The past couple of years I've been substituting instead of teaching regularly. I end up in a lot of special ed rooms because many subs (older ex teachers especially) are reluctant to take them. I've talked to some teachers who refuse the jobs, and they're afraid they won't know what to do.

I've found that good aides are essential. If they are doing their job--and almost all are there because of personal connections--that makes your job easy.

My experience with autistic kids has been particularly enlightening. I had no idea what these kids were really like--the spectrum of emotional differences, the intelligence and real understanding they show, the frustration at being unable to communicate in the way they would like. Autistic students I've seen have resembled the stereotype very little. This experience has made me think about getting special ed certification.

But then I think about a lot of things.