Today, one of Connor's former teachers posted a link (which I'm including here at the end) about what it is like to be a special education teacher. It made me think, and I wanted to share this, and write something about the wonderful educators who have opened up our lives.
When Connor was about 2, the social workers who worked his case with the County (since he received County services for therapies, he had a case worker) started preparing us for his entry into preschool. Despite his whole life being this way, it hadn't occurred to me that he would have a preschool to attend. We were expecting Drew at the same time, so we went back and forth between getting ready for baby and prepping Connor, and ourselves. As I've mentioned before, Connor had great caregivers at daycare, and it was hard to take him out of there. But we did, and Miss Christy was established with us, and then, the big day came.
Anyway, his first teacher, Rachael, was with him for a year, and truly educated him and us. She got us on track, helped us to understand the IEP process, and kept us informed all the time as to what was happening with him. She was, and is, wonderful. It surprised me at the end of the year that he wasn't staying there. But Rachael, like the champion she is, helped us navigate through to the next school, and teacher, Robin.
Robin had Connor for 2 years, and while her communication style differed from Rachael's, we always knew what was going on, and we could tell how much the school loved having Connor's class there. Then he had to move schools again. Another new teacher, this time, Bianca. Bianca had Connor for 3 years, and he worked so hard for her. If she called me (which happened frequently) the call almost always, always started with "No emergency." After Bianca came Liz, or H as she's called in the schools, and he's tried really hard with Liz, too, who has had to navigate around Connor's increased seizure behavior, a school change, a time change, and also her own life. She's with him now, and should be with him for another year, and then we're off to the next school, and program, and teacher (I suspect).
Each of these women have taken on so much, and we have placed our trust in them unequivocally. I marvel at their energy and love for these students, these children who cannot show their true feelings sometimes, or raise their hands in greetings. I am so, so blessed that there are people in this world whose goals are to ensure that those whose bodies have somewhat disenfranchised them still can find their voices, and express themselves, even in a small way. They each have individually, and collectively as a group as well, an amazing and collaborative spirit that is missing from many parts of the world today. We should hold up all teachers for what they do. But here, at my house, we hold up Connor's teachers a little higher. It's probably not a fair thing to do, but so far, it's what works. I hope they know, every day, how much their hard work, their frustrations, their creativity, and their love means to families like mine. It's a debt I won't ever be able to repay.
Blog posting about Special Education teachers: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2012/02/01/the-top-10-challenges-of-special-education-teachers/