I wanted to be a teacher since my first day of Kindergarten. My Mom once told me a story about how I would play “school” with my friends when I was little. I would assign them homework and if they came over to play the next day without their homework I would tell them to leave. So it wasn’t a surprise that I went to college to be a teacher. The one area I never wanted to teach was special education. I just didn’t have the patience or understanding nature for it. Ha! Ironic huh? I’m being taught a lesson, I just know it.
After a career of avoiding the world of special education, I am now thrust into it. Last month we had our first meeting with the Spokane Public Schools to begin the IEP process. For those of you not familiar with this world, and IEP is an Individualized Education Plan. Every child in Special Ed has an IEP that identifies their needs and how those needs will be addressed in the public school system. All of the sudden Special Ed has become a big focus in my life. I’m now reading a third book on the IEP process and how to advocate for my child. It’s scary to me. I’m afraid I will miss a little detail about Jackson that will prevent him from getting some service he may need. Plus, I can’t stand Spokane Public Schools. After working for them for a year I encountered miserable teachers, rude office staff, and unfriendly principals. I’m not a fan. But this is the new road I just turned on and will have to drive down. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
George Bernard Shaw said “This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.” Well this is my purpose now, and it is a mighty one. Jackson is entitled to an education just like any other child and I will do whatever I have to do to make sure he gets that. He may not be able to walk or talk but that doesn’t mean he is less of a person. He deserves a chance. Don’t worry Jackson, Mommy is on it!