Malaysia, Pomegranates, and an IEP

As we stared out the window last night watching a foot of snow fall, two topics of discussion and one fruity experience took center stage.

Map of Malaysia (Map from Lonely Planet)

Earlier yesterday evening, I had a final job interview for a social studies teaching position at a school that is just starting up in Malaysia. Suffice to say, I believe it went quite well. I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for an email from either of the administrators who interviewed me . . . and I’m bad at waiting. Wish me luck!

 (Delicious fruit from here)

My roommate, E, and I debriefed about the interview over dinner. We talked about when I might move (hopefully August), what my responsibilities would be (to be determined), and what we know about Malaysia (not much). Then E decided she wanted to have pomegranate seeds for dessert. We’ve both been trying to expand our food options because we’re bored of what we usually eat, which presented a problem: E didn’t know how to obtain said seeds from said pomegranate.

The first time I had pomegranate seeds was in middle school. A family for whom my sister babysat sent her home with a pomegranate one night. My mum looked up how to get the seeds out, and we’ve been playing in warm water and banging wooden spoons ever since.

And so E and I cut open the pomegranate, obtained the seed, and had our dessert. There’s something about pomegranates that always make me smile because they’re so pretty to look at and so sweet. They always remind me of being in Israel where pomegranates grow like apples do here. As in, on trees. Everywhere.

(You can see more pictures from my time in Israel here)

I’m going to make the grandiose assumption that most people do not spend their evenings discussing special education policy while doing the dishes and cutting pomegranates, but E and I did. I’m going to miss that when I move wherever I’m lucky enough to get a job. E is involved in a local adult literacy program and told me that the student she tutors, who is our age, had an IEP in high school. E asked me to explain the difference between an IEP and a 504 (used my Master’s degree today – CHECK!). Simply put, there are 13 categories of disabilities for which students may receive an IEP, which provides access to special education services, certain accommodations, and certain curricular modifications. A 504, however, is for students who do NOT fall into one of those 13 disability categories but does have a disability; these students do not need special education services or curricular modifications but may need some accommodations in the classroom.

Perhaps that wasn’t so simple. (For example, you may be wondering what I mean by special education, accommodation, and modification. If so, I apologize for my poor explanation and encourage you to look here for a PDF from the Disability Rights Center, which may help.)

Anyway, I’m rambling so I’ll stop now. Like I said, bad at waiting. Have a great day!

2 thoughts on “Malaysia, Pomegranates, and an IEP”

    1. Thanks! I’ve heard wonderful things about Malaysia. . . I’m hoping it works out because the school is just starting and that would be a really interesting opportunity. I’ve also never been to Asia, so that would be great, too!

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