Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tirade, well kind of

As most of you know, I am a special education teacher.  When I was younger and in a 2 year college, I was studying to be an elementary school teacher.  Why?  Because everyone told me I was good with children, so it was easy.  Then I took a couple of psychology classes including on one on abnormal psychology.  I found it very interesting and still it was easy.  So then I went on to a 4 year college and majored in elementary school and special education.  It was interesting and easy.  Then I took a class on finding employment for adults with moderate to severe disabilities.  At the same time, I was working for United Cerebral Palsy as a teacher for adults who had been institutionalized all of their lives and were getting ready to be sent into the community.  I enjoyed this, enjoyed my students and knew I could do this.

Many years later now, I have been teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities, mostly multiple disabilities for something like 18 years now.  I like it but here comes the reason for the "tirade".  I can't tell you how many times I have been told, "You must have so much patience" or "I could never do what you do".  No, I don't have patience and if you mean the times I get peed on, pooped on or thrown up on, no one really wants that to happen, it just does.  These comments are often made by other teachers or substitute teachers.  Just tell the truth, you don't want to teach these students and you aren't going to if you have anything to say about it.

So don't.

I have news for you though.  You may be cutting off your nose to spite your face.  You will be missing out on the hard work, but that hard work makes very real changes in the lives of your students.  You will be missing out on the mess, but that mess can be what it takes to teach your student real life skills that may be the difference between a life of choice and one of submission.
You definitely miss out on the chance to work with families who know how to appreciate you for what you do.  And you learn, learn, learn every day in more ways than you can possibly want to :).

I am the lucky one.  Yay for me!