Thirteen years ago I voluntarily made the switch from teaching 1st-3rd Graders with emotional/behavior orders to teaching a structured preschool classroom for children on the autism spectrum or who benefited from a structured environment. I didn’t switch positions because I didn’t like my first position. I switched because I really wanted to work in the area of autism. What I didn’t know then was I was eventually going to have my own child with autism. If I knew then would I have still switched? Who knows.
Being a mom of a child with autism can be hard work. Being a teacher of children with autism can be hard work. Being both can be very trying some days. Ok, who am I kidding, a lot of days! Last school year was a very difficult school year both for Courtney and for my classroom. It was so hard at school managing all the different behaviors in the classroom and then to come home and manage the same difficult behaviors. I hated that by the time I got home I was already physically, mentally and emotionally drained yet still had to face the challenges of my own child with autism. By the end of the year I felt so burnt out. I really questioned my ability to continue teaching. Any time I mentally considered the possibility of leaving my position, I could tell my heart was not ready.
So here I am, another year of doing double Autism duty. Again, I feel the toll both sides are taking on me but again I can tell my heart is not ready to change what I am doing. It’s hard, it’s exhausting but here’s the thing…I love both jobs too much.