Today, I was reflecting on my week and realized I had some very big AHA moments. If someone had told me when I began my degree for special education how much these children would have an impact on my life I probably would have just thought, "Okay. I'm sure that is what you tell all teachers." However, I can not begin to explain what my students mean to me. Some days are frustrating and some are joyous, but in the end I have realized that it all comes down to the relationship you have with the little people you are teaching. Just this week, three cases of relationship building, compassion, and care have really stuck out to me. Continue reading...my heart:
1. One of my students filled out his time capsule that all of the fourth graders complete in guidance and he put me as his favorite adult at school. So sweet (and unexpected). He happens to be a kiddo I love dearly, but he has some major behavioral problems and I am usually the one that gets to handle him in the throws of a meltdown. I am so glad that we have a relationship that he can still call me his favorite even when I am sure there are times I am not the favorite!
2. We had a fire drill this week which resulted in a mini therapy session. I have two students with physical disabilities. One student is a third grader and the other is in fifth grade. Well, I am often tipped off about fire drills, so I can assist my students that have extra special needs down the steps and outside. A few minutes before the fire alarm rang, I went to pick up these two kiddos and as we were walking outside, one of them started asking the other about her physical disabilities. (These two are typically never together, so they don't know much about each other.) So when the one kiddo struck up the conversation, I was honestly a little nervous. To my astonishment and delight, kiddo two started telling kiddo one about her disability and how it came to be. She was extremely open and honest and I think it gave kiddo one a different outlook on his own abilities! Kiddo two has more obvious physical disabilities and kiddo two does not, but he listened to her and emphasized with her. Kiddo one then shared his own struggles and things he has to go through to be able to be at school. Kiddo two summed it all up rather nicely, "I am just like everyone else and I can do what everyone else does, but I just do some stuff a little different." YES, YOU CAN GIRLIE!!! Really makes you reconsider what is important in school and life when you are face to face with two young, brave people! These kids are my heroes!
3. I have one student with some challenging behaviors. This week he was upset about something. (I am trying to be very vague here to protect the innocent). He told me that someone had hurt his feelings and he was mad about what this person had done. I asked him why he didn't just tell the other person that his feelings were hurt. He has told me (using the words) "You hurt my feelings." that I have upset him in some way and I wondered why he couldn't tell someone else the same thing. He just simply said, "Because it's you." Wow! These kids have a way of pulling on my heart strings! We went on to talk about how I have known him for a couple of years now and he said that he feels okay with telling me that I hurt his feelings, because he knows I would tell him the same thing and I wouldn't get mad at him for being honest with me. And...on Friday he earned all of his points on his behavior chart! I was so proud and he was too!
If tallying up a great week means realizing how much you mean to someone then I guess this week I went 3 for 3!
Special education is not an easy job and every week is definitely not like this one, but it sure helps to have weeks when you realize that you DO make a difference. Writing this blog post is two fold for sure---1. I want to encourage all my fellow special educators that you are called to your position and the kids you work with love you and need you. Build a relationship with them.
2. And....when I am having a "not so hot week" I want to be able to look back this and get a gentle reminder, that I too was called to be where I am today, and make the very best of it, because there ARE kids out there that need me!
And one last thing...some very special people in my life used to say this little quote to me all of the time. It was kind of a motto in the school I was in previously:
Do bloom where you are planted. There is a time and purpose for you to be there. Take the time to look for it and experience all that God has for you there!!!