By David F. Bateman, Shippensburg University, PA
Regular readers of this blog know the contributors change on a monthly basis. To all the other contributors, I realize how unfair it is that I have the month of April and I apologize in advance (but I’m not changing — so don’t even ask).
Why is it unfair? I just attended the CEC 2009 Convention & Expo in Seattle and saw amazing people who truly care about students with disabilities and who have devoted their lives to working with a part of society some wish did not exist or would just go away.
Working as a special education teacher can be lonely. During my first years of teaching I was the only special education teacher in the building — there was a great speech/language pathologist who held my hand a lot during the IEP writing, but on the whole I was on my own.
The convention in Seattle was an impressive affair. I will use this blog to describe some of the observations, interactions, and conversations I had while there.
First, one could not feel lonely. There were so many other special educators there. I realize with all the budget cuts around the nation that there were many individuals who work with students with exceptionalities who were not able to attend. But when actress Marlee Matlin spoke during the opening general session, the room filled with hundreds of special educators. She had everyone’s attention as she spoke about growing up in Chicago and the wonderful support provided to her by her teachers. Many left the room amazed, impressed, and inspired to continue their work.
Second, there were so many different sessions to choose from, many held at the same time that one would want to go to! In my next entry I’ll talk about some of the comments I overheard in elevators about all the different sessions.