Psst… have you heard? Autism is on the rise.
Increase in students with autism + additional training for teachers = a win win for all!
And then I got to some comments from a special education teacher. Her words initially rubbed me the wrong way. The notable comments included:
- “It is very unmanageable; we do two jobs, but they’ve taken away our time, and now they’ve given me another class to teach and required me to go back to college.”
- “I’m gaining absolutely nothing from this except for keeping my same job.”
- “I want to teach and I want to enjoy it. I don’t want to just survive it.”
- “They knew we were going back to school and our time should’ve been respected.”
Am I being too emotional and taking the comments out of context? Am I misunderstanding what the teacher is trying to convey?
But as a parent of a child with autism (who has yet to come across a public school teacher who has been properly trained), I am a bit sensitive.
The teacher feels her time should be respected… hmm, what about all the special needs students who have had to endure years with improperly trained teachers and paras. Where is the respect for them and their valuable time to learn?
Ok, I’ll have to be honest here. My old self would have sympathized with her. I can understand her frustration.
Once upon a time, I was a teacher who was asked to take extra “English for Speakers of Other Languages” (ESOL) classes. At that time, I was a mother of two babies, trying to juggle motherhood and a full-time job. My time with my family was valuable and I resented the fact I had to take classes on Saturdays to complete my ESOL requirements. So truthfully… I guess I had similar feelings like the teacher from the article.
Now, being on the other side of the situation, I realize how crucial proper training is. Teachers have an enormous influence on their students. They spend on average, six hours a day together. Six hours a day, five days a week equals too much time with teachers who do not have the proper tools to work with students with special needs.
It takes a village to raise a child. Parents need and are desperate for the support, guidance and know how of teachers to get their children to the next level. “As is,” is not acceptable in any shape or form.
Final thought – after reading her acknowledgement that change will benefit the school district by increasing the pool of qualified teachers, I realized that maybe she needed a moment to vent her frustrations as well. Perhaps we are on the same page after all?