When people see someone who looks or acts different then they are used to, they tend to stereotype them as weird or different. I believe that everyone deserves to be looked at through unfiltered eyes. I hate to say “it’s judging a book by its cover” because that’s so cliché. But what I do believe is that people are taking their first impression and making snap judgments off of what they see. The problem with this is that they are missing out on experiences with people who could enrich their own lives.
During first semester I took Child Development, a class to learn about how children develop because someday I want to work with children. I had an opportunity to spend one week working with the Special Education gym class. This experience changed my life and the way I look at people. I went into this experience a little worried because they looked and acted different and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to work with them. When I got there they welcomed me with an open heart and an open mind, and that was the first thing I learned from them. They didn’t care how different I was from them; in fact they didn’t even see a difference. What they saw was a new person who has come into their life. They talked to me as if I was their best friend. Someone they have known since kindergarten. I was very surprised to see how comforting they were. I realized right then and there that these people would change the way I viewed other people.
After the first day, I looked forward to continuing my work with them. When I walked in every morning I was greeted by high fives and knuckle punches. The teacher, Mr. Dryanski, would come into the class and all the kids would run over to him and say good morning. One of the kids named Geo would run up to the teacher and say, “Mr. Dryanskiiiiiiiii!” and the teacher would say “Geeeooooo!” I lit up inside whenever I heard this because I felt the love Mr. Dryanski had for his class. He didn’t care how anyone else looked at them, he only cared how loving and caring they actually were.
This experience has led me to consider Special Education as a career. At first I was concerned that I could not relate to kids with disabilities because I would not be able to understand them. All these kids have their own personal qualities that make them unique and very amazing people. I would love getting to know them better, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with these kids because they truly did open my eyes to many things I had never known. This experience showed me to be open to people who are different and that I can learn to understand and relate to these differences.
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