Rant Pack: Special Education Teacher, Elizabeth Monterosso
Special Education Teacher
When you were a student, do you remember being frustrated with a lesson and talking to your teacher for extra help? Do you then remember the feeling of accomplishment when you finally understood this new concept?!
This next Ranter wants to share that teachers feel just as proud of their students as they are when they succeed!
Rant Pack 4:
Elizabeth Monterosso - Special Education Teacher
Who is Elizabeth (Liz):
Allow me to introduce you to someone who has had an amazing influence in my life - Elizabeth (Liz) Monterosso. She is a powerhouse of a mentor to countless students and leaves an incredible lasting impression on them and their families. To take on teaching is hard work. To prepare to teach special needs children is even deeper and she’s been in this field professional for 5 years.
27 years old and from Plainfield, IL, Liz became passionate about teaching others when she was in college but has enjoyed working with kids her whole life. She almost had a natural learning process when it came to understanding special need students when one of their family’s friends had an autistic child the same age as her. She explained that the first time they met the autistic son hugged her more than 10 times in a few minutes because it made him happy and, although the parents repeatedly apologized for their son, Liz didn’t have a problem with it and, in fact, found it fulfilling to bring happiness to someone who was a little different but genuine.
One of her biggest challenges was realizing that she needed to divide her mindset and gain a new perspective in relation to her students sometimes erratic behavior. Being physically hurt, emotionally drained and mentally challenged by your career, which is something you put so much effort into, can make it difficult to not take personally. However, Liz explained that special education students often don’t know how to release their frustration or their confusion in the same ways we do. Making mindfulness a top priority and focusing on adjusting her perception to reflect this has helped her to focus on teaching her students while providing a safe space where they can express themselves. A quote that has reminded her to stay strong through difficult time is: “The kids who need love the most will ask for it in the most unloving ways.” She explains that she refuses to give up on them and this has cultivated every positive experience she has had with her students. She also finds inspiration from her colleagues who are great teachers and mentors with the most genuine intentions she has experienced. Through her experience she has developed a strong sense of patience and has used it to give her students the attention, care, support and love they deserve and might not receive elsewhere.
Ultimately, Liz has learned through teaching her students what true happiness is. She is not only teaching them but receives daily lessons herself. When she can tell that one of her students understands something new for the first time it is incredibly heartwarming. When they say or think silly things that don’t make sense, as all children do, she can’t help but giggle with them and their goofiness. She hopes to share these perceptions of love and compassion with others through experiences with her students. Even if we feel broken we need to remember that life may not necessarily get better in some aspects, but we will learn how to go forward smarter and, in turn, be happier.
What makes Special Education Teaching an art form?
1. Emotional Reaction
Can we just all agree that teaching is incredibly emotional? When we’re young students we look up to these people who have so much knowledge and wonder how we’re ever going to learn what they know. What’s even more beautiful is knowing that the teacher’s receive experience and knowledge from their students as well. I can only imagine how rewarding and exciting it is for a teacher when their students are inspired to learn, or even more so when a student is struggling and then finally gets it with their help. These children are the future. I can remember being a student and feeling frustrated from time to time and having some teachers who weren’t willing to give up. These moments make all the difference when it comes to not only learning and progressing but also in self confidence building and mental strength.
Education is a direct result of communication. Whether it is through spoken communication or through the written word or some other format, it’s always passed along from person to person. Knowledge is grown from communicating and sharing and it will continue to be that way even if it become solely digital or holographic. It’s important to know that experience and knowledge and the growth and progress of our educations are motivated completely through communication.
3. Expression of Passion
I don’t think I need to say that in order to be a teach you need to be passionate. However, I will say it regardless. Teaching is a response to passions of learning, sharing, mentoring, experimenting and more. Building programs for students takes time and dedication and has to meet certain standards. These guidelines can be difficult in relation to special need students. It is truly and art form. For students needs and requirements to be taken from conception and brought to implementation and repeated until the student moves along to the next lesson is a step-by-step process but it is delicate, emotional and calculated. Being passionate doesn’t come with the job. Being passionate is the job.
you’re an artist, Liz. Thanks for ranting with me!
Time to thank all your teachers who put in the effort when we didn't have the motivation to!
Who was a teacher that helped you? How did those moments help you in your future? Comment below!
Thanks for checking out Rant Pack Liz and Remember:
Life is art & we are all artists.