I have been many persons in my life, some of which are student, mother and employee. Each of these persons has a distinct reason for wanting to teach. The first, the student, wants to teach because of the examples shown by the first teacher in her life. She was a fifth grade teacher who every year would put on a play with her class. This was done outside of her required teaching, it was done on her time. She enjoyed making stars out of every child involved and seeing the joy on their parents faces as they watched their child up on stage. She also was the teacher who built model rockets every year with her students and at the end of the year on a Saturday, the whole class would meet at the park and launch them. Her students spoke so highly of this project that little brothers and sisters would eagerly await their chance to be in her class. This was a teacher who felt such joy with her job that she would greet every day with a smile and an eagerness to get to work. She has passed that trait on to me as I am the para that always showed up for work 45 minutes early so students who wanted extra help could come in before school. I have never woke up and not wanted to go into work, and that is a richness money can’t buy. This teacher was my mother, who then became the best Assistant Principal that Florida ever had.
The second, the mother, wants to teach special education due to the fact that I have been involved in special education my son’s whole life. I have seen the best and the worst it has to offer and would like to copy the best and pass it on. Shane started school in Florida at age three. He then went to school in Maine and now in Kansas. As a mother I would like to think that I have always known what is best for my child. I would like to think that, but the truth is there have been times when the teacher has known better than I. Without some of the caring teachers Shane has had in his life, he may not have had some of the wonderful opportunities that were offered to him. His teachers were able to look at Shane in a different light. They were there to encourage him to try new things that I as his mother thought were not possible. They were also there to encourage me to sit back a little and watch him grow. To allow Shane to try new things, and possibly fail, but try. My son’s special education teachers on average not only taught their students, but their student’s families as well. Their students weren’t always in the classroom. I have always loved the movie “Pay it Forward”, and I believe teaching special education will be my way to pay it forward.
The last person, the employee, wants to continue her education and get her degree in teaching Special Education in the middle or high school level. This was something I had thought was a pipe dream, something whose time had passed me by and was not meant to be. I was in college years ago when I became a divorced mother of a special needs child. I left school and worked to raise Shane. That dream was put to sleep. When I moved to Kansas and worked as a para in special education I loved it. But what I really loved was hearing the teachers I worked for telling me over and over that a degree doesn’t make a teacher. That I was a natural teacher and should think about going back to school. I shortly became sick after moving here, but as soon as I felt things were better I started thinking about what they said. With their encouraging words and the support of my family I decided it was time. Dreams don’t have to die. Maybe I was supposed to get my degree later so that I could bring my life’s experiences into my education. All I know is that I am eagerly looking forward to the first day in my new classroom as a teacher.