Sunday, March 19

Week 6 in Immersion

Greetings. Here's my final summary of my weekly immersion experience. Tomorrow or maybe Tuesday, I'll write an entry on my thoughts on the entire immersion process. Until then, enjoy:

Instead of breaking this up by day like I usually do, I'll write it by category. In mobility this past week, I did quite a few things, such as: go to an Irish pub on Friday in honor of Saint Pattrick's Day; get partly lost on the UT campus on Wednesday; get really lost in downtown Austin on Thursday; miscommunicate with my mobility instructor on Thursday's trip, so that I needlessly wandered around downtown looking for the van, and ending up taking the bus back to the Center, only to return at 5:45; tried to hook up with someone in the Irish pub, but in the time it took me to turn to my right and order the traditional Irish breakfast, she had disappeared; and other things I'm probably missing.

One memorable discussion was with someone from UT on Wednesday when we talked about why I was wearing the blindfold. Basically, he asked me why, and I said I was in training. He then said that I was doing a good job with getting around, even though I had the blindfold on, to which I answered, after chuckling, "Thanks, but I've been doing this for 20 years." He then asked me, "Really?" I said, "Yes, I've been blind for that long." He said, "Oh. I thought you were a trainer?" I said, "Well, ... I kind of am." I had a few good laughs about that after we separated, picturing the big question mark he probably had above his head, :)

Cooking. I hit some high points in this class as well, such as making a cheese omlet and fried chicken. The chicken was particularly challenging, since up until that point, most things that I had made in this class, I had made before. But I had never done fried chicken. I don't know if I'd want to do it again, but at least I know I can. On the other hand, I can clearly see myself making cheese omlets (one of my favorite breakfast items). Its not uncommon for me to, whenever I've gone out to breakfast on family vacations or with other people, to order the multi-egg and cheese omlet.

That's all that comes to mind for now, as far as classes go. This is probably the shortest immersion entry I've had so far. Oh well.

On the teaching side of things, I'm observing one computer class and beginning to monitor another. After several days in a row of doing things, I'm beginning to get more comfortable with the idea of teaching, not that I wasn't comfortable with it before. In other words, the observing and monitoring are helping me to move from an immersion point of view to a teaching point of view. Though I know I still have a lot to learn before I'll be teaching my own class, I feel better about the idea of teaching than I did even a week ago.

Over all, I've really enjoyed my immersion experience. It seems like immersion is different for each person. For the sighted person, its a way for them to get a glimpse into what a blind person goes through on a daily basis. For other blind people, it might mean different things. For me, it's been a good refresher of skills in some ways (like cooking), and a good confidence builder experience in other ways (like the home maintenance portion of shop class and mobility). As many people have said, I'm sad to see it end. After the first week and a half or so of adjusting and getting used to the rhythm of my days, its been very enjoyable. Not easy, but challenging. That's good though; I'd prefer challenging over easy. Some people say that immersion is the hardest program at the state agency, and I'd agree with them, since you are spending lots of physical, mental, and emotional energy on a daily and weekly basis, just to keep up and learn everything. Its not a cakewalk, but if you approach it in the right way, it can be very rewarding.

In my next post, I'll write more about some of these things for me, and look at some of what I call "snapshots" of immersion. If you don't know what snapshots are, then you can either refer to my mid-January post, "Snapshots of church," or wait for a definition in the next post. Either way, talk to you later.

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