Last week, on May 8, 2018 Michael was a guest speaker in my Intro to Special Ed class. I was looking forward to being able to meet and hear Michael’s story, as I believe it is helpful, as a prospective educator, to learn from the students. Michael has a first hand perspective of the special education setting, and if there is anyone to learn from, it’s him. He, by far, is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met in my life.
Michael articulated his story with such ease and made our class feel comfortable participating throughout his presentation. He encouraged us to share any of our stories, questions, concerns, etc. Michael not only puts teaching into perspective, but he puts life into perspective. He focused a lot on the human connection and the relationships we make. He told us to “slow down,” not to take moments in life too seriously, and to enjoy the little things. He discussed the difference between some of the best teachers he had, and some of the worst. For me, it was great to hear because I believe you can learn from others’ mistakes and/or triumphs and take those into your future.
My goal as a future art educator is to make my students feel comfortable and happy, as well as inspired. Michael mentioned allowing your students to decide their own limitations. That really stuck with me. We shouldn’t be the ones to decide their abilities; give your students a fair chance to attempt anything and everything. As long as they are safe, why not give them the same chances as the student without “special needs?” No matter who we are, we are all human. We all yearn for the same thing: human connection and love. I will never forget Michael’s presentation and am so thankful to have met him.