Shabby Miss Jenn

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Apology

I am a former special education teacher.  It is not a position that I sought out, but rather, it is a position that sort of chose me. 

When I moved to TX in the fall of 2003, I decided that it was finally time to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I always had the desire to teach, but for whatever reason, I had avoided that path.  I enrolled in a program to become certified and also applied to become a substitute teacher.  My very first sub position was in a special education self-contained classroom as an assistant, which turned into a seven week long term job.  When I walked into that classroom, I didn't know what autism was.  I didn't know much about Down's Syndrome except that the kids were "so cute and sweet".  Needless to say, I didn't have a clue about an IEP or an ARD or what the heck LRE meant.  However, I quickly learned that I had finally discovered my calling.  That next school year, a teaching position opened at that same school, for those same group of kids.

In August 2004, my journey began.  I really, truly thought I was an empathetic teacher; not only with the students but with the parents.  Even though I didn't have their same experiences, I really tried to "walk a mile in their shoes" when making decisions.  Two and a half years later, I realized my empathy was probably really sympathy.  As nice and understanding as I tried to be, there was no way I could possibly understand their lives.  At least not to the depth of what I thought.  On May 22, 2007, that realization hit home like a ton of bricks.  As four and a half years have passed by, I have grown and learned so much more about disabilities than any book could ever teach me.  Having Wade has made me second guess a lot of decisions I made as a teacher.  I came across a blog a couple weeks ago that sums up my feelings exactly.  This blogger has managed to share the same thoughts, feelings, and regrets that I have had for the past four years.  The title of her post is:  An Apology From Your Child's Former Teacher.

Instead of writing my own apology letter, I thought I'd just let her letter speak for me.  You can click here to read it.  Honestly, I couldn't have said it any better.  I hope you enjoy reading Leigh's post.  The rest of her blog is amazingly honest and "real" as well.  Definitely a blog to place on your list of readings!


Leigh said...

Thanks so much for sharing your experience as well. Nice to know I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Jennifer said...

Thanks Leigh! Your blog is certainly hitting home with me.

dannette said...

I was a special education teacher too and really thought I got "it" as I cared and loved my students. Now that we are parenting two kiddos with special needs - wow, I have learned so much more than I thought I knew! We chose this journey through fostering and adoption, so I think our journey is a bit different in knowing kind of what we were choosing and I did have one former student's mom exclaim - "why would you choose this life". Anyways, amazing how live can put the blinders on. There are times I would like to talk with certain former students' parents, but honestly some were so wrapped up in bitterness and blaming that no matter how good my intentions - never enough. I choose to forge ahead with my girls with an open heart and mind and to not get bitter or overly angry as that really gets doors slamming shut. I will try to guide when someone needs guided, but again I will chose to live in the moment with my girls and know that all that are working with us are only human.