Why I became a special education teacher…
I was recently asked why I wanted to become a special education teacher. I thought I would share this with you on this blog. As a sophomore in college, I was “undecided” as a major. I did not know what to do with my life. There was so much pressure to decide what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Deciding your major in college is one of the toughest decisions as a college student. As a child growing up, my parents talked to me about becoming a doctor or a lawyer. In Asian families, there is lots of pressure among the children to do something prestigious. Of course, all they want for their children is to be successful. There were some things I knew for sure. One of the things I knew is that I did not want to become a doctor or a lawyer. What I did know was that I wanted to help people and make a difference. Even though I can do that as a doctor, I knew I couldn’t handle blood or the sight of it.
While I was a junior and senior in high school, my older brother talked to me about his experience working in summer camps with children with special needs. He shared stories with me and brought home pictures of happy children in wheelchairs and other various disabilities. I was inspired and definitely curious. I admired him and the people who he worked with. This was the first time I saw children in wheelchairs. I was like a little boy asking his dad questions about trains and cars.
In college, there was a small school where children with special needs went to school. The school for special needs children was in the School of Education building on my college campus. I thought about my brother and his stories at the camp for children with disabilities. I was interested then and wanted to work with children with disabilities as my brother did. Towards the middle of sophomore year, I volunteered in the school. I was there 2-3 times every week balancing my studies and volunteering at the school. There were students in wheelchairs and ambulatory students. They were all on various cognitive developmental levels. Some students had to be fed and changed having limited mobility. Some students had physical therapy, occupational therapy and vision services. After making observations, asking questions and volunteering for almost six months, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Those six months flew by and I learned so much. I was inspired and motivated to do this… I knew my major was going to be Intensive Special Education and I knew I wanted to be a special needs teacher. I was looking forward to completing my junior and senior year in the School of Education and also received my master’s degree in Intensive Special Education. My brother and the teachers I worked with at the small school on my college campus inspired me! I came to a conclusion that all children can learn. Each child is a unique individual having their own way of learning. Each child deserves respect whether he/she has a disability or not. As I wrote in the post “A Little About Me,” My decision to become a teacher has to do with my passion to make a difference in the lives of people. My work philosophy is based on the belief that each student is a unique and valuable person who should be treated with respect. I view students in a holistic manner and acknowledge their need for support services in all areas of their development.