My Journey
Living with a Brain Tumor

My Education

by Sandy Beardsley

I have a B.A. in Education with a Masters of Reading Specialist. I'm proud of these degrees because they represent hard work and determination. My college education taught me many skills but it did not prepare me for the lessons I am learning now. These lessons are not learned in college classes but are life's lessons. These lessons are being taught to me by Orondo School students, parents, and co-workers.

I have been taught by 1st and 2nd graders that it's all right to cry and to hug others when you need it.

I've learned from two colleagues of mine, one who lost a son and the other whose father is paralyzed, that great strength and courage is possible even at the worst of times.

I've been shown by my substitute that compassion is part of every day, not just at Christmas time.

I have learned from students and staff that a small compliment such as "I like your hat!" can brighten a day. I've been told by a young student that even though I've lost my hair, I still have a "really nice smile!"

I’ve been taught by students that being open about my sickness and answering their questions doesn’t scare them, but makes them more compassionate.

I’ve learned from all of the teachers and staff that kindness and generosity from others, and a dash of humor, will get you through anything.

I’ve been shown by a teacher and his 6th grade class that the very students I taught can teach me even more about love and respect.

I’ve learned from a colleague who had a brain tumor as a child, and a mother who lost her young son to cancer, that sharing a personal experience can make someone feel better.

I've been shown by a family that was blessed with a beautiful little girl challenged with cerebral palsy, that there are very special gifts that come from what life gives us and that a daily positive attitude is inspirational.

I've learned from my principal, business manager, superintendent, and the school board that if you are a teacher in Orondo, you will be supported during times of adversity.

I've seen Orondo staff and parents model the very behaviors that we want the students to learn while here in school. These lessons are invaluable and show me the part of an education that we sometimes forget or don't emphasize enough. What the Orondo district may lack, that other larger districts may have, it makes up for tenfold with lessons like those I've learned while fighting cancer.

Thank you all for the education.

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