One of the components of our agency is a really excellent special education department. There are numerous programs that exist within the department that are designed to meet the needs of a variety of learners. During Halloween and the holiday season, our special education students come visit us in our School Services Building.
I tend to get dressed up (during Halloween I was Spider-Man; for the holidays I dressed up as Olaf from Frozen) and welcome the students as they come in (or greet them as they pass by our Curriculum area).
Each time our students join us, it proves to be a sobering experience. As a parent, I am often amazed at how much our teachers have helped these students to accomplish, and humbled by how much praise is doled out for a head nod or the making of eye contact. I’m often ashamed at how much I take for granted when it comes to my own children. How can I get so frustrated with some of their behaviors, when we could only hope those behaviors would be shown by many of the learners in our special education programs?
But most of all, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work in an agency that supports students with such severe needs, and I’m grateful for the chance to interact with these students, and to rebalance myself into realizing just how special these students are, and just how lucky I am to have children of my own whose needs, while important, are much easier to meet.
We have to put ourselves in situations that humble us regularly. We can never allow our egos to get to big, or allow ourselves to believe we are “better” than we really are. I believe humility is a key component to being an effective leader and learner.
For me, the experiences of spending time with our students serves as a way to keep me grounded and humble, and remind me that for all of the stress and tension I might feel in my own personal or professional life, I am incredibly blessed.
We all need to make sure we take the time to put ourselves in that frame of mind.