themighty logo

In One Drawing, Special Educator Challenges the Way We Teach Kids

“Children learn in many different ways. It is time we adapt to their needs,” wrote Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher, on his Facebook page.

Ulmer, 26, is the celebrated teacher whose video of the awesome way he starts class each day went viral in November 2015. He teaches at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, and recently shared a video demonstrating how he believes special education should work.

In the video posted to his Facebook page, Special Books by Special Kids, on Monday, Ulmer points to a picture of a stick figure child on the white board and explains that education is the bridge between where that child starts out and where society wants them to be. But, Ulmer says, not all children start out in the same spot. Some start farther along the bridge, some start above it or under it, and some start farther away from it. What education should do, Ulmer argues, is meet each child where he or she is at.

It is the duty of a teacher to meet students at their current level and guide them to their full capability,” Ulmer wrote above the video on his Facebook page.

Ulmer uses the example of allowing his students to interact by “scripting,” or repeating words and phrases from TV shows and movies they like, to ease them into other types of social interaction.

Check out Ulmer’s video below:

Creating BridgesChildren learn in many different ways. It is time we adapt to their needs. It is the duty of a teacher to meet students at their current level and guide them to their full capability.

Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Monday, February 8, 2016


“Over the last three years I have served as a special education teacher. These three years have been the best of my life,” Ulmer told The Mighty via Facebook messenger. “I have taught the same group of students during this time. They have taught me that every single child is capable of progressing if we are willing to meet them at their current level. I believe it should be the responsibility of a teacher not to impose a mandatory curriculum but to meet a child at their level and guide them to their full potential.”

Ulmer has also made headlines for his initiative to turn his students into published authors and for the cool way he wraps up his classes at the end of the week.

Check out the Facebook page for Special Books by Special Kids, which is updated daily, to keep up with Chris Ulmer and his class.