Twenty-five years ago, when my mom asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I answered, “A teacher,” with a little uncertainty. Last year, my mom asked where I see myself in 10 years, I answered “Still in school, I will still be a teacher,” with a smile and twinkle in my eye.
My journey with kids with special needs is priceless. Yes, priceless. The first time my student with speech difficulty called me a “teacher.” The first time I never prompted my student with hyperactivity to sit still and properly. The first time my student with learning disability answered his worksheets independently. The first time my student with fleeting eye contact looked at me for 10 seconds while talking. The first time my student with poor eye-hand-coordination ate without spillage. The first time I let go of him because he was ready to be mainstreamed.
All these might be worthless to some people; but for me, and for all the people who care for children with special needs, they are more precious than any gems in the world or more important than tons of emeralds and pearls.
I know why Geppetto never lost hope on Pinocchio
I am very certain that when someone would ask me “Job with high salary or career with just a penny?” I would answer “career with just a penny.” As Jessie J says, “Why is everybody so obsessed? Money can’t buy us happiness. Ain’t about the cha-ching, cha-ching, Ain’t about the ba-bling, ba-bling.”
Hats off to all teachers, therapists, caregivers, parents and friends who are making a difference in every kid with special needs’ life!
If someone would ask me why I teach children with autism I would simply answer: “The kids were the prettiest flower I have ever seen, and I am one of the luckiest gardener in the world to be able to watch them bloom to be the most beautiful flower God has ever made.”
And if a non-verbal kid would say “Thank you, Teacher” for the very first time, it would definitely mean more than the words could say.