Special Education Teachers Have Blessed my Children
Both my adopted children were in special education classes when they came to live with us as foster children. So, of course, they had special education teachers. I made it a point to meet and get to know my children’s teachers, and the special education teachers impressed me. Their job was not easy, but it was evident that they cared for their students and wanted to help them develop the potential they had.
The special ed teachers I met deserved to have an ornament like this on their tree or hanging where they can see it every day. Special ed teachers who care make a great difference in the life of a child. Why not get this for your favorite special ed teacher?
Why My Children Were in Special Ed Classes
My daughter, who came to us as a foster child when she was nine was entering third grade. Sarah could not read or do any math. She had already been in special education before she came to me and they just kept her there, even though she was entering a new school district. She had an excellent and caring teacher.
My son probably didn’t need to be in special education. He was referred because his kindergarten teacher thought he needed to repeat kindergarten. We knew he was bright and thought it was just too early for him to be in school. He’d only been with us for two weeks and was probably still adjusting. His social worker had labeled him as non-verbal, but I knew better. He started the first conversation we ever had. (Find out more about how I met him and decided to become his parent. )
We had him tested because the administrators were so eager to keep him in school instead of letting me take him home to allow more bonding time. He tested high, but they still thought he was too distractable and they persuaded us to put him in the special education program. Although we fought it, we were very glad later we had done it.
Jason’s First Experience in Special Ed
Jason’s first special ed class was the second semester of kindergarten. The teacher was great, but the school was far away and my children had to take two different buses. Jason excelled in his work because he got individual attention and wanted to please his teacher.
At the end of the year, they wanted to mainstream Jason and put him back in his neighborhood school and we fought it. We knew he had a 50/50 chance of getting a teacher who hated little boys and favored girls.
Other parents told us how their little sons would come home in tears every day. We also had personal knowledge of that teacher’s character and it wasn’t good. We weren’t about to chance it. Jason had already been through enough in his five years of life.
We appealed to the district’s head of Special Services who also happened to be our daughter’s therapist. The very next day it was settled that Jason would not only stay in special education but would also be transferred to the same school my daughter was attending. Now only one bus had to come and the children could go together to Walnut School.
A Special Ed Teacher Who Cared Enough to Do More than Her Job Required
She Motivated with Personal Attention Rewards
At Walnut School, my son was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Nann Lovejoy as his special education teacher. She had a very special way of motivating her students. She knew that her students thrived on personal attention since most came from broken families. When students reached certain goals, she would invite them to have lunch or dinner with her and her husband in their home. (Her students were in grades 1-3.) She also let them chose the menu.
You had better believe my son wanted to be at her table. So he reached the goal. A couple of months later he reached a new goal. Although he was only in first grade, he had learned all the words on the third-grade reading list. He was very proud of it.
Mrs. Lovejoy called me to ask if she and her husband could take Jason to a movie as his reward. We weren’t big on him going to movies, and asked if there might be some alternate activity, such as a hike. She liked that idea and even told Jason he could invite his sister along. Both children had a wonderful time and the Lovejoys also liked hiking.
Non-Academic Issues Made Us Change Schools
After that, Jason would have done anything for Mrs. Lovejoy. But by the second semester of that year, Sarah’s wonderful teacher left on sabbatical and we had a not so wonderful long-term male substitute in her place.
That left Sarah the only girl in her fourth to sixth-grade class. Her male classmates were propositioning her at recess and the principal said she really couldn’t do much about it. After that year we moved on to private schools before finally choosing homeschooling three years later.
Let’s Appreciate Those Who Teach Special Education
All teachers have a difficult job, but special education teachers have even more challenges. Most of their students are in their classes because they already find learning difficult. Usually, it’s because their students are physically or mentally impaired to the extent that they can’t learn in a larger class setting. Teachers need extra training to know how to help them.
Most of these students also come from broken families and bring emotional baggage with them. I realize other teachers also deal with that kind of emotional baggage, but special education teachers have to deal with both learning disabilities and emotional baggage. As we learned, sometimes once the baggage is gone, the learning disabilities also disappear.
Yet the special education teachers I’ve known have shown great patience and acceptance. They have given their students encouragement and attention that their parents often didn’t. They have probably kept many children from moving into gangs or the juvenile justice system.
Why not give a special ed teacher something special for Christmas this year to show them your appreciation.