I always have a hard time describing myself, but, lately, I’ve decided that the best way to describe myself is to give others a list of the things that I DO and let them put together their own image of Hollie Mason. So here is my list:
- I teach seventh grade Exceptional Children at Walkertown Middle School. More on that later!
- I am completing my final semester of graduate school at UNCG.
- I remember really odd things that others may forget. Specifically, random conversations or minor details.
- I read biographies and history-related books (among other books, I love to read!) while actively hating history-related classes. I also promptly forget dates and details about the history-related books that I read (kind of negates the above item on the list, but that’s just my weird brain).
- I eat. All. The. Time. The most common thing I say is “I’m hungry” followed closely by “I’m really hungry.”
- I crochet. Like, really really unique things (and some normal things, but I like challenges).
- I make balloon animals. Yeah. Balloon animals. It was a great summer part-time gig!
- I am a wife of four-and-a-half years, and still learning more about love and patience. Pretty sure he’s still learning more about love and patience, too. In fact, I’m almost positive that his patience has grown exponentially since meeting me.
- I procrastinate in the most productive way. My mom describes me as the most productive lazy person you’ll ever meet. Sounds crazy, but I think it’s accurate.
- I talk. A LOT.
- I am the mommy to two beautiful, spoiled rotten puppies. I’ll probably still manage to fit them into my blog posts on teaching. (And at four-years-old, they’re not really puppies anymore, but they’re my babies!)
- I suddenly find myself writing for a blog.
- Oh. And I’m growing a tiny human in my ever-growing belly. The puppies are NOT going to understand what is going on come February.
- And with that knowledge, you will likely understand that I nap WHENEVER I get the chance. Especially considering my list once included the constant consumption of coffee (which you will notice is now absent from my list).
I don’t necessarily do all of the above listed items at the same time, but I do keep myself busy. I don’t do quite as well when I don’t have something due.
I mostly wanted to introduce myself in my first blog entry, but a huge part of who I am is who I was. I grew up at the beach and went to college in the mountains (go App!); I never thought that I would be happy anywhere besides one of those two extremes, but here I am, happily residing in Winston-Salem, not as close to either extreme as I thought I’d be. I majored in Psychology at Appalachian and immediately began work at Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk, NC upon graduation. Without getting into too much of the technical mumbo jumbo and acronyms involved in mental health, Grandfather Home is a Level III group home for sexually abused/sexually at-risk children and teenagers. I worked with various groups of children between the ages of 5 and 18 to help them overcome the terrible abuse they had suffered and just learn how to keep surviving in the real world. I left that job when I got married and we decided to make our home in Winston-Salem. I am still in contact with some people who work there and love the mission. It is a huge part of my heart.
Other than that, I worked as an Intensive In-Home service provider, going to the homes of families that included children who had been diagnosed with various mental health disabilities (mostly ADHD, ODD, PTSD, LMNOP… you get the point). I helped educate parents on how to help their child in the home and support them in the school setting. After that, I moved to working at an alternative school, where I realized my calling was teaching, and met the person who introduced me to UNCG’s Project ENRICH.
And now we find me finishing up my Project ENRICH duties, sitting on my couch, eating Spaghetti-O’s, and writing for the School of Education’s blog (what an honor)! My previous experiences, plus my year-long residency at Walkertown Middle School last year, have helped me really hone in on my dream. And I’m not sure I’ll be done after graduate school (though I’ll definitely slow down for a while with a new tiny human relying on me).
Finally, because I wrote way more than I intended to, I want to leave you with: why Special Education? Well. More of my history helped with that decision. When I was four years old, I was involved with a pretty unique accident. I was run over by a riding lawn mower. Without going into gory details, my skull was crushed and a large part of my brain was destroyed. Miraculously, I not only came through alive, I came through with absolutely zero complications. With the exception of some serious “blonde” moments, which I’m sure I would have dealt with regardless of the accident, my brain and body function perfectly. I even made it to first-chair drummer in All-County band three years in a row, proving that my coordination was no problem at all. So, why Special Ed? Because those children that sit in front of me, I could have been any one of them. The fact that school came easy to me, that I could walk and talk, even that all of my hair grew back… those things lead towards me understanding that I am the exception. And I should use my gifts and my abilities to give back to those who were not the exception.