How do you know when a teacher loves what she’s doing? For us, we know it from the moments when her whole face lights up at a child’s success, in the hours of dedicated practice with her colleagues after hours so that she can make sure she is effective when she teaches a child a new skill the next day. All of our teachers love what they do and love the children we serve, but we have one particular teacher who makes this clear every day. Meet Fouza, a fourth grade teacher for Syrian refugee children. Just watch her smile. You’ll know what we mean…
(Fouza cheers for Hani as he makes a breakthrough and uses four words to request the crayon he wants.)
We asked Fouza to share her experiences in the program so far, and this is what she said:
What are the most valuable things you have learned in the program so far?
I’ve learned that details and small things matter when it comes to setting up situations where children with autism can learn from me. Some of these small things are counterintuitive for me but when I use them in my teaching, they make a big difference. I’ve started to be more focused and to pay attention to everything I do because every movement can make a difference for a child.
How have you been able to (or how do you anticipate that you will be able to) use these skills in your classroom?
For the first time, I feel motivated to work with these children and to include them in my classroom. I pay more attention to the details. I used to think that there was a wall between myself and children with autism, but the more I practice and the more I learn, the more this wall is disappearing.
Would you recommend this program to other teachers? Why?
I would recommend it very strongly. I wish that all teachers could go through this training because it will help them in their teaching and with their students. There isn’t a teacher I’ve met to whom I wouldn’t recommend that they come to this training. We have a lot of teachers who care about childhood, parenting and early childhood education.
Will you start advocating for more children with autism to attend your school?
I already talked to the school management and told them that we are learning how to support children with autism and that we should accept them and include them in the school. I told them that it is not as hard as they think it is to include children with autism. They won’t harm the school and will really benefit from being included with typically developing students. The other teachers and I are already advocating for this.