Every great educator hopes to make a profound and positive difference in their students’ lives. That’s why fourth-grade teacher Lisa Moