Confessions of a Special Ed Teacher
I have a confession. I lose perspective. Often and easily. When I think I have everything planned out, and something messes up my organized plan, I freak out. Sometimes there is a change in my schedule or routine. Sometimes I get so self-consumed with my problems, and I cannot stop dwelling on them. And sometimes, I just get impatient. Impatient with others and impatient with myself. I want things taken care of–and now. Can you relate?
It’s difficult for me to admit my lack of perspective, my selfishness, and my lack of patience. I am a special education teacher, for crying out loud. But it’s true, nonetheless. I have to make the effort to find perspective and selflessness and patience over and over again.
I never realized how much I could actually learn from my students, even though I am their teacher. My students get anxious in the snap of a finger when something doesn’t go their way.
He can’t solve the math problem, and he just wants to give up. Her handwriting isn’t perfect, so she is unable to move on to the next activity. He didn’t earn a sticker, so his day is ruined. She wouldn’t play with him at recess. He won the game in PE, and that wasn’t fair. She doesn’t know how to spell that word and the world has just ended, and on and on it goes…
As their teacher, their advocate, their trustworthy and safe adult, it is so easy for me to see the bigger picture and to support them through those moments of anxiety and confusion. Sometimes just giving my students my time and attention can make a world of difference. And at times they need some perspective from someone who isn’t 7 years old. Sometimes they need me to help them express their feelings. Or give them the words to say. Or the strategies to cope and reflect, and move forward.
This makes me think about how God sees us. When we lose perspective, His presence can calm our anxious hearts. When we lose perspective, His promises give us a better glimpse into His bigger picture. He has a great plan for our life.
When I lose perspective, God shows up and offers His way. The best way. He says, “Ali, I love you. I am here for you. You are not a failure. You are my child. I made you just the way you are, and that is beautiful to me. Trust me. I will help you through this.”
My students will probably never realize how much they’ve taught me. Especially how much I’ve learned about God’s love. I am so thankful to my students for their honesty, perseverance, and bravery. I hope I can continue to become more honest, more perseverant, and more brave like them.
I'm Ali. I write about my journey of living a full and healthy life with food allergies, overcoming the comparison trap, and cultivating authenticity.