To my absolutely amazing cooperating teacher,
I'm an elementary education and English writing major with a minor in special education, and I have debated my major in silence. I would walk into these big rooms with students of twenty-four students and one teacher and feel absolutely intimidated. A lot of my professors told me that was normal, but as I continued to go into classrooms I realized one thing.
I prefer small classroom sizes.
Now, there's more to this than just classroom size. Of course, as I started working in a self-contained classroom, I realized more and more that this was what I wanted to be around. It wasn't the classroom size, it was the kids.
It's not that I never liked the kids in the large classrooms I was in, but there are two issues I had.
1. I couldn't remember their lives for the life of me.
2. I didn't feel completely connected with my students.
It never really clicked until I went to a school and into a classroom that was specific to special education. Children and absolutely wonderful and incredible children at that had all types of disabilities. I couldn't help but feel this warmth in my heart, and this excitement to learn more from them and about them. They made me smile, and they made me laugh, something a lot of people would believe would never happen. Some people have the assumption children with disabilities cannot do a lot of things like normal kids can do. Those people couldn't be more wrong.
These kids are exactly what they are...kids.
They get a gleam in their eyes when they're up to no good and they challenge the adult that is asking them to do things. Typical behavior of a child, and that is what they are. Amazing children, just different. And different is great. Different is unique. And unique is what we all should love and accept.
My cooperating teacher really helped me realize that I was missing this amazing thing in my life. This love for these children. I love them. They make me happy when I come in, and they make me happy when I leave. I can talk for hours alone about just how much I enjoy going to that special little school. In all the hectic events, I've never felt calmer in my life. I felt ready and I feel prepared for whatever is thrown at me.
I just love it.
And before, in those big classrooms with all those students, I struggled to love it. I struggled to connect and feel like I was a part of something. I've always said in my head that I wanted to make some sort of difference, and I hope this path is what brings me to it. And this is what I believe:
There are strengths in any kid, and there are strengths in any disabilities. Let's focus on those strengths and worship them instead of dwelling on the weaknesses. We cannot control those, but we can control how supportive we are of kids.
So, thank you to my cooperating teacher, for making me believe in my major (and the minor that comes along with it).