The San Diego Union-Tribune spotlighted commentary from Melissa Rivera, special education teacher at Sierra School of San Diego. Rivera shares how her special education students taught her during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With special education, teachers adapt to the students instead of making the students adapt to the curriculum.

Seeing my students helps me personally through this trying time. Their excitement and determination to try their best with following an individualized schedule also gives me inspiration to keep up with my schedule during this difficult time for teachers. They keep me on my toes and accountable.

If nothing else, the current pandemic has provided me with a fresh perspective on the importance my students bring to my life and society as a whole. I see these individuals with special needs as the type of invaluable role models we all could benefit from right now. Even when we are told we can’t do something, we need to adapt and do it differently.

We are grateful for Rivera’s commentary, and hope that the motivation she draws from her special education students inspires many people in the San Diego area and beyond.

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