All My Readers,

As a Chicken Soup co-author I’m always looking for your stories to share with everyone else.  Not too long ago I did a “call out” to my members asking for heartwarming stories and was overwhelmed with over 2500 submissions.  I know you will enjoy hearing from others so I am going to be sharing them with you on a weekly basis.  Here is the fourth one from Cristy Bobbett!

Children Are The True Educators

By Cristy Bobbett 

I have been a special education teacher in fully inclusive classrooms for the West Genesee School District since 2003.  Prior to that, I taught at Edward Smith Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District for 12 years.  My students have Autism, Down Syndrome, CP, ED, etc.  Many of my students are/were non-verbal, and many of them are no longer non verbal.  Many were non readers, and now are reading.  I have been blessed in my job and thought I would share with you some of my thoughts. 

I have been working with and teaching children with special needs for the past 18 years.  In that time I have come to the realization that the children, my students, have actually been teaching me.  I will never be able to fully explain in words what these beautiful children and their families have done for my perspective on life as well as for the beauty that I see every day in people.  Children with special needs have so much to teach us if we allow them to.

I have learned through doing, that fully inclusive classrooms (if done right) are not only successful places for all students, but actually amazing places where everyone; students, teachers and administrators become better learners, teachers, friends, and people.

I have learned that there are no limits to what children with special needs can do.  We as educators, parents and neighbors are the ones with limits.  Limits that we put on children when we can’t see the way to make a situation work. 

I have learned that the families of children with special needs are some of the most special families this world has to offer.  I have witnessed unbelievable acts of selflessness, love, courage, perseverance and grace from the parents, grandparents and siblings of the children I have had the honor to teach.

I have learned to think deeper, analyze more critically and prioritize the true goal of a situation, job or experience is, in order to adapt or modify myself, the surroundings, materials or curriculum, so that all children can reach their full potential every day.

I have learned that sometimes the best thing you can do is back away and let children figure things out for themselves.  Young children can and will make friends everywhere they go, especially if we, the adults get out of their way.

I have learned that there is no other job in the world that would allow me to spend my time trying to help others and better other people’s lives while my life is actually being improved and bettered in ways that can not be measured.

I have learned to be thankful for everyday, no matter what it brings and to look forward to each September hoping that I can give as much to the children and families that walk into my classroom as they give to me.

Cristy Bobbett
M.S. Special Education