Colour-Blind Early Childhood Educator

Pencil Crayons Black & White by Adam Clarke, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0

Colour deficiency is when you can see all the colours, but your eyes can't make the distinction between them when taken out of context. 

Lights are the worst. I describe my perception of lights as warm or cool. I can't tell the difference between red and yellow lights unless they're next to each other. Blue is usually okay. I could mistake a cooler green for blue. I have no idea what colour street-lights are; I think they can be all different colours . . . right? 

I used to use red to draw grass. 

I've called a yellow car lime green. 

At work, if a pencil was out of a child's reach, they might ask me to get them the blue pencil. And I might get it for them. Only to be told. That's purple.

I was asked to go get the red mop bucket. I did. On my way back a co-worker said: "That's green, dear."

It's always a laugh, and I explain that sometimes my eyes can't make the distinction.

The other day in the three-year-old room, the educator had everyone in a circle. She held up pieces of paper with cartoons of different-coloured crayons. First she revised them all with the children. Then she picked out children and asked them to find whichever colour she called out. Or she held up a colour and asked them what it was. The children called out what they were, when I might have said something else.

Occasionally, a child would hesitate, or say the wrong colour.

It made me wonder: How would a colour deficient child feel when presented with these colours? When shown a bright orange that looks like yellow, or a dark purple that looks like dark blue, or a beige that looks like pink, or a red that looks like brown, or a brown that looks like green?

How does it feel when everyone else "knows their colours", but you can't get it right no matter how hard you try? 

And you have no way of knowing there's nothing wrong with you.

Wake-Up Weirdness

This has been a weird week for sleep. I should have gone to bed earlier because, being a relief staff member, I can be called early in the morning to come to work.
I went to bed late anyway, and had some weird experiences when work called early.


Although I'd gone to bed about 1:30 or 2:00 the night before, I somehow woke up before 6:30. After not having much work last week, I'd become insanely bored, and I decided I'd go volunteer at work to get some hours for my placement, and alleviate my boredom. 
Funnily enough, a couple of minutes later I got called and asked to go to work at 9:00. Lucky me, I got to go to work, get placement hours, and get paid for it.
Being awake already, I decided to get up and have a shower. And for me to have a shower in the morning is a momentous occasion. On any normal day, I would have slept in until the last minute, but having missed my shower the night before, I seized the opportunity to have a day at work with luscious, vibrant hair.
I think this is the first time I've been up an hour and forty-five minutes before anything in the morning.


Again, I'd been up late the night before. But this time I didn't wake up early; I was still dreaming when work called.
In my dream I could hear my phone ringing. I tried desperately to sit up -- while asleep -- so I could wake up and answer it. I struggled against my brain, and actually heard a voice in my dream say, "Ryan's having trouble getting up." Even while I sat up, I was still dreaming. It was like the world tipped sideways.
I hadn't quite snapped out of it until I was upright and answering the phone. I put on my usual "happy-to-come-to-work" voice, and then tried to make sense of what had just happened.

The Moral of the Story

Going to bed late and getting up early only works once. Go to bed on time.

Reflections on the Blog

Every so often I realise this blog is over two years old, and I remember how easy it seemed to get followers for The Dark Corner of the Mind. Maybe that blog was more accessible, more distant and authoritative with a special title of its own. And here I am with a blog titled "Ryan Sullivan"; not a standout name, just another person in the crowd.

As a review once said, with The Dark Corner of the Mind I was sporadic with my posting. But still, people would sign up to follow the blog every now and then, one more follow to boost my confidence.

The funny thing is, I didn't really know that much about how to write well. Mostly I posted updates about where I was in my first draft. Sometimes I posted writing advice, which people appreciated despite me not having published a thing. One thing I have from that blog is a testament to the long haul of writing; Aundes Aura took me a number of years to finish -- a short book -- but I got there, and The Dark Corner documents the things I tried to get me through.

I can appreciate that, at least.

Here, I have no niche. I have no unfounded writing advice. All I have are personal reflections, opinions and interests. I feel like that should be more interesting. I'm not saying that it's not, but it's probably been done before.

I also think I have a couple of standout things -- the writing, the childcare. But until I write some riveting article, it's nothing that will bring people here and compel them to follow my unexceptional life.

I thought blogging more consistently would improve my rate of follows. It hasn't really, as long as we ignore the five-month gap.

So if I don't have a great many followers, and no one ever stumbles upon my blog, why am I writing it?

By posting about my thoughts and concerns, my future self can look back on issues I was having, and be proud when I overcome them. I can look back on good memories that I've documented.

