Every teacher has a reason why they entered the world of education. Some say it’s because they love working with children, others say it’s because one teacher made a difference in their lives, and some will admit that it’s because they get holidays and summers off. When people ask why I became a teacher, specifically a special educator, my response is personal.
In the 4th grade, I was diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder and other special learning needs. School began to be more of a challenge; it became harder to comprehend the material and difficult to keep up. As I got older, I had teachers who didn’t “get” what I was facing. Teachers weren’t willing to think outside the box and find ways to help me succeed.
I still remember the day in Chumash class, when we learned the well known passage: “You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14). It stuck out to me. Teachers were placing stumbling blocks, so to speak, in front of me on a daily basis. What stung even more was that I was in a Jewish Day School. Shouldn’t a day school go above and beyond to be inclusive? Why was I, a student with special needs, being allowed to slip through the cracks because I learned differently?
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