I Signed Up For This

Being a special education teacher, they say, is extra challenging. I didn’t realize that until I accepted the offer to shadow teach a student with autism. Well, I thought it was simple until I experience it myself.

When I accepted this job, I had a different objective. All I care about is the money I’d get and the experience that would be of help for my master’s class. 

But along the way something has changed. My motive was changed. My goal was changed. My heart was changed. I was changed.

My role as a shadow teacher was specific: prompt the child, keep him from distracting and help him be independent.

However, demands came, I took responsibilities that was beyond what I signed up for and nobody received a complain from me. I willingly accepted them. There was pressure; people expect a positive outcome and put too much trust. And then pride, I felt that my reputation was at stake though nobody is actually criticizing.

I need money but it’s no longer the priority. I don’t mind how hard this job is and I give no room for complacency and mediocrity. 

I may never be able to feel how these parents and children with special needs feel, but I understand and I care. But I feel either pity or sympathy for them. I only have compassion – putting myself in their shoes and reaching out a hand to at least make them feel better.

I understood what I signed up for but, you see, I do ask for two things: trust that I know what I am doing and support that I can do this.

I may wrestle for five minutes every after two hours everyday and get exhausted physically or ran out of strategies to win this kid’s heart or fail to dodge the flying wooden block and get hurt in the lower lip or be slapped for at least three times, but I’m not putting my hands in the air.

But I almost did though. Nobody saw the frustrations, disappointments and emotional struggles I had every time my strategies fail or when he doesn’t care about my pain or when I think something is improving but then the next day everything is back to its old routine or when people think that you’re not doing your best.

I almost gave up because my eyes were focused to what’s dim and blurry. Nonetheless, I realized that the room wasn’t at all pitch black hence I saw a glimmer of light. And I’m fixing my eyes on that flicker.

Yes there were excessive tantrums, manipulations, insistence and wrestlings but there were also moments of embraces, kisses and smiles and countable times of control, obedience,  and cooperation.

I cherish it and make a memoir. I encourage myself to move forward and never quit.

Some people may don’t believe in you but at least yourself do. In the end, you’re the only one who could help yourself.


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