My middle son started at a new school in 2012. The entire year was beautifully uneventful. Those teachers and instructional assistants kick some serious butt. I can’t believe it. For the first time in all of my son’s school life… people get it! They really get it. Not only have they kept my son safe which due to past experiences had me living in terror but he is also learning. He is assisting a school specifically for children with special needs. Wheelchairs all over the place, Autism just flamboyantly making the campus shine, a principal that makes her love for her staff, students and parents just come out of her pores and activities such as open houses and back to school nights that just amaze me. For such activities, to my surprise, the TEACHERS and staff volunteer and make one heck of an event. All of this with a smile.
All of last school year I was afraid to even compliment. I was mortified at the fact that I just might rock the boat. I was worried to count my eggs before they hatched but I can’t hold it in anymore and I have to tell everyone about this school. These people have beyond proved themselves and their loyalty to EVERYONE involved in the care of these children but more importantly… to these children. This is a true example of what a school should be. I feel that I am a part of my son’s life even while he is at school. The notes, the calls, the care. I am so happy that you can pretty much say I’m in love! I’m in love with all of it.
The school is far from my home and one of three I have to go to every day but I have gotten used to the driving and this place is totally worth it.
As I walk past some of these classrooms what I see sometimes makes me so emotional. Not because of sadness but more like an overwhelming happiness that makes the tears start coming out of my eyes. I’m not kidding. They TEACH these children, they sing to them, they give them responsibilities, they believe in these children and they believe in themselves. Their approach is not one that can be taught as it isn’t just “technique” but more like, you either have it in you to be this way or you don’t. They have “it” and it’s very obvious.
My son’s behaviors have escalated once again. Over the summer they got pretty bad. The hitting himself, the biting himself, the chewing the shirts… all bad. Over the summer we had our very good days and our extremely bad days. We push through, we work with whatever comes our way and we hope for a better tomorrow. It’s what we do.
Then school started again in August and the same thing. Good days, bad days and horrible days but guess what… these people work through it. They are so honest with me. They don’t hold back and I have more than once told them how much I appreciate their honesty. When anyone sugar coats things then I start to wonder why, it makes me wonder if they are lying or if they are doing something insane that never allows them to see the bizarre behaviors my son has. They tell me about his day. They make suggestions. We try to figure things out. They always say… “See you tomorrow” and “tomorrow” they greet my son with a smile, it’s a new day. Yesterday… is a thing of the past.
My son’s instructional assistant is a wonderful woman. I have to say she’s the best he’s ever had. This woman is gentle with my son but also knows how to be firm with my son when the moment calls for it. I know she cares and I know she loves my son. She totally gets that my Angel is my life, my everything and I have so much respect for her because of it. I never thought a person like this woman existed to be the one working with my son but she does and I see her go above and beyond every day. Thank you!
My son’s teacher: What a fantastic woman. I see a little problem, I tell her about it and it gets taken care of. She doesn’t see herself or act like a babysitter. She is there to teach! She is there to support her staff and she is there to work with me so that there is consistency. This is a woman that seems happy with what she has chosen to do for a living. All of these years I can honestly say that I’ve met very few special education teachers like that. This teacher is the full package and I hope she continues throughout her career with the same passion. Thank you!
The other staff in my son’s classroom (instructional assistants): Wow! Seriously, this classroom is “the dream team”. They work so well with each other. And I’m not talking about teaming up against the parent type working together as other staff at other schools have done. I’m talking about their complete understanding of responsibilities and their obvious and genuine desire to be there. Their desire to help the kids, their desire to make every day better. I feel very comfortable saying that they too… LOVE MY SON. In fact, they love every kid in that class. Thank you!
Very recently, on my son’s birthday I got to finally celebrate it in his classroom and I was given the opportunity to bring in some food, cupcakes and treats. I was given the opportunity to interact with the children in my son’s classroom and the staff. I was floating; seriously, I was beside myself with joy. The children were so comfortable with the staff and even with me. I got to see first hand what the environment is like for them every day and I have to say that I LOVED IT!
While there the fire alarms went off and half way through a plate of food everyone had to exit their classrooms. The teacher looked at me and said “out of all days, it happens when you are here.” I thought it would get chaotic, I thought the kids would get out of control but let me tell you; NOT at all. Each instructional assistant grabbed a few kids, the teacher grabbed a folder from a specific drawer, a snack bag and a few trinkets for the kids to be entertained. They walked out of the classroom and on to the field. We were stopped in a specific area and so I just observed after that. Wheel chair after wheel chair being pushed out onto the field. My eyes started to water and I was suddenly choking. Not because I was sad but because I’ve never seen so many people care so much at the same time. The school staff was quick and on a mission to bring these kids to safety and it made me so proud that THIS IS MY SON’S SCHOOL! I am so grateful that I was there for this as it just confirmed what I felt for this school. LOVE!!
To all that work at my beautiful son’s beautiful school… THANK YOU! It means the world to me that people like you exist and that my son and I get to be a part of your wonderfulness.
“Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr