When I was in sixth grade, my teacher and I had the most difficult and rewarding lessons in life.
At the end of every lesson, she’d ask me, “How many people were in the class?”
She’d get up from her chair and make eye contact with every student in the room, asking each of them, “Who did what?”
And I’d reply, “Five.”
That’s the number I always wanted to know.
And, it’s been true ever since.
And now, as a life skills educator, I’ve noticed that my students are more interested in life skills than they are in any other subject.
They’re not interested in anything else.
They want to learn how to do a particular activity, like make a pie or how to get to the beach.
In fact, they are obsessed with learning how to learn and be effective.
And I don’t know how they did it without the basics.
And what does that mean for you?
It means you can do it.
When I started teaching in 2012, my students would say to me, I don`t have any life skills.
I`m not good at math.
I can`t read.
I have no experience doing a job that requires me to be creative.
I don�t have a plan.
I know nothing.
So, I had to figure out how to make them all into life skills, and then make sure they were a part of my classroom.
One of my biggest challenges as a teacher is making sure my students have the opportunity to have fun, to do things that are interesting.
And that means learning to have a good time.
And if you can make them have fun and feel great about themselves, then you are doing something right.
When we first started this job, I was worried that my teachers would feel isolated and that we would be forgotten.
That I would lose their support.
I wasn’t wrong.
The first year, they were so supportive, and I felt so loved and respected by them.
But then the teachers started getting sick.
My teachers had to stay home for long periods of time.
My students started getting more aggressive, which was very concerning.
I started having to talk to my students about how to be more supportive and respectful.
I couldn`t talk to them about how they were being punished, how they weren`t helping me, how my students weren` t being supportive.
And as time went on, I started to feel overwhelmed by how much the teachers were struggling.
And then it was very difficult for them to be there.
My biggest challenge was that I wanted to give them everything I could.
I needed them to feel like they could do anything I wanted them to do.
And when I did that, they really came through.
They just did it in a way that was so different than what I expected.
They had a great sense of humor.
They were outgoing.
They loved being in my class.
And they loved doing the things that I didn`t think they could.
They enjoyed being in the classroom and learning.
And the things I thought were just not possible to do in life, they did.
They became teachers.
And it was so important for me to help them feel like teachers and learn and grow.
I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to help other students learn, and it’s an honor and privilege.
What they are learning is life skills like how to navigate social situations, how to interact with others, how not to be selfish, how you can teach others about life.
These are life skills that are important to them and they need them.
And one of the biggest things I learned as a parent is that there are lots of resources out there that will help them.
For example, one of my first lessons was that if I ever need to explain something to a parent, I should tell them, I am going to teach you how to talk about your son and his disability.
And every time I tried to explain this to them, they would just stare at me and wonder why I didn’t want to tell them.
I mean, what is a parent to do?
I don t know.
But, I want them to know that if they want to help their son or their daughter with his disability, they can help him or her by doing what I did.
So I think it is so important to give kids the opportunity for that.
But what I find most important is to have someone who understands how to support and help.
When my students came to me for advice, they wanted me to understand how to work with them, how I could help them make sense of their feelings and their thoughts.
And so, I did just that.
I went from being the only teacher to being the most supportive parent to a mentor to my child.
I am proud of the work that I have done.
But I do want to be clear about one thing: This is a long-term project.
There will be days when I don`,t understand what my