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Here in New Hampshire: Cecilia Kouba ’19 at Crotched Mountain School and Rehab Center

My alarm goes off at 6:00 am. I roll over and hit snooze. This happens just a couple times before I realize I must get a move-on and get ready for my day. Recently I have wanted to have enough will power to start my mornings early, and now I have to.
The beginning of the day is slow. The goal is to get the boys to school. Some wake up without even trying and others ignore me as long as possible. This is nothing that I am surprised by, in my life it seems like adolescent boys never want to get up for school.
Working at Crotched Mountain there is never a day that goes by that I don’t learn something. Like how I could have dealt with a situation better or what that particular student might have needed. This place is a hub of energy staffed with lots of hard- working teachers and staff, trying to facilitate each day in going as smoothly as possible.
As a Para-Educator my job here is to be a part of a student’s day without causing too much of an annoyance. I should be helping them when they need it and creating a space where they can make decisions for themselves that will set them up for success in the long run. At times this can be hard. Could you imagine someone following you around all day? It makes sense that it can be hard because everyone needs privacy. The best days are when it feels like we are doing something together, not when it feels like, wait up so I can follow you closer because its my job and you need someone watching you! The more I’m here the better I get at facilitating the experience to be the former. But of course sometimes the students just want you out of their lives and that’s when it gets tricky.
As the weeks go by I can feel my comfort level going way up. In the beginning I had no idea what I was doing. And a lot of things were vague. I kept being told to “act like I knew what I was doing.” To be completely honest, that advice was extremely helpful to me. As soon as I began acting like I knew what was up, I ended up learning much faster and being able to recognize what I was learning on my own.
Like any job there are ups and downs, there are things you like and things you dislike. To sum up what I know about Crotched Mountain, this place is about supporting individuals with disabilities and their families. Crotched Mountain’s goal is “to work in partnership with families and local communities to achieve the highest degree of educational, physical and social independence possible for every student.” Here at this time I am working toward that.
Being here in the spring has been interesting. It has finally begun to come to life and I am very excited. Life on “the mountain” as many people call it, is made more interesting as the weather changes. There are plenty of local trails on the mountain too (fun fact they are some of the oldest most beautiful wheelchair accessible trails in the country!) Oh and i must mention how amazing it is to witness how much the children grow in your eyes as you get to know them. This place has taught me a lot.
One piece of advice I have for you whether it’s Crotched Mountain or any other place on the globe is: always be aware of your surroundings. You never know what could happen and you always want to be prepared to be as safe as possible. Thats one thing I’ve learned working here.
Yours,
Cecilia

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Cecilia is from the Driftless region of south-western Wisconsin. She grew up in a small town with values in strong community and yummy local food. Currently she is interested in humans and all that comes along with the thresholds we all move through, beginning with birth. For her first co-op she worked at Crotched Mountain School and Rehab Center in Greenfield New Hampshire, where she worked as a para-educator. Currently she is attending births along side several trusted midwives she knows. This opportunity has completely captivated her and she is at present looking into schools for midwifery.

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