In my blog introduction, I wrote, "I have another blog, The Dark Corner of the Mind, where I mostly write about how my writing's going, as well as some writing tips that work for me. But writers aren't my audience -- readers are. That's who this blog is for."

When I put myself in a reader's shoes, do I want to read about writing tips? Book progress updates, probably, but blogs about how to write? No. That's how I first came to my approach for this blog -- Ryan Sullivan, Fantasy Author.

It's here, if anyone ever finds it.

If not . . . well at least I'm here to read it.

Thank you to everyone who reads this blog. You give it a reason to exist.

Speaky: Like Facebook, but for Language Exchange

Speaky is an attractive social networking site I've discovered that serves as a language exchange platform. When you set up your profile, you select your native language, as well as the languages you're learning. "Statuses" in those languages (in my case, English, French and Spanish) pop up in the main feed. However, this is not the main aspect of Speaky.

The site will suggest people who are at varying levels within the languages you're learning, and who are also learning your native language. You can request to "buddy" these people, and begin a conversation over instant message. For example, I see people who are native French speakers and want to practise English. I might also see intermediate Spanish speakers.

This way, we can exchange our languages -- I get to practise my French, and they get to practise their English.

One area I haven't delved into yet is the video chat. (Or audio chat, as my laptop camera won't work.) If it works, and I can get past my nerves, it could have a magnificent impact on my speaking skills. I hope it works well, but I can't comment on it yet.

What have I discovered so far? I actually can hold a basic instant message conversation in Spanish, even if I'm making a lot of mistakes.

I spent a few days researching language-learning, and the biggest inhibitor to learning a language is being afraid to make mistakes. Language is about communication. You have a goal to speak well, but children don't speak perfectly to start with. Begin by communicating, and people will correct you along the way.

Speaky is the greatest platform I've found for this so far.

What I'm Looking Forward to in 2016

1. My new job as an Early Childhood Educator.

I've always been in pursuit of a viable job that balances satisfaction and consistency. Writing books and teaching piano were unreliable, but Early Childhood Education ticks all the boxes.

2. Seeing my baby nephew grow up.

Because let's face it -- the more babies can do, the more fun they are.

3. A potential trip to France.

It's not confirmed . . . but I can still imagine it, right? Hopefully getting better at the language day by day, drinking coffee in shops that say "coffee" on them.

4. Progressing in edits for Knives in the Shadows.

And possibly finishing it. The hardest parts have been done, but I still have a lot of time to put in. The results will be worth the wait.

5. Finishing my Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

I'll understand my job more, be more skilled, and earn more money. I still won't earn much, but more is better.

Gratitude for 2015

2015 was a difficult year.

Even with the difficulties, I succeeded in many ways beyond my wildest dreams.

Here are some things I was grateful for in 2015.

1. Friends.

I'm grateful for two particular friends in 2015: my best friend at home, and my close friend at Uni. I have other friends here at home, and I had others at Uni, but without these two closer friends, Uni would have been unbearable.

2. Finishing my Bachelor of Music.

I hate that feeling of always having an assignment due. That feeling's gone now. I feel liberated.

Apparently, I did learn from my mistakes. For some of my classes, I handed in work early. I reflected on seminars and handed in the reflections so I could sleep in on Wednesday mornings. And when given the opportunity to do a performance mid-semester instead of writing an end-of-year essay (of 2,000 words), I tentatively took it up (and did well), knowing it would ease the stress during exam and recital time.

3. Landing an amazing job as an Early Childhood Educator right as Uni finished.

In July I began volunteering at a childcare centre. I wanted to feel competent in the workplace before going on placement for my Diploma (of Early Childhood Education and Care). 

Working with children came naturally to me, but I knew there were a lot of other things I'd have to learn. So every now and then the educators asked me to do things and showed me how to do them. If I was ever unsure, I'd ask, and over the weeks I built up my skills.

I'd expressed that I'd be interested in work when I got further through my studies. So one day when volunteering (and not much further in my studies), I got a big surprise when the director came and asked me if I'd like a paid shift.

Like that, I got on the casuals list and am now officially an Early Childhood Educator.

For the first time ever, I'm earning real money with a real job, and absolutely loving it.

I've also been told there is potential for permanent work in the near future.

2016 is going to be a huge change.

- No more Uni. Although I'm studying a Diploma, it's online and self-paced.
- I will be going to my job, making money and coming home and being an adult and stuff.

I think 2016 is going to be the best year I've had in a long time.