At the end of my freshman year in high school I began to tell my family, friends, and anyone who would listen about my passion for Special Education, and my love for the special-needs community, and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with and for this community through majoring in special-education, in order to become a teacher. Immediately I was hit with "you don't realize just how difficult those kids are", "I don't think you realize just how much work that's going to be, it's a thankless job" and even "I think you are going to find yourself miserable working with people like that, they hit, they kick and bite, they tend to get very violent, and I think you're going to find that you'll walk in on day one and find yourself to be miserable". In all honesty hearing these comments hurt, not because I was crushed that they had ripped on my ability to work with these incredible individuals, but because never having experienced it themselves, those who were closest to me were willing to believe stigmas over hearing about my own personal experiences. People who have never interacted with an individual with special-needs were more willing to believe the lies the media and society had told them, rather than giving these kids, and ultimately myself, a chance to prove their thoughts wrong.
I continued the rest of my three years in high school refusing to give up on my dream of becoming an incredible teacher, and by June of the summer before my senior year, I had applied and been admitted to my dream school, one that had a fantastic special-education program, and encouraged me to go out and make the impact I so hoped to make. Yet, as I told some of these same family and friends this, they had very similar responses. Now it was "you're wasting your money on a degree that you are going to be miserable in the field of" and "You cannot possibly be serious, what exactly do you plan on doing with that degree?" that those who doubted and discouraged me felt the need to voice. Luckily, I'm a stubborn person, and I refuse to listen to the opinion of others until I have proved myself wrong or right, so off I went, determined as ever to be an incredible teacher who really makes an impact.
Now, just finishing my first semester as a special-education (for student's with cognitive impairments) major, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else, I proved to myself that this career is where I am meant to be. I feel at home in all of my education classes, and I am excited to learn about how to be the best teacher I can possibly be, and truly better the lives of my students. I work my absolute butt off, and pulled the highest GPA I have ever had, as I am passionate about what it is I am learning, and want to be able to deliver it to my future students. I cannot tell you that these people have stopped trying to discourage me thought, if anything it has gotten worse, especially since I have never backed down or allowed them to changed I believe in, myself, and my ability to be a fantastic special-educator that makes a huge impact on her students.
So to those who have worked so hard to convince me to go other routes, a doctor, a lawyer, or even a politician, please do not waste any more breath on this hopeless case. My mom used to say "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all", but to you I'll say "if you don't have anything positive to say about my career choice, keep your mouth shut", because I don' want to hear it. It is not your life, it is not your "mistake" (not that I can agree with that), and ultimately, it is not your money being spent. So, save your energy and bother someone else, since this girl is ready to better the lives of everyone in the special-needs community, by changing how the world and society sees them. Watch me succeed and applaud me, or sit on the bench silently, at this point in life, so many incredible people are encouraging me, that your opinion matters none.
And hey, my classroom would love volunteers when I get there, if you ever really want to see what a successful and fulfilling career looks like! My students I'm sure would sure love to steal your heart, as every student I have worked with has stolen mine. Stay or go, I don't mind, my heart is full by being surrounded by beautiful souls.