How working with kids with special abilities and learning difficutlies changed the way i think about teaching

Never thought how much one student’s disability or difficulty in learning and behaviour would affect me. Affect not only the way i teach, but also the way i even comprehend life in general ! These kids are tough, difficult, easily misunderstood and sometimes they can drive you mad despite how generous and kind you are as a teacher and as a human.. But there is always a “but” in life.. but they are also quite lonely and too desperate for love and attention.

So, how do you react towards those students and most importantly how do you teach them? Common question and here’s my answer through a bit of experience. You don’t react, you approach and definitely you aren’t the only one who teaches, because as it seems to me, you are taught some stuff yourself too. Not that common as an answer? Maybe all of us working with children have come to that point, i guess!

As teachers, we are known for our endless need to help and that’s why we often feel helpless when we meet such students and understand that our help isn’s so “helpfull” to them.  As a result, we change our plans,  goals, techniques, material, we change our ways.. okay who am i kidding? We change everything, even ourselves, just to help. And why do we come to that ? Because we are and actually we should be chameleons.

The interesting fact about these students is that they are different from each other , they are unique. And it’s their dissimilarity that offers various ideas to a good , adaptive teacher. Ideas that lead him during teaching and connecting with these kids. Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge” . I came to that conclusion myself as well.

Working with a student with mental disability, i managed to change the curricula. I used helpful cards for learning the alphabet, i used music and drawing to make lessons more appealing and i tried to enstablish a friendly environment for him and his classmates. Moreover,  working with a girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a boy with Asperger syndrome, for starters , i learned how to be patient. I taught differently , i intervened in their behavioural problems, i admired their unique mind, i loved them for who they are and tried to reflect this to the other students. There are lots of things i could write down about what the gave me as a gift, as a memory, as a life experience or about how i helped them and their families. The most important i can say and be sure about it, is the amount of love that arose through these relations, love that changed my life completely and still does.

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