In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, we’ve asked a few teachers to guest blog for us this week. First up, Melissa Augustyn from Concord, N.C.
This year marks my tenth year in teaching special education, honestly a year I never planned to see. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job! Okay, well, I love my students — a good bit of my job involves mounds of paperwork that I will never claim to enjoy.
When I entered college to become a special education teacher, I really didn’t think it was for me. I wasn’t sure what else to do and I loved interacting with children with autism so I chose this field by default, or so I thought. The first three years of teaching still did not have me convinced I was cut out for this profession, but I was in a self-contained special education classroom for students with autism, and oh how I loved those kids. I spent a good portion of the first three years wondering when I was going to feel like a real teacher, one who had a clue what she was doing!
Ten years later and not a day goes by that I feel like I have this figured out. But, with experience, I have learned what really matters. I have learned that I alone set the tone for my classroom. In this specific area of special education, we experience a lot of emotional meltdowns and I am the one that is able to choose how to react to each situation. I love watching the wave of relief wash over a student’s face when you get to say, “Let’s start over, that is in the past.” It isn’t about having it all figured out, it is about coming back every day and starting over.
Melissa Augustyn is a special education teacher at Concord Middle School in Concord, N.C.