My book, You are Not Broken, was written in response to a situation in which one of my students broke down crying and declared that she was working with me because she was, "stupid." Stupid is a term I never permit my students to use when it comes to describing themselves. When she used that word, I was determined to prove her wrong. The result was this book. I intend to publish it this year because it encompasses an important and vital message for any child who feels that they are not enough.
There are several reasons why I became a special education teacher. I believe quality instruction that matches student need can have an enormous impact on a child's ability to close the gap with peers. I believe that all students can achieve their goals with the right guidance, support, and encouragement from adults who believe in them. The most meaningful reason I became a special education teacher is because I understand why students who receive the label "special education," feel inadequate.
I was not a student who received special education services in school. Learning to read, write and do basic math came easy for me. However, though I do not have a specific learning disability, I relate to feelings of inadequacy. In 2004, after my diagnosis, I loathed who I was and lived under an umbrella of shame for many years. As I have worked on my sense of self-worth this past year, I now understand that my condition does not define who I am nor what I am capable of. My own experience of dealing with these negative opinions about myself is what makes me an amazing special education teacher. I not only work on the skills necessary to assist my students in building academic success, I also foster their belief in themselves and their potential in this world.
The images above are bruises I received following a bike accident in June. While it was embarrassing to take a spill on a particularly busy intersection in my community, I surprised myself by dusting off, getting back on my bike, and pedaling home in peace. In my case, bruising did not equal brokenness. I am full of excitement over what this next year has in store for me. Stay tuned. Good things are ahead. 'Til next time.