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 disabilities. 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 environment 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 rhythm and speed of processing information. I learn to never underestimate my nonverbal 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 strengths, helping them shine while trying to improve their weaknesses.
What I've learnt 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 disabilities 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 every day for the most common things that most of us take for granted.
A New School Year
Back in June, I reflected on all the curriculum we covered and all the fun we had. I always really enjoy my last few weeks when things start to really wind down at the college and we enjoy walks on campus and visit the nearby community of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. I always end the year off with a celebration lunch where I say my goodbyes until the end of August. Now that August is here, I start to get excited for a new school year where anything is possible! I especially 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 grateful to my students for teaching me so many important life lessons and helping me become the teacher that I am!
BY: ANGELA MACIOCIA
Angela is a Mother of 2 awesome boys, wife, athlete, runner, dog lover, clean eating cooking fanatic, and an adult special education teacher. Angela blogs to share her journey, life experiences, training, meals, & health/wellness tips in hopes of helping, guiding, inspiring and most of all connecting with others. Angela has two boys ages 14 and 11. Her youngest is on the Autism Spectrum and her oldest has an ADHD diagnosis. She’s been in the field of special needs for over 20 years! She currently works for the Lester B Pearson school board. You can follow Angela at www.Angelamaciocia.com