Thank you for what you do comments.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by wldywall, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Someone asked me recently what I do for a living. And I responded I'm a special education teacher. And for the umpteenth time that person responded with a "thank you for what you do" comment.

    These comments really irritate me. I've always felt it comes from an ableist standpoint. This idea that children in special education education are severely flawed and if it wasn't for special "Angel's" or "Heroes" going in to work with them they would just be left in an asylum somewhere. Ugh. I've even had people take the comment almost that far. It really makes me angry.

    Am I alone feeling this way?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I get that comment, too. I am not a special education teacher.

    I wouldn’t think anything of it besides it being a difficult job. Of course, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they mean well, even when things don’t come out quite like they might should have.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I have gotten a lot of the same and I do not teach special education. I have been visiting family this week and my parents as well as most of their friends are wealthy. I teach in a low-income school (in a very safe area) but I have people who tell me how hard it must be to teach there, how the kids need me, etc. It honestly feels insulting to my students but I do understand the intent. I had another friend call the area that I teach in "trash". I would prefer the first comments to this!

    However, the comments that I dislike the most are about how easy it must be with the hours and the vacation time!
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2018

    It’s a comment of appreciation and respect.
     
  6. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Definitely.
     
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  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Devil's Advocate: It's a compliment especially because not EVERYBODY can do that job! There's a reason there's a shortage of Special Ed teachers and high burnout rate among them. I've subbed enough in Special Ed to know I couldn't do it all day, every day. You may not like it, but I do believe it takes a certain type of person to be able to teach Special Ed. My friend who is Autistic is currently back in school to become a Special Ed teacher because she sees the need for teachers who truly understand the experience.
    And honestly without Special Ed teachers, where would those kids be? What WOULD happen to them? I think we already see that in areas where they can't get the teachers. The kids aren't getting the services they need or a quality education by any standards. Think about the world before there were laws that REQUIRED students get the educational services that they actually needed. :(

    It's better than getting "Oh how cute, you're a teacher. It must be nice to be able to have fun with the kids all day.''
    :roll:
    Being offended by a compliment is a little odd in my opinion.
    :2cents:
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    You may not be alone in feeling that way, but I do wish you would re-examine your feelings. I get the same comments and I teach in a pretty privileged school and area. Within my school we have children of various abilities. And I personally, as an "ableist" who teaches primarily "able" children, do appreciate that my sped colleagues have the patience and skill to teach the students they do. I would not take those positions.

    I don't consider those teachers saints, but I do believe that they are minorities in the population. And if we did not have people like them, teachers who are willing to change the diapers of 185-lb teenagers, be spit on and punched with no recourse, to repeatedly have personal items stolen, to constantly wipe off drool, to teach the same lesson to a particular student every day for six months and never get the light bulb moments, yeah, I think those children would have very different lives.

    I am THRILLED that you do not think your job is harder than that of the average person. That indicates to me that you have found a perfect fit for a career. For the rest of us, special education, depending upon the classroom, is significantly harder and more frustrating that a general ed classroom. Don't assume others are insulting your students. Accept that they recognize your struggles and their inability to do your job. They are being appreciative. Why reject appreciation?
     
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  9. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I think it’s acknowledgement that the job is hard and not every teacher can do the job well. I don’t think it’s a passive aggressive dig at the students you teach.
    Acknowledgement and appreciation of teachers and the job we do is few and far between so take it for the compliment it is.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Considering many people with disabilities on the more severe end were put in asylums or homes, and are still put in homes because they are beyond the care of families, it isn't so far from the truth. If the laws didn't change most special education students would probably drop out by middle school. Moderate to severe students would not be in school at all.

    So, what are people saying that hasn't been true in the past?
     
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  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    This was a huge point of contention during Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing.
    She didn't really seem to understand this issue or the Federal Government's role.
    :(
     
  12. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    I think I interpret the comments in a harsh light due to follow ups comments I have gotten to the "thank you" in the past. I will have to give people the benefit of the doubt, it's just a viceral reaction in me......probably because I have run across some.real jerks.
     
  13. Aces

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    I get those comments too and totally get the sentiment behind it. But it seems like I get caught off guard alot and have no idea what to say. Then there's this awkward silence before my brain catches up and I actually reply.
     
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  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    She doesn’t seem to really understand much of anything for that matter.
     
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  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    It's usually a compliment but you can tell many people mean it as, "Thank God I don't have do it"!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  16. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I find that as a sped teacher, I tend to get more respect from "outsiders" and less respect from other teachers. I'm not sure what kind of population you teach, but I teach mild/moderate and IME most people outside of education think "special education" is only for students with really severe disabilities. So in my case, people are automatically assuming I'm dealing with more difficult students than I am.

    I used to live in a ski resort town and took a class my first year there. When the instructor found out what I did, she could not stop harassing me about weekend employment opportunities working with people who need adaptive lessons. I couldn't get her to understand that I have NO experience with anything like that; she just kept saying, "But you teach special education!" I won't list them all out, but I've had lots of experiences like that.

    I noticed that when I taught gen ed 3rd grade, I was far more likely to get comments from outsiders like, "Oh how cute/fun! You must love it!" I certainly find that far more offensive than a sincere comment thanking me for what I do.
     
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