There is nothing like working in a supportive environment.
In honor of Autism Awareness month and the Light It Up Blue initiative, I facilitated our first annual AAD yesterday. Armed with a prezi full of informational videos, statistics, and personal testimonies, my classes and I spent our half day together discussing something that we’ve all experienced but may not have known about it at the time. Let me tell you, it wasn’t an easy challenge to accept.
In my school, there is at least one student in every grade living with autism, and yet we as a building and school community don’t take the time to celebrate how wonderful they are and acknowledge the daily struggles they face. Having taught multiple students with autism both last year and this year, it hit home for me that time isn’t given for these angels, so my goal was to make time for them to shine. I wanted to do these students justice. I wanted to honor them. I just knew I couldn’t do it alone.
As a non-tenure teacher, I know that I need to leave my mark to continue on my road to renewal. From day one, it was my goal to stay consistently involved in the lives of my kids – both old and new – as well as involved in the workings of the building. From the anti-bullying walk in November to Rowdy Relays and Pennies for Patients, my favorite part of the day is figuring out how I can do more. What other impact can I make? Seeing as no one had previously adopted the task of embracing Autism Awareness month, I knew that this was my next big challenge. It was unfortunate that I didn’t receive the support I had hoped to get from others in our building yesterday, but my team, the sixth grade dragon teachers that I’m lucky to work with, were the first to stand beside me as I took on this challenge and publicized it for the whole school. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings felt as every single sixth grade student passed my room in blue or seeing my colleagues decked out as well. That’s support. That’s family.
As each month brings new challenges for me in my career, I am fortunate to be reminded daily that I’m not facing anything alone. Whether it’s an issue of the budget, curriculum, testing, or morals, I know that this group of educators is always there for me, and that is most certainly the most rewarding part of this job. I wish you all find the same one day.
– Ms. S.