Friday, September 3, 2010

Teachers who wow you (plus a $50,000 grant opportunity for your school)

A couple of weeks ago, the ladies over at The Motherhood asked if I wanted to be a part of a sponsored Clorox project. All I had to do? Write about an outstanding teacher. I was a little stumped. Because the thing about the teachers Max has had is this: Every single one of them is outstanding.

These teachers have extreme patience. Mind-boggling amounts of patience—for showing kids how to do things repeatedly, and then showing them again the next day and the next week and the next month.

These teachers have extreme flexibility, because what works for one child isn't going to work for another. Obviously, this is true of any teacher in any school but when you're at a school for kids with disabilities, there can be a very wide range of abilities within one classroom.

These teachers have extreme willingness to guide parents. Over the years, I've asked teachers' advice on everything from what kind of websites would be helpful to boosting Max's cognition to whether to be concerned about his obsessions. They've been generous with their time, their e-mails, and their reassurances that it's OK for Max to be overly enthusiastic about purple, car washes, spaghetti, whatever.

These teachers have extreme dedication. Their duties go far beyond simply educating a child. In Max's school, teachers help kids with toileting. They help feed them (in Max's recent progress report, one of the "instructional objectives" is "Max will chew a variety of food textures"). And they help with basic life skills. One year, a teacher at Max's school e-mailed me over a weekend to tell me, excitedly, that she'd found a cute animal zipper pull that would encourage Max to close his jacket all by himself.

While I haven't always agreed with their philosophies on every single thing, in general, I stand in awe of the teachers who've worked with my boy. They have played a tremendous role in Max's progress. They are among the extra-good people of this world, for having chosen a more challenging path in order to help kids with special needs live their best lives.

Do you have a teacher (or a bunch!) you'd like to give props to? Share your thoughts below and I'll randomly pick one winner to get a Clorox pack that contains:
• Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
• Dr. Harley Rotbart’s book Germ Proof Your Kids
• Clorox Hand Sanitizer
• Tissues
• Fun stickers
• Crazy cutting scissors
• Markets/pencils/crayons

For extra giveaway entries...
• Follow Clorox on Twitter.
• Tweet about this giveaway using the tag #cloroxbrightfuture and leave your tweet link.

This giveaway is open until Tuesday, September 7 at 11:59 p.m., and is for U.S. residents only. I'll randomly choose a winner and announce it here.

FYI, Clorox has a really great thing going on for schools, the Power A Bright Future grant program. Between now and September 27, you can nominate a new or existing school program for a chance to win a $50,000 grand-prize grant or one of three $20,000 grants. The public will vote on the winners, who will be announced in November. Nominators will get Clorox classroom tools and the chance to win coupons for Clorox faves.


  1. Gabe's kinder teacher was the best thing to happen to our family. As you may or may not know, I myself am a Montessori teacher and I had a lot of apprehension about putting Gabe in public school. Gabe's teacher was a former special ed teacher who took the time to actually talk to us and explain the method behind her madness. She was accessible pretty much 24 hours a day and always had time to answer questions when we had them. Gabe's self confidence soared in her classroom and I think part of the reason he loves learning so much is because she encouraged it.

  2. I have been so impressed with my daughters' teachers. I know they are often there for long hours after school, planning, organizing, etc. But what I really appreciate is when a teacher demonstrates that she really understands my child (good or bad). When they say something about one of my girls that I would say myself, then I feel like my kid is in good hands.

  3. Boy did my sons teacher WOW me and our family! He had Sandy for three years at a special needs school in town. He is seven. My sons original diagnosis was sp quad CP and he is non verbal. She taught him to be confident in the classroom and how to interact in many social situations. She taught him to learn the computer with switches. She taught him to listen and to learn. My son was diagnosed with Lesch Nyhan in January 2010. It is horrendous rare disease that promotes self injuirous behavior. He started biting his lip non stop. She came by my house a few times to give me a hug and let me cry on her shoulder. She got him back in the classroom as soon as she could. He got a mouth guard and splints for both arms to be worn 24/7. She sat by him and taught him all over again to use his hands with his splints on. Amazing Teacher, Woman and Friend! I will miss her as he just graduated her class and is in Kindergarten! I am proud!

  4. I had a music teacher in elementary school and she must have been doing something right, because I remember every word to every song she taught us. However, she did a bit of a rough bedside manner, which would definitely not have been accepted these days. She used to call some of the kids "village idiots" and even sometimes went so far as to literally push them around if they were not behaving. I think most of the kids used to be a little scared to go to her class, but she did give out candy at the end of the school year for those who answered questions correctly during the year and earned "points".

  5. I've been in love with Owen's school and his teachers since he started there at 18 months old. The Deaf ones, the Hearing ones, they are a big family, and my kid is THEIR kid.


  6. My son's preschool teacher is amazing. She is the only one who had been able to get my son to start talking. She treats him with such love and always has a smile even when he managed to literally roll in the mud. She is starting to train general Ed teachers throughout the district in working with kids with autism. We love Mrs M!

  7. And followed Clorox :) @wantapeanut

  8. My sons special needs teacher is amazing. She really loves her kids. She has attended Baily's baseball games,came to his birthday parties, invited him to her daughters parties. She still makes every effort to stay involved in her "children's" lives who have moved beyond elementary school. I was torn on sending him to school when it was time to start kindergarten but she laid all my fears to rest. We have laughed together and cried together and she gets as excited over his accomplishments as I do. I don't know what I would do with out her!

  9. I would love to give thanks to my business class teacher Mrs. Kovalcin she was there for me so much when I was in school after my mother had passed away.

  10. Follow Clorox on Twitter as @vhubler

  11. This is a wonderful blog you have going here! Warm wishes from another special needs Mom (and blogger!)

  12. I still fondly remember my second grade teacher. She taught me that to love learning is to love life.

  13. Jonathan's teacher last year was incredible. She was a tough one, many parents didn't like her, but beneath her tough exterior she was an incredibly kind hearted woman who really loved all her students. She caught on to Jonathan's issues rather early, and spent loads of time with him to try and get him to catch up. Countless phone calls, emails, and face to faces visits with me, along with many tears shed by both her and I. She is an incredibly giving teacher, I wish more of them were like that!

    And for the record...many parents didn't like her because she didn't let the kids get away with anything. She held a tight leash, which in my opinion, 1st graders need that!

  14. I give props to a friend of mine and teacher, Carol. She dedicates her life to teaching and has a passion for change. I also love other teachers, Kelly-- who works with special needs students and makes them feel as though they are normal and incredibly special... and then there's my in-laws who are way past retirement because they love impacting lives. I'd say I'm pretty lucky to know these teachers and to be one myself-- impacting lives everyday.


  15. My band director will answer questions about codas, dynamics, notes, tempos, divisis, fingerings, intonation, etc.


Thanks for sharing!

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