Special Education is a special gift!

I have learned my profession is not only a job, but it is a gift. My children have given me more opportunities to smile, laugh, cheer, rejoice, and even cry tears of joy than any other job that I could imagine. They have taken me on an emotional roller coaster, and I could not be more thankful to have been on their ride.

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Children learn best from each other.

Once, one of my little friends with a learning disability did not understand the idea of breaking a number down into various partners. We gave visual, tactile, and kinesthetic accommodations. Nothing WE did worked! Finally, her partner said, “I got this.” In little time, she was breaking down numbers with the rest of the class. I’m not sure what her partner did; I would have waged money that her partner did nothing more than her teachers, but she learned that particular concept from him. That moment made my day and made me question my job security! Honestly, the lesson I learned is let the children take over sometimes. More lessons (not just academic lessons) will be learned.

Quit hovering! Sit back and enjoy the show.

I was OVER protective of one of my friends with autism, a beautiful little second grader, whom we all obviously adored.  My co-teacher and I would take turns watching him at recess, making sure that he did not get hurt or teased.  Basically, we wanted to hold his hand for everything.  During one recess, while our friend and I were practicing his moves on the jungle gym, another second grader, a little boy with a terrible home life who was labeled by some as difficult, started cheering for our friend.  When we made it across, the same little boy took my friend’s hand and led him around the playground.  He showed our little friend how to do a few tricks, applauded him when he did them, and recruited other children to join in on the action.  Both boys helped each other that day more that I or another other adult could have helped them, and they did it without any teacher intervention.  I have to say that that particular recess was probably one of the most precious and memorable moments of my ten-year teaching career, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

I have learned not to assume so much.

During Social Studies, my first grade class was discussing scarcity. We had discussed the definition of the word and had created a class definition for it. While we were brainstorming things that are scarce in the student’s lives, I received answers like kangaroos and aliens. Although we got a chuckle out of these answers, I still felt that the lesson was going well because they were getting the concept. Then, my little girl with Downs Syndrome raised her hand to share what was scarce in her life. She looked at our little boy who tended to have violent outbursts and shouted his name. After, she stated, “He scares me, Latiolas!” That was the day I quit assuming and started explaining with more visuals! 🙂

I am elated to finally join the world of blogging!  Over the years, I have received an exceptional education from my students in special education.  They have taught me more about love, patience, acceptance, what to do, and what NOT to do that words may not provide them justice, but I’m willing to try.  Their lessons have brought me pride, joy, and some tears, and I am so grateful for being able to play a small part in their lives.