Advocate: one that supports or promotes the interests of another – Merriam-Webster dictionary
I’m pretty passionate about the word advocate. After the RIE® foundations course I felt like I became an advocate for infants and their rights (at least in my own work). I’m currently an advocate for toddlers and am a HUGE advocate for teachers, self-reflection and professional development. You know what? I wouldn’t be the advocate I am today without the biggest advocate I’ve had in my life…my mom.
Of course, my mom loves me and has always wanted the best for me but I feel that she put in some extra work with me. In second grade I tested into special education with an IEP for reading and written language. My mom said it was her mission to teach me how to read and she never gave up. I went to many different tutors, had a few caring teachers that really impacted me and truly were advocates for me (and still are). Until finally, my mom signed me up for Wired for Reading, which changed everything! I started the program and a few years later (when I was in seventh grade) I tested out of special ed.
It was really hard, I got teased and made fun of, I put myself down, doubted myself but overall I’m so thankful because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of the extra support and help. I’m proud to say I was in special ed, that I had a family that would help me out no matter what! I’m thankful that my mom and dad were open to listening to my second grade teacher’s concerns and that my mom willing tried out different tutors and approaches until she found one that work for me.
I guess what I’m asking you to think about is, how can you be an advocate for your child or the children in your class? It might mean being open to some tough news about your child or looking for more resources as a teacher to have a hard conversation with a family. Even though situations come up that might be scary and not something you want to admit or even think about, being an advocate means putting the child and their needs first no matter what! It means putting aside our fears, worries, doubts and doing what’s best for the child.
Strive to be an advocate that changes a child’s life…