But this is what I do know:
I know you care for our children as if they were your own. I know you celebrate every single little success they have, because you know just how hard and long they had to work to achieve it. I know you watch them develop and your hopes for them go far beyond your classroom.
I know you hear the same news stories I do. I know you cringe when you hear of a teacher who hurt a nonverbal child. I know your heart aches that you have to work so hard to earn parents' trust and you wish they knew that for every one abusive teacher of special needs children there are a hundred more that would do anything and everything to protect our children. And because you are that teacher who would do anything to protect these kids, you have no problem earning our children's trust and earning our trust.
I know you have hard days. I know you juggle the needs of many children at once and have to work constantly to maintain the peace in the classroom. I know you stay up late working on things for the next day and stay at work late to make sure your classroom is "just so" for tomorrow. I know you have to work harder than your fellow teachers who teach typical children to think ahead for the day and to try to see and prevent potential triggers and obstacles that might make our children's days that much harder. I know the hard days have been physical, but you press on, you don't lose your cool and you hope tomorrow will be better.
I know you probably have days when you wonder if all of your patience and heart and perseverance are noticed. I know you might have days when you want to throw in the towel and move on to something easier.
I hope you know that I see your passion for these children. I see the excitement in your eyes when mine does something new or overcomes something that once would have set him back. I see how hard you work to ensure he has successful days. I see you on the hard days and I know when he comes home upset, you may have endured a day of screaming and crying. And I know you did everything in your power to calm him.
I know you wonder if you make a difference. Know that you do.
A Special Needs Mom