Why I Chose To Be A Special Education Teacher

For those of you who are new here, my name is Lucy. Hello, nice to meet you! I have been teaching self contained preschool for the past six years. I didn’t just wake up one day and think “Hmm I think I’ll be a teacher.” There was a lot of influencing factors in my life that lead me to this rewarding, never dull, chaotic, and fun career choice.

My Personal Special Needs

I grew up in your average loving home. Dinner was at six and you came home when the street lights came on. Pretty typical stuff. However, I was not so typical. Growing up I was a handful. As early as four my parents knew there was something different about me. I would have in-explainable outbursts and full blown meltdowns. Throwing toys, crying, and just plain old tantrums. I also had some unusual behaviors and an excessive need for order. Ill spare you the details and fast forward to third grade. I was diagnosed with anxiety and OCD.

This was ( and still can be) a MAJOR hurdle in my life. It kept me from going to school consistently, maintaining friends, and succeeding academically all throughout k-8. As a kid you can not wrap your head around what the heck is going on with your mind and body or why you can not control it. Needless to say, I was “different.”

These differences help me empathize with student’s and their frustration. I understand what its like to not be “normal,” to not be in control of your thoughts and actions, to need an extra hand. My own differences drove me to become an educator so I could help the not so cookie cutter kiddos.

Educational Experience

This “difference” was vary obvious to my teachers. Some were more accepting than others. I can remember as early as fifth grade being told I’ll be lucky if I make it to high school. (Spoiler alert, I made it to high school). At his point I was able to understand my disability, learn my triggers, and begin to navigate how to cope. I also learned how important it was to be my own advocate. I gained confidence and learned not to let it define me. I educated my teachers on what my needs were and how I needed them to help me. Again, some were not so accepting of this. Once again I was told I would not succeed and make it to college. Well, not only did I make it through college but I also got my Masters.

The doubters, the ones that put me down, the teachers who told me I could not all motivated me to become a teacher. To become a teacher that accepts all their students, addresses every student individually, and meets every student’s needs. I wanted to ensure that no child ever felt shamefully of their differences.

Bornhava

In the sixth grade my class was tasked with a community service project at a place called Bornhava. We were to plant flowers in multiple beds through the facility grounds. Bornhava is an early intervention preschool and soon would steal a huge part of my heart.

As we planted the flowers I would peak into the classroom window. I was so intriged! It looked like the students were having so much fun, and lets face it they were pretty darn cute. After we were finished with our job, we were invited in to play with the kids. Right then and there I knew this was going to be my future. I was hooked! For the next seven summers I volunteered at Bornhava until they would officially hire me. I worked as a 1:1 aide and eventually a teacher’s assistant. I even did my student teaching at Bornhava. Bornhava is a Danish term for early education programs with a home like an environment. Bornhava is truly a second home for me.

I Wouldn’t Have it any other way.

Everyone ALWAYS says teachers are not in it for the money. Trust me, we are not! I’ll be the first to admit I have second job and small personal business to supplement my income. Why don’t you get a different job then? Because there is no other job for me! I can not imagine doing anything else besides being an educator! Teaching is in my blood. It’s my passion. I love being able to help others to live a more independent and fulfilling life. I love the hugs, the hand made presents, and the smile a kiddo gets when it finally clicks. The tears, snotty noses, scrapped knees,tantrums, politics, and ENDLESS amount of paperwork are all worth it for that one moment you see a smidgen of progress. Teaching is not for the weak. Teaching special ed preschool especially. But it’s what I love and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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