I have been working with adults with disabilities for over twenty years. I started off as a Specialized Educator working for a Readaptation Centre. Then I was hired by the Lester B Pearson school board as a Special Education teacher in the adult sector five years ago. I am very blessed to do something that I love, working with these special students. Especially now, I have the opportunity to work at a local college where I teach work/social/life skills to a group of adults with a variety of disabilites. Rather than working in a conventional classroom, I use the entire college and surrounding community as my classroom! I work mostly one to one or in small groups. Although it can be a challenging environement at times, the teaching opportunities are endless! And most of the time, I believe that I am learning more from my special students that they are learning from me!
What I Learn From My Special Students
By working with this special population, I learn how to “think out of the box”. Especially, if the student is not progressing and I need to adjust my teaching method. I learn patience while respecting their rythem and speed of processing infomation. I learn to never underestimate my non verbal students, they often have the most to say. By watching my students struggle at times, yet overcome their fears and anxieties, I learn resilience. I learn to focus on their strenghts, helping them shine while trying to improve their weaknesses.
What I learn Most
There are two things that I learn most from my special students. I learn to see them as individuals like any other. I see passed their disablities and focus on their abilities instead. Most of all, above all else I learn gratitude. One of the attributes that stands out the most with this special population is their sense of gratitude and appreciation for the little things. Over the past twenty years, this has always stood out for me. From them, I learn to be grateful everyday for the most common things.
End Of The Year
As the end of the school year approaches, I reflect on all the curriculum we covered and all the fun we had. When June comes around, things start to wind down at the college and summer planning starts. We enjoy walks on campus and visit the nearby community of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. I always look foward to our end of the year celebration lunch where I say my goodbyes until the end of August. Then when end of August rolls around, I always look forward to seeing my special students again. I am welcomed back with the biggest smiles and loudest greetings! For this, and so many other things I am gratful to my students for teaching me so many important life lessons and helping me become the teacher that I am!