To the caring teachers of the little ones with special needs.
I don’t know your background. I don’t know why you chose this profession. I don’t know where your inner strength comes from or what keeps you going. I don’t know if you will keep doing this or if you will move on to other jobs. I don’t know how much of your day you take home with you at night.
But this is what I do know:
I know you care for our children as if they were your own. I know you celebrate every single little success they have, because you know just how hard and long they had to work to achieve it. I know you watch them develop and your hopes for them go far beyond your classroom.
I know you hear the same news stories I do. I know you cringe when you hear of a teacher who hurt a nonverbal child. I know your heart aches that you have to work so hard to earn parents’ trust and you wish they knew that for every one abusive teacher of special needs children there are a hundred more that would do anything and everything to protect our children. And because you are that teacher who would do anything to protect these kids, you have no problem earning our children’s trust and earning our trust.
I know you have hard days. I know you juggle the needs of many children at once and have to work constantly to maintain the peace in the classroom. I know you stay up late working on things for the next day and stay at work late to make sure your classroom is “just so” for tomorrow. I know you have to work harder than your fellow teachers who teach typical children to think ahead for the day and to try to see and prevent potential triggers and obstacles that might make our children’s days that much harder. I know the hard days have been physical, but you press on, you don’t lose your cool and you hope tomorrow will be better.