The process of finding someone to consider for the case study has been a difficult road. I was so pleased when I thought that I had found someone a week before the class began. I was not aware of the difference between supported and sheltered employment. I was unaware that a transitional plan is required to be written by the special educator in a public setting. My first consideration was not appropriate because the individual is intellectually disabled, has received superb accommodations and planning through a local program and has a wonderful support system and a place of employment.
The next individual thought would have been an interesting individual to interview as he provided educational services to local high school students. Unfortunately, school is over. Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, teachers scatter and refrain from interacting with their school email until coerced by an administrator to do so.
My third attempt was to engage with an individual who provided a very short window of time in which to meet and share. I did not hear from this individual until Wednesday, June 8. Adults are busy. Work and home concerns are a priority. Communication with me, an unknown individual, fell further down this individuals to do list. No judgment on my part. While I acknowledge that life happens for others, a major component of my current role as a graduate student was beginning to become rather stressful for me.
I dug deep into my network to consider an individual with whom I had not communicated for nearly 10 years. I had a previous relationship with this person as a colleague. Colleagues are often willing to assist with coursework. I was saved! I met with two individual to conduct this interview for nearly 3 hours over lunch.
With a score of 28 in Confluence, Learning Connections Resource would suggest that this type of activity is something that I should enjoy. I nearly always see a situation as different than others. I do not mind taking risks and am willing to learn from my mistakes. This individual and I have a wonderful relationship based on a mutually supportive experience in a past life. The last relationship between my interviewee and me was that of adult and child. We knew how to interact within this hierarchy. To reframe our setting, it was imperative that I embrace the opportunity to interact with this individual as an educator of adults as opposed to that of an educator of an adolescent.
Of equal strength is my desire to be precise. Asking questions is typically not a problem for me. However, to desire answers to questions which require accuracy in order to complete this assignment with precision was challenging for me. I am the individual with whom others confide. I do not consider knowledge as gossip or too overly personal, but rather place it into the context of information. I consider the collection of information as a way to allow me to process how my role, behavior or performance in a future setting may unfold. Seeking personal information from an individual as opposed to receiving it was a daunting task for me. I was not asked to provide questions to consider ahead of time. A level of trust was established between us during a different time and place. While the adult and I slid comfortably into a conversation, the younger individual was relaxed and welcomed the instance to rekindle our relationship.
I am excited to say that the experience was very positive for all of us. These two individuals expressed a desire to engage in the questions created by my classmates. They welcomed me to pursue several threads which evoked painful components from the past. I look forward to learning how to create a map for this individual. I assume that it will engage the concepts and services that we have discussed in class lectures. The struggle to locate the correct interviewee and situation, while stress inducing, was certainly worth the effort to do so. This is the right individual to engage at both the right moment in both our work and educational setting. Serendipity happens!
Something to chew on…
When approached with respect and consideration, many individuals welcome an opportunity to share their story.
In what way does my discomfort with interviewing inhibit the processing of storytelling?