Maybe it was because she came in not wearing her leg braces that day, but came in wearing the biggest smile you’ve ever seen that caused me to wonder how much determination liedwithin each one of my students; but especially her.
Does she ever look at others and wonder why can’t I walk like them?
Why can’t I move my body like they can?
Why can’t I jump like my friends?
I wish I could play on the playground.
In these scenarios listed, are “others” equivalent to being “normal?”
Who defines what normal actually means?
As a special education teacher, I am not a fan of the word normal. I would prefer to use the word average. (I know we often times can’t avoid the word, but when I can avoid it, I do).
With that being stated, back to my original thought- how much determination lies within each student?
I would dare to say the amount they have is infinite.
As I watch them go through a typical day in my classroom, I see many things.
One thing I see for sure is determination.
I see it everywhere.
I see it in every student; especially her.
I see it every time she asks to walk instead of riding in her chair or using her walker.
I see it every time she tries to eat independently.
I see it every time she is struggling with a fine motor activity, but never, ever gives up.
I see it every time she falls and gets right back up wearing a smile.
I can look in her eyes and see it.
And along with that look comes belief in her.
Your typical person might give up on some of my students, or say there isn’t much hope in a future for them.
I choose to disagree with popular opinion.
The amount of determination that my students have just means I must have that much more belief in them and must be one that fuels the fire for that determination that is already inside them.
However you may fit in this world, what are you doing to fuel the determination of others?
Are you an encourager or discourager?
How do you motivate or inspire others’ amount of determination?
Do you push, or do you let go?
Do you work hard, or give up?
Are you an observer, or a person of action?
How much determination do you have?
How hard do you look for determination in others?
How hard would one have to look to find determination in you?
I will end with a thought.
You’ve heard it said that it takes a special kind of person to care for a child with special needs; while I do agree with that, I want to add to that.
I believe a child with special needs will inspire you to be a special kind of person.
(Publisher’s Note: Jessica Arnold is a gifted writer, teacher in the area of elementary special education and a life long encourager of others.)