We May Not All Be Created Equal, But We All Deserve to Be Treated Equal

28 Sep

This is the mantra that The King uses in his classroom for his students. Some of his students have different disabilities. Some are normally developing. As I discussed Monday, he believes in educating children about autism and other developmental disabilities  as well as physical and mental ones. But The King is a very special kind of Dad and Teacher.

The King came to the fatherhood and teaching games later in life. the Princess was born when he was 43 and he just started teaching at age 48. But he has always believed that it was his job to be kind to people regardless of whether they could talk like everyone else or not. Don’t get me wrong, The King isn’t everyone’s best friend, but he tries with everyone.

The King is probably the best kind of teacher you could ask for for your child. And I’m not biased here, I’ve had parents tell me. Personally, I always only half-teased The King about being a bad teacher. Don’t get me wrong I love him dearly, but I had a very hard time thinking of him standing in front of students and being taken seriously.

But autism has changed what kind of teacher The King is and became. Before he had his certificate, he was hired as a para-educator working in an elementary school with very low-functioning autistic children. This was when The Princess was a baby. He strove to help his students be understood by their normally developing peers and get the opportunities they were entitled to. I was amazed to see how well he worked with them and how little it scared  him to be in charge of  them. He truly loved his work but his position was eliminated by budget cuts and re-structuring of the special needs in that county.

By the time The Princess was diagnosed with autism, The King had immersed himself in learning about it and in meeting educators who worked with autistic children. He was careful during his internship and experiences to differentiate his lesson planning to include all types of learners and account for a wide variety of disabilities. He welcomes the challenges of working with children who “learn differently” and he accommodates them in whatever way possible.

He even talks of someday becoming certified to teach children with special needs and get the additional endorsement for autism. But he hopes the one thing his students now take away from his class: We may not all have been created equal, but we all deserve to be treated equal.

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