This is the start of a series of posts that I thank some of those teachers in my life that have influenced me. Thanks Meg for the inspiration.
I want to thank my first teachers, my parents. Yes, I could write about they loved, supported, and helped me throughout the years, but hopefully most people can say that about their parents. Instead, I am going to talk about the lessons they taught me about education. Both of my parents are retired special education teachers. Actually, my dad retired from the public school system and now teaches at a county juvenile justice center.
- All students need to interact with lots of different types of students. My dad worked at a school, when I was young, where the highest need students went. Some of these students were in wheelchairs. Others had challenges communicating. My dad made sure that we went to family nights at the school. They also had us visit during summer school. I still remember the students’ names and faces. My mom spent time in a middle school at the end of her career with students with similar disabilities. She worked with the dean to get some of the frequent visitors to the office to spend time working in her class. The number of visits to the office decreased because the students loved being in my mom’s class and being needed. These interactions taught me more about Least Restrictive Environment than any college class did.
- Be available for your students even after they leave your classroom. At the end of my dad’s career, he was a high school behavior disordered teacher. I can remember several former students calling my dad at home when they got in trouble. He and my mom would calmly work with them to help solve the problem. My mom also got calls from parents after they moved states to ask how to advocate for their children.
- Be passionate and reflective. I still remember my parents talking to each other about educational policy. They talked about what happened at work and how to improve. This practice has transferred to me. On Sundays, my parents and I talk about our week. They help me reflect on ways to improve.
- Continue to grow. My parents are constant learners. They read, reflect and grow. They may have each over 30 years but it was never the same year. They are still current teachers and talk about educational trends. Both of my parents were inspired by my blogging. My dad is actively working to create wild readers at his juvenile justice center. He has some powerful ways and is thinking about how to share this information. Together we set up a blog account for him. I can’t wait for everyone to read what he has to say.
Thank you Mom and Dad! I am an amazing educator because you have done an excellent job modeling what a teacher is. I would not be here without your love and support.