Thursday, September 04, 2008
It’s been a while since I experienced my first day of school—as a student, that is. This past month I’ve gone back to school, but now I’m on the “other side of the desk”.
I’m working as teacher’s assistant with special needs children at a suburban elementary school.
I’m shadowing children through out the day in their classes. I’m their “personal assistant” you could say. I’m going back to school alongside them—but I don’t have to do the homework or take the tests. Whew! I’m glad. That’s the good side of it.
The bad side is that sometimes sitting through class can be tough on a special needs child. They need lots of positive reinforcement and encouragement. But sometimes, things overwhelm them. They act out. They yell or pinch or throw items or simply whine… They aren’t really different than other kids, but sometimes their communication skills are lacking, and it’s hard to voice their frustrations in a more effective manner.
How can I motivate them? How can I help them succeed without being tempted to do things for them? I’m new to the job so I’m still learning… right along with them.
It’s true what they say—you never stop learning. Ever. And even a special needs child can teach you a thing or two about the human yearning to be yourself no matter what the rest of the world thinks or says.
A favorite quote of mine is, “God made you the way you are in order to use you as He planned.” Thank heaven the world if full of many different people so we have no excuse to stop learning!