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National Special Education Day/You Don't know What You're Missing

Just like many other professions-there comes a day really to celebrate your job- teaching. While it is really nice, this day is to celebrate those of us that serve students and individuals with disabilities and special needs. However our day is a day of recognition, that actually we get all year -let me explain.

  • About a month ago the student that refused to sit on a big wheels, let alone pedal, hopped on and began to pedal with his friends without hesitation and full of joy and pride at what he had done.
  • One of my non-verbal students participated as usual in circle time, but today greeted me with a verbal, garbled but audible “morning” with a huge smile on her face.
  • My student that loves to destroy everything and tends to hit, bite and scream in protest reached out and pulled me in for a hug.
  • The other day, after working really hard on letters and letter sounds, a student grabbed the story book and read to me the beginning of the book including telling me the page numbers -letters and numbers in one day together!!!
  • And the topper was my own adult 21 year old, with language learning disabilities, told me he was going to start his own company and dedicate it to helping students with disabilities all over the world.

I say to myself and sometimes out loud, “People just don’t know what they’re missing!”.  Usually I get a puzzled look back. Why would you want to be a special education teacher? I always grimace when they tell me it takes a special person. I am no different than any other teacher-this is just who I have chosen to teach. No different than a Biology teacher or US History teacher chooses her subject area. But what makes me special is that I get to witness miracles all year round. Sometimes they come hard, but they happen all the same. So it’s nice to have one day to celebrate special education teachers and it is truly much appreciated. However, personally I celebrate the lives that I touch and the lives that touch me 24/7, all year long. People just don’t know what they’re missing.

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