Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to involve myself to work with children. Not too long ago, I could not figure out exactly what I wanted to do career-wise, although I knew it was to aid children. After graduating from community college, I decided to apply as a special education instructional assistant, it sure made my fears about my future much clearer. Working in that field opened my eyes on what I should be doing and that is making a difference to these exceptional children who have the ability to reach their full potential. My purpose and desires are to benefit exceptional learners, it’s what makes me an educator.
I believe children with disabilities that receive special education should not have a title to them because people portray them as being different from other children but in reality, they do have similarities to those who do not have a disability. In my opinion, a disability is a person who is in need of support and encouragement due to their limits of learning and major life activities. According to Hallahan, Kauffman, and Pullen (2019), “…the most important characteristics of exceptional learners are their abilities, not their disabilities.” (p. 5), to add to that, we cannot fade these learners from society, schools, or the workplace due to their inability to do things.
When “normal” people are not educated or do not have an open mind about any kind of disability, they will just assume negative concepts about it. There will always be ignorant and insensitive people who think a certain way about those who have a disability, but to handle disabilities in society is inclusion. I believe in less discrimination towards them and more social inclusion. Not all people will think negatively about disabilities but what we can do is to start informing others. All children should be taught the right way on how to treat their peers, not only children with a disability, but children in general in their schools. We should rejoice these exceptional learners for their differences, treat them with fairness, and appreciate the complexity of diversity.
We, the educators teach exceptional learners to maximize their abilities. In order to that, we should provide and accommodate as much support exceptional learners need. They need to be in a classroom setting that suits students with the learning needs they need to achieve. This can be being placed in smaller groups or a less crowded classrooms. Being in small groups can help the student learn at their best. Although sometimes being in a small group is beneficial, it is important that including exceptional learners too. In the article by Understood Team (2019), “Studies show that inclusion is beneficial for all students-not just for those who get special education services. Research shows that inclusive education has positive short-term and long-term effects on students”. Teachers use an inclusive instruction classroom to support and help students make progress.
There are many ways on how the education of students with disabilities should look like and it should look like these students who are using their ability to reach their maximum potential. Educators may face ethical considerations when working with special education students. An example would be writing appropriate IEP goals. Educators have high expectations of their students but as long as they are reasonable. When writing an IEP, students should be learning and achieving their goals when the material is at their level. Another consideration would be the case manager for multiple students because they are expected to make numerous decisions and therefore it could be pressure on educators. My viewpoint of education is to make sure I am a supportive and caring educator for the exceptional learners I continue to work with.
Now being an educator to exceptional learners has opened my eyes. I serve students with relatively both high-incidence and low-incidence disabilities. I aid in a classroom with two boys with high-functioning autism, one boy had a traumatic brain injury that affected his learning, and one boy who has intellectual disability. It’s amazing to see the difference I am making in our classroom and to their lives because I have seen so much improvement since last school year. I plan to continue and eventually become a special education teacher and of course, will be serving children with disabilities.
In order to meet the needs of children, I make sure there is consistency in the classroom, I focus on study skills and extra support, and collaborate with my co-workers. I notice working with math and reading programs, it benefits my students so much that they get excited when they get the correct answer. That motivates and makes me happy because they are happy with themselves and they see those achievements they are making. Some barriers that could get in the way to meet the needs of the students is a lack of resources, lack of individualization, and no support from the staff and principles.
I believe a teacher’s identity does certainly affect the learning environment and classroom because the classroom will be based on values and their belief system. The way I show my identity is important because it shows the environment of the classroom with kindness and discipline. Just to be an educator is an overall goal, but one long-term goal I do have for myself is to continue preparing my current and eventually future students, help with the growth they need, transition academically and to the community as well.
Many people tend to focus more on the differences between special education and general education students. We should focus on what they have in common rather than what is different because my general philosophy of education is that there is no difference between the two and that all children have the ability to learn, no matter what disability they have. We have to be an advocate to all children and must care for their needs. As said before, my purpose is to benefit exceptional learners and I want to further my career continuing to make a difference.