This year has been hard, real hard for me. My group of students this year has been tough- we have not had a good mix of kids all year. I’m not complaining, it’s my job and I love what I do- but I will acknowledge that it drains you. Add to that the coursework I am taking for my Master’s program and there are times I feel like I am overwhelmed. I think as I continue to get closer to completing this program the more I am afraid to. I don’t want this license added to my file, I don’t want this label attached to me.
I don’t want this label attached to me
I had to type that, it is what I feel with such passion- but it also is something that is so petty I am almost ashamed.
I do not want the label of “Special Education” teacher attached to me. It is NOT what I went into teaching for, it is something I have been assigned to do. Funny how that sounds like what we do to our students every day. Our students have to go to school, not that they want to. They are assigned work to do, not work that find interesting or inspiring. I need to remember that.
Another problem with the label of “Special Education” is that is also makes me keenly aware of how prejudice is part of our lives. I rebel against the though of having a label- just as much as students do not want the label of LD, OHD, EBD, FAS, Autism, etc. Many students (and their parents as well) do not want the stigma associated with having special educational needs- it is still seen as a defect, that you are broken. As I get closer and closer to this license, I get closer and closer to feeling broken. I don’t feel I will have the same opportunities I would have without it, that I will be forever pigeon-holed into a role that I never wanted. How many of my (or your) students could say this same thing? How can I ever be confident that future administrators will view me for my knowledge in Mathematics, not my ability to work with students of special needs? Will I ever get the opportunities to teach AP classes, or even at the college level- which is something that I have always desired since I became a teacher? As I take this journey I am keenly aware of how this influences students. I am not so self-centered as to believe I can understand the situations of those students, or that I should even be considered to be in the same category. But I do have a better awareness of it.
Passion. It is something that has everything to do about student interest and learning. I am taking these classes because I have to. I am not passionate about it, and I can tell. I struggle with reading assignments, with completing work. I see the importance of the classes, it is hard to make myself care about it. I see the connections it can have for me and my job, but I can’t find the passion to make me explore options like I would with mathematical practices. This is what our kids feel when they walk in the classroom, and I totally get it.
How do we create passion in our kids? If I or anyone else had the answer for that- that would apply to all students- they would be so sought after that they would have no life other than PD. We all know bits and pieces of the puzzle, and we all have to keep pushing to find that spark of passion in all of our students. They may not be passionate about every part of math, but I believe that every student has some type of math passion in them. Go find it, build relationships with your students, understand them, find their passions- they are the gateway to great learning opportunities. Because…