“The secret to life is finding out what you love and then finding a way to get paid for it.” This small bit of wisdom was passed my way years ago by a former supervisor, and it’s wisdom I carry close because it echoes in our work every day. In education, we actually get to do something we love. We get to inspire and teach kids and someone actually pays us to do it! Incredible! Inconceivable! I do not subscribe to the reasoning that if you love what you do you will never have to work another day in your life. By its very nature, love requires action, love requires you to work at it. Though teaching, our work, it inversely requires love as well. It requires us to be tenacious in our efforts to make the future for our learners a brighter one. Love requires work and our work requires love. And when one drives the other, it is there that you find your passion.
I have spent this entire month sharing with you why you should use that passion to promote independence. From student navigation to sensory stimulation, from a visual aide to providing help you can fade, we have covered much. But from here the choice is yours, to tap into the mind of your leaners and to get them to do more with less. More often than not the secret to this is finding their passion, and then finding a way for them to get paid or reinforced with it. A 3rd grader with Autism was able to make huge gains when his team bought into his passion for the Seahawks, but in all truth not all love is meant to last. Since then his “highly restricted interest” has moved to NASCAR. But his team has endured, adapted, and has successfully changed his program to meet his needs. He now has an altered Ultimate Access Card with a racecar theme that is leading his program. Essentially it is the Good Behavior Game, except he is Kyle Busch and every day he races Danica Patrick. His points, his winnings are completely based on his behavior. Whoever gets more laps wins the race at day’s end. If ever he needs to slow down in his work, the yellow flag is waved.
For the most part it is working and his program will continue to work so long as his team remains committed to meeting his needs. Some kids are into Angry Birds, some kids Star Wars, but seeking out those things that others love and imbedding it into their program can help be the difference. Its a means by which we open up the world around them to love and enjoy, being done with their love and interest, that comes about by our love for them. A great man once said that “Love alone conquers, love alone creates.” Through your love, work to create an independent future for your learners so that they might be able to conquer the challenges they will one day face.