Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Career in Common (Ann and Rochelle)

One of my favorite things about Best Day is when the older buds' stories and conversations build on each other. In this case, older buds Ann and Rochelle both taught special education when they were younger:

Ann von Dehsen


Special Ed Privileges

You know I was a teacher for a while too, Special Ed teacher, and we used to have conferences with the parents over the services the kids were entitled to and the white families would come in with all their information and often they would hire an advocate to fight for the rights they thought their kid needed; they thought they needed more speech, they wanted a longer summer program, they wanted the district to pay for activities in the summer like horseback riding and things and they would usually get those privileges. And then our Black families, this was in Delaware County, were mainly from Chester, living in poverty and they would come to these meetings obviously very, very nervous and frightened of us and sit there very quietly saying, “Okay. Okay,” and never voicing that maybe they needed more than what they were getting. And a speech therapist and I often spoke up to our supervisor and saying, “This child needs more therapies.” And after a while with the dialogue, they began to get more therapies, but once our supervisor called us in after a meeting and said, “You have to stop suggesting these extra therapies. It’s very expensive. It’s not in our budget and these people should educate themselves on what’s out there.” So how do you educate yourself on what’s out there when you don’t know and you’re living in Chester, you know? So that was huge to me too. I’ve just been trying to think of those types of stories.


Rochelle R. Tynes



It was interesting but you know, it was working with special needs kids. They tell you, even though people don’t do it, after a certain amount of time you should switch to so-called normal kids and then go back, transition back and forth. And I’m telling you, there ain’t much difference between the special kids and the so-called normal kids. They all have something, if its good or bad, they got something.
We special. Gosh, just the fact that we are writing these stories and telling stuff that we remember. The fact that we remember it is special. I’m telling you. 


If you want to transcribe for Best Day, then email us at You can also share our older buds' adventures by donating to Best Day, subscribing to our newsletter, sending a note to our older buds, or following us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. And if you or the older buds you know have careers in common, then you or they can submit stories through our portal right here. We're especially interested to stories from Black older buds, but we're always looking for stories from older buds of color, older buds with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ older buds, older buds of any gender or sex, older buds of any religion, and older buds who just plain break the mold.

And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.


Curated by Caitlin Cieri