How Teachers Can Turn A Disability Into Possibility

These words from a special education teacher changed my life, “Roger, the only real handicap is a negative attitude.” It was the inspiration and encouragement of educators that enabled me to turn my disability into a possibility.

An excellent teacher can serve as a powerful and encouraging role model for a child long after the classroom experience is over. This is especially true when it comes to special education teachers working with children who struggle with diverse challenges and needs.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of speaking before over 1,700 education conferences and in-services. In my presentations, I share these four habits of effective teachers that allow them to positively impact the lives of their students.

#1 Teachers are Students:
One quality of an effective teacher is the commitment to continuous learning. The world of special education changes every day with new technologies and strategies. Teachers that make a difference never let acceptable get in the way of exceptional.

#2 The Power of Positive Expectations:
It is crucial that students with disabilities have teachers that believe in their ability to achieve. Set the bar high, and then create an environment where it’s okay to fail, as long as they learn from it. When teachers set positive expectations, students will never let disappointments overcome their desire.

#3 Instill Possibility Thinking:
Good teachers have an upbeat mood, a sense of vitality and see past momentary setbacks to the end goal. They help students understand that while excellence is the ultimate goal, achieving it may involve experimentation and imperfection.

#4 Creating an “I Can” Attitude:
No one can achieve everything; all of us can achieve something. Effective teachers realize that students rarely perform better than they believe they can. When students focus on their abilities versus disabilities, amazing possibilities emerge.

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