themselves. Well they were wonderfully chosen. Even the voice actors. Having the same person voice Optimus Prime in the film as had in cartoons and video games was a wonderful touch. But for me, the best choice was Shia LaBeouf. Shia has proved that he has a wonderful on-camera presence whereby he can play a wide range of roles. His ability to perform in tense action scenarios combined well with his ability to keep an audience in fits of laughter. :) He totally made the movie for me.
I remember sitting in the movie theatre on the first night the Transformers preview came out. Everyone was on the edge of their seats trying to find out what this exciting movie was called (it was a very brief initial preview consisting of video footage from Mars). When Tansformers flashed onto the screen the entire theatre erupted in laughter. Well I hope everyone involved in making this film is laughing now, because they created a hit that people will want to watch again and again. I know I will.
Everyone, go rent, borrow, buy this film. You will not be disappointed! P.S. And just so you know. I rarely give things a ten out of ten. :)
Note: I've seen this movie maybe 30 times since the first time I watched it and when I watched it this weekend, I saw something new that made me giggle. Before Sam knows his car's name is Bumblebee, he has an air freshener dangling from the rearview mirror in the shape of a bee that reads "Bee Otch." It made me smile and I felt it a nice touch worth mentioning.
It's high time I tried writing my own blog. Heaven knows that I always have something to say, something that inevitably gets forgotten, misplaced, ignored, and scattered all over creation. The internet seems like an appropriate enough forum for any of those somethings. My only hope is that I learn a little discipline from this process and actually follow through on my intentions to write regularly.
Bahahahahaha. Sorry. No. That's probably never going to happen, but at least I will try. So here it is. My first blog (not including my failed attempts at keeping an updated LiveJournal Account). This will also be an interesting experiment to see whether or not my personality can be transposed onto the internet through the written word. One day perhaps. Wish me luck!