I can’t believe how much has changed for me in only a months time. My whole world has suffered a seismic event and I ended up completely shifted after the dust all settled. here’s the time line:
Teaching in my home town for ten years.
Classroom ELA teacher (6 years)
Theatre teacher (4 years)
Then I went from teaching in the same school for ten years to…
early retirement. As you know, I took a year off and for many reasons. It was my time to focus on Babu and let everything else go. (Including my income and my hygiene!!)
I wrote a lot. In hind sight I wish I wrote more. Isn’t it always the case? I rarely left the house, if I’m being honest with you. And suddenly that changed and my husband and I both made the decision to switch places and I started applying for a job as a teacher. IN LATE AUGUST. That meant: I was in a position to somewhat take what I could get. Also, it meant things happened FAST. I was flexible in my thinking and got offered a position in a town an hour away that I had never heard of before. I liked the feel of the school. There seemed to be actual school spirit and strong, positive leadership. (Both turned out to be true, thank the heavens!) BUT I took a job in Special Ed. I felt upended drastically for a bit. Here was the first time I was teaching “out of compliance.” I respect Special Ed and what those (now me, too!) teachers do. And now I am a teacher “on a waiver.” Now I am doing it, with the right intentions, but out of compliance. I am working on getting a lot of hoop-jumping done to get licensed.
For those of you who this is all new sounding to, basically, I am not fully qualified nor am I certified.
And that makes me feel so bad, and out of place.
So why did they hire me? Are you wondering that? It’s OK. They hired me because I rock. Really, I do! Also, I have a lot of experience working with kiddos with these types of IEPs. I have a core base of knowledge and skills. Also, I am working with several other teachers in this program who are not only fully certified, but also highly skilled.
Not only, for the first time in my life, am I a Special Ed teacher, but all of a sudden I am teaching not only ELA, but History, (not a strength) and even a little Math (my biggest fear!)
I’ll freely admit, it was not pretty at first. Everything, my whole world, was different. I’m still adjusting to a lot now, but I’m hitting my stride, loving the program, the co-teachers and especially kids I am working with, and I’m learning fast.
There is a reason I titled this post “Thank a Special Ed Teacher.” Even though I entered this position fully respecting the job, I completely underestimated the work and responsibility. Even as a teacher who worked for ten years with many Special Ed kids and forged friendships and working relationships with many Special Ed teachers, I have realized that there are many unseen, important, and time consuming responsibilities a Special Ed teacher does behind the scenes. And these teachers (and now me, too!) do all this work diligently because they care. One does not simply walk into Special Ed for the paycheck. One teaches Special Ed out of an abundance to give and a willingness to make a difference.
There will be more on this to come but the take away is this: I have just begun and I’m wowed and inspired by the work the teachers in this program and in this department are doing. I may have stumbled upon it but I landed where I belong.