Thank you to teachers (and SENCO’s) of SEN students
Teachers change lives. Teachers can save lives.
School is a scary and uncertain environment for autistic children. It is a part of our lives spent away from the familiarity and safety of family members. One where we are beat down by sensory inputs and forced to communicate in a way that often frustrates us.
And then if you’re lucky, you get a teacher who stands as a barrier between you and the onslaught. A teacher who will fight for you, with you.
A few instances of this in my life:
– Breaktimes intimidated me. Even in a small school in Dorset! To the teachers that looked the other way when I snuck inside to sit quietly in corridors when it wasn’t allowed – thank you.
– In high school I couldn’t participate in class discussions. This became a problem when I reached GCSE’s and a lot of that was then a part of the assessment process. Some teachers failed me on that. But others, they changed processes, they fought back against the system and they found a way to include me.
– In university I was again faced with lessons I couldn’t handle. An incredible lecturer made sure every lesson was inclusive to my needs and I could feel safe. I went on to achieve 97% in her end of year 3-hour exam. Almost as if when you provide us an environment that we feel safe in, that works for us, that we can thrive. Shocking that.
– In university an incredible lecturer nothing short of saved my life. When I had my back pushed against the wall and couldn’t conform to a system asking too much of me – she stood by my side and fought for the system to change and include me. When I had lost all belief in myself, she believed in my future.
I would not be where I am today without those teachers. I have zero doubt about that.
Teachers that believe in us, that protect us, that fight for us. Those teachers, they just might be real life heroes. They certainly are our heroes.
To the teachers doing this – don’t ever underestimate the lasting effect your kindness has on us. I am 28 years old and I am forever thankful to those teachers who stood up for me when I had nothing left to give.
To the SENCO’s replying to my emails at 8pm. Or those contacting me through personal channels because you just want the best for your students. I see you. You are changing lives. I know you are fighting against a flawed system and a lack of budgets.
Please keep being you and allowing us to keep being us.
Thank you doesn’t quite seem enough does it? But for now – thank you.
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