I have known since I was three years of age that I wanted to become a teacher. As a child, baby dolls were lined up in a row in my room as I enjoyed being their teacher and singing ABC’s. It was not until my senior year of high school, however; that I realized exactly what kind of teacher I wanted to become. I was participating in the Teacher Cadet program, along with my classmates, as we were preparing lessons to teach at the local elementary school. Our teacher asked if any of us would like to teach our lessons to students with learning disabilities. No one volunteered, so, I said I would give it a try, unknowing that this would be a personal eye opening experience.
It was during those first few days in that classroom working with those special children that I knew exactly what my purpose was within the teaching profession; special education. I discovered that these children are so appreciative of someone taking the time to help them and having a little faith in them. These children have to work so much harder than their nondisabled peers in order to comprehend and grasp concepts, they need someone who can be patient with them, someone who will encourage them, and celebrate with them when they are successful. I discovered there in that classroom that I could offer all of these qualities, and so began my teaching career.
I have been teaching now for seven years. I have taught students with various types of disabilities; some who are non-verbal, some who cannot read, some who can read but cannot comprehend, some who are bound to a wheelchair, and some who can only communicate via eye movements. It did not take me long to realize that teachers wear many different hats. Yet, through the years I have learned to appreciate the simple blessings, the look in a student’s eyes when they finally comprehend what you’ve been teaching, the moment when a third grade non-reading student reads a short story for the first time, these moments serve as confirmation for your teaching.
During these reflective moments of my teaching career, I realized some of the greatest contributions I had to offer. I have chosen to spend my days teaching and nurturing young minds to be all that they can be. Patiently, I await the moment in which my students look at me with an understanding that envelops them. Through my nurturing and caring attitude, my students view me as their cheerleader, someone who believes in their potential and encourages them along the way. I am an advocate for my children. When no one else believes in them or wants to take the time to work with them, I am there to advocate for their right as a learner. I am not afraid of wearing all the hats that teachers have to wear because as I teach and nurture the young minds of our future generations, I find fulfillment.