I’m a Special Ed Teacher Now
That’s right. I’ve taken up a long-term assignment.
I’ll be there until October 24th, at San Pedro High’s Olguin Campus.
First of all, this school is GORGEOUS.
It looks like a freaking college campus, and sits by the ocean. You can literally see the water from the upstairs windows.
Secondly, everyone is supremely supportive and sweet. Everything I need is provided.
Next, I LOVE my aides. I have several and they’re all beyond sweet, many of them are funny and all of them are helpful and loyal.
Also, there’s always parking. I never have to worry about fighting someone for a spot.
Additionally, my classes are tiny (a maximum of 12 students at a time) which means I get to really differentiate instruction and give extra attention to my students who really need more help.
Finally, I’m a freaking natural at it. I feel myself teaching with ease and connecting with all of my students lovingly and successfully. I truly feel loved and appreciated there, and I’m very giving when it comes to my energy and attention to both the students and the aides.
I’m learning many important things from this experience. I’m practicing so many new, positive habits. I’m realizing that I can be punctual, organized and responsible on a daily, consistent basis. I know that what I’m learning now is influencing my singing career positively. The importance of planning and a set routine cannot be overly emphasized. Success is all about good habits and everyday progress and I’m excited to say I’m becoming very successful in this position. I see my kids learning and I feel them more excited about coming to school. The children are getting used to me and giving me compliments or simply reacting lovingly in my presence. I get spontaneous hugs, warm greetings with big smiles and attempts at conversation, no matter how small the talk. The aides are offering suggestions and thanking me for my efforts. I lesson plan before I leave and make sure everything is ready for the next day. Today we went on our first field trip, and we’ll be taking weekly trips from now on. I have a wealth of ideas to help the kids improve and I’m thrilled about preparing them for life outside of high school, especially since these kids won’t be earning a diploma and will instead enter adult transitional care programs and will most likely be under the care of adults for the rest of their lives.
In the meantime, I educate them in practical ways within their intellectual scope of understanding, socialize them to develop good character and connect with them so they’ll feel loved and motivated to be and love themselves.
I’m so swept up and thrilled to do this work that I feel no need to distract myself from it in any other way. I feel deep down inside that I’m making a difference, and when I think I’m not, I change the curriculum and teach them something I know will set them up for success.
Today in Life Skills class, for example, I talked to them about why real men wear pink, since several boys in class felt that pink was “gay.” I explained that gay is not something that people can control, and therefore should not be ridiculed or judged, and that pink was not a boy or girl color, but a color for any gender. I showed them videos to prove it. I could see the kids changing their minds about the way they were socialized to understand colour, fashion, gender and sexuality.
Just because a kid has special needs in school does not mean he’s stupid. We learned that in Forrest Gump. Stupid is as stupid does. Special needs children are wonderful, hilarious, friendly, kind, helpful, sweet, emotionally intelligent, and they really do their best to show that they can learn given their limitations.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity to work with them and to expand my consciousness as a human being.