We’ve all said it before but it’s worth saying it again — teachers aren’t paid enough nor do they get the recognition and praise they deserve for all they do. Some people don’t realize that work for teachers doesn’t stop at the end of the school day. Most of them take papers home to grade, they spend time looking online for projects, they talk to parents, and so on.
The majority of today’s teachers go above and beyond to give their students the best education possible. Then there are the teachers who work in special education. Not only do they teach standard curriculum but they also work with students who have unique challenges.
Deb Schwartz is a perfect example of a special education teacher who gives 100 percent to her students.
Working in Jackson County, Indiana, Deb’s number one goal is to make sure her students know just how special they are, not in a demeaning way but truly special and blessed. On any given day, you can hear her tell her class things like, “Always stay positive and look for the good things you have in your life.”
Every day, she encourages her students at Brownstown Central High School to remain positive regardless of the challenges they face.
Deb has to follow a certain curriculum for what she teaches but along with that, she focuses a lot of her time on providing her class with life lessons. She constantly gives them reminders, telling them, “I want you guys to remember when life gets down, that’s when you get up.” Speaking words from the heart really has an impact on “her kids.”
Life for one of Deb’s students was extremely difficult.
Dylan Bridges didn’t always have a great life. He explains that he wasn’t happy. In fact, he felt sad and lonely most of the time. You can’t blame him considering he spent time in the foster care system. Although Deb truly loves all her students, she knew that Dylan needed additional help.
She and her husband, Dan, made a life-changing decision.
They decided to become Dylan’s adoptive parents. Keep in mind that these two had already raised two kids who are now on their own. So, this decision meant raising yet another child. Even with retirement age slowly creeping closer, they agreed to give this young man the life he deserved. Dan, who’s also a teacher at the same high school, said, “We can fix it, let’s fix it.”
Talk about unconditional and unselfish love.
Today at 19 years of age, Dylan continues to do amazing in school. Even better, he’s thriving at home with his new mom and dad. When asked how he feels about being adopted by his special education teacher, he said, “I love living with Deb and she’s the best. As for Deb and Dan, they’ve never once regretted their decision, not even for a second. To them, Dylan is an awesome son who just needed a chance.
Dylan’s future looks incredibly bright.
At school and at home, Dylan receives a lot of support and encouragement. His dream? He hopes to one day have a house where he can live independently. Some people might think that’s impossible, but not Deb and Dan. They believe if that’s the goal Dylan sets for himself, they’ll stand alongside him to help him succeed.
In the meantime, they’re working with Dylan so he can do more things without their assistance. Living independently will start with an apartment the couple plans to build on their property. From there, the sky’s the limit.
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