I write this article with gratitude and love to all my students and colleagues who have made special education satisfying for me. My biggest realization is that abilities outweigh disabilities.
I believe that everyone in the classroom has a story or an incident that leads to a misbehaviour, breakdown and defiance. But 9 out of 10 times the story behind the misbehaviour has not made me angry but it has made me think about the amount of understanding and patience that is required to handle the individual.
I was always inclined towards clinical psychology where my mind ran through abnormalities, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. However, being a special educator required me to see the individual as an individual and not a diagnosis; I see my classroom as a room full of students and not a drawer full of case files. My day now runs with making IEP’s, lesson plans and making reports on their progress. I am happily teaching and learning where I see the able and not the label.
Everyday is a new day; there is always an incident where I go home and share it with my family. What I have understood is that teaching is an art that doesn’t fade away, it sticks with you all the time. I think about my class and students as I fall asleep at night and first thing in the morning. My brain starts off with-”Did he finish the assignment, his IEP is pending, what strategy do I use, she is so cute when she does role play on dining etiquettes etc”. My students just surprise me everyday and that makes me an ‘enthu cutlet’ to do something more for their betterment.
Teaching a student even to restart a computer becomes the lesson for the day. It sounds all easy and fun. But the planning, patience,creativity and hope is what matters the most when you are teaching. And happiness doesn’t come from teaching this lesson, but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.