I have been teaching full time in Special Education now for three years. It is a field fraught with challenges, behavioural and academic, political and paperwork-related, technological and time-wise. Yet I have met students in these three years, and some before these three years, that I will never forget, and that is due to the Special Education field.

The terminology and models related to Special Education / Special Needs / Student Support Services / Services Delivery are in a state of constant flux. I have been a teacher, special educator, student support services representative, instructional resource teacher, all in the last three years. Labels have changed, terminology become more diverse, and models much more inclusive and strict.

Yet with all the changes, one thing remains the same: the kids availing of services. They are the ones I think about when I am inundated with meetings, paperwork, assessments, applications, report writing, and the million and one other things that I am unable to name. When I become frustrated with changing policies and directives, I stop, think of the faces I look at every day and force myself to look at the bigger picture.

For better or worse, the changes that are occurring are going to keep occurring. They, while sometimes messy and problematic, will eventually bring up to a place where our education system is inclusive and services are delivered to all who need them, from the students who are gifted, right across the spectrum to those beautiful children requiring a functional curriculum.

I have bad days, when I find it difficult to function, smile, or work at coaxing smiles and effort out of others. But more often than not, I am proud to be a teacher in the field of special education, where I know that if I teach someone one thing, despite all the other issues that I face daily, that I will have made a difference. I look forward to the system we will eventually have in its entirety, and until then, I will continue to do my part in working towards the betterment of our educational system. And on my next bad day, I'm going to have one of my students tell me his joke, for the thousandth time, about the chicken escaping the KFC man. You ask me, that's a hell of a good reason to cross the road. Now that's perspective for you!
 


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