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To the Special Education Teachers and Therapists Starting a New School Year

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Dear Fellow Special Education Teachers, Paraprofessionals and Therapists,

It is the beginning of another exciting school year. You’re busy making the final touches to your classrooms and getting supplies; you’re ordering new equipment, toys and games that will help your clients and students thrive. Your enthusiasm, positive energy and excitement for the new year will rub off on your students and clients, making them eager to learn and give each session their all.

I am a Special Education teacher. I am going into my sixth year of teaching students with autism and related learning differences. At the start of each year, I am more ecstatic than the last. I miss my students over the weekends and breaks, so I can’t wait to give them high fives and hugs. One of my favorite things to do is lesson planning — finding books, lessons, costumes, art projects and games for the classroom. I love to find things that will make my students feel excited and engaged. I truly enjoy working — at school and at home.

As we head back for the new year, I want to remind you that our work can be very demanding and you matter. Take time for yourself. I say this because I often require a reminder myself.

If you enjoy exercising, don’t stop doing it. Play music or take up some art classes. It’s so important to give yourself that time, so you’re fresh to be your best for your students and clients. Being inspired by activities outside of work might even allow you to teach these amazing young minds some new hobbies and interests.

I know going into work super early and getting out late can help us be prepared for the next day, or even the entire week. It is essential to be organized and ready, but take some of those mornings and evenings to meditate. Cook meals. Go for a run.

It’s important that you are mentally prepared to take on each day with a positive mindset. Your vibes affect others. Our unique population often requires extra attention and love. You will see the best results with your clients and students when they feel they are in a safe, loving and happy environment!

Keep doing what you do. Pat yourself on the back for having one of the most demanding, yet rewarding and best jobs in the world. Take pride in what you do and your classrooms/schools/therapy rooms. You are truly making a difference! Have a great school year.

Originally published: August 18, 2019
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