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"When he stopped caring about me..."

I attended a stakeholders meeting for a school district's special education strategic planning committee. After a year into the process, for the first time a student advocate attended. He is a recent graduate of the school system, and was there to share what had worked and didn't work for him over the years in special education as a student on the Autism Spectrum.

When the discussion turned toward the importance for general education teachers to closely collaborate with the special education teachers, and know the varying needs of their students, he echoed others' thoughts on how important he thought this was. He concluded his thoughts with one of the most powerful statements I have ever heard, regarding one of his teachers:

"When he stopped caring about me and my humanity, I stopped caring for the subject."

He went on to explain that one of the worse things a teacher can do is to allow his/her students to lose interest in the subject they are teaching, because it deprives them of the information it holds for them. It reminded me of a point I had offered a school principal earlier that same day: We must respect students, which begins with acknowledging who they as individuals.

Thank you, Matt... That one will stay with me for a while.

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