Thinking about where I am right now in my life makes me reflect back to where I came from. It took me while to really understand what it was that I wanted to do with my life. I knew I loved kids and would be great at working with them but wasn’t finished with my degree so in the process I became a teacher’s assistant. My first year working I was placed in a general education setting and I LOVED it. It was the end of the school year and we found out that started the following school year we would be getting two special education classes.
It was a small school and this was back in the late 90’s so this was the first time that special ed children would be in our building. It didn’t really phase me until the administrators approached me and said they wanted to assist the teacher in a special ed class. I didn’t tell them but I was scared. I never really had to deal with what I thought at the time to be “special ed kids” I had this picture in my head. To be honest I was stereotyping them in this little box…What would they look like, how would they behave, did I really have what it would take to help them..This is just a sample of what went through my thoughts.
The first day back to school I was so nervous…and here they all came off the bus. They were adorable!! Little kindergartners with there brand new backpacks that were bigger than their little bodies. Holding on tight to there lunch boxes looking up at me for that look that everything was going to be alright. It was right there in that moment I knew this is where I was suppose to be. I knew these kids needed me and I was about to learn a lot of valuable things that my future self would one day need. The first few months were difficult I had to learn how to “fix” myself not them. I had adjust the way I did things so they would connect to what I wanted them to learn. I had plenty of moments of frustration but I had to learn to work through them. These children were counting on us more so than the average student. I worked with great teachers and together we made magic happen. I loved going to work. We had fun and the kids flourished because they could feel how much we loved them and wanted them to learn. Little did I know those years working with in special education setting was going to support me in where my life is now.
I often think, what if I said “no” when the administrators asked me to work with special education classes. I know things would probably be different with my son. I am so thankful that I put my trust in God and went forward with that. I believe with all my heart that there are no coincidences. My journey with special needs started back in the 90’s and came full circle when my son was born in 2008.
We all have those moments in our life when we are thinking why is this happening to me. I thought that many many times. I definitely thought that when I was asked to work in special ed all those years ago but I thank God I jumped in and saw the beauty in each child I worked with. I learned how to work with each child in a unique way that they would connect to. I learned all the skills that I now use with both my kids on an everyday basis. Life is journey and sometimes the path we are on right now may not seem ideal or what we pictured. I have learned to stop and and understand the moments. Why am I here? What am I learning? What does this say about me and how can this make me a better person.
I don’t know if those years working with special needs kids made me see the signs so early with my son. I do know that I am trusting my journey that God has laid out for me. I am doing my best to see the lesson to be learned in each day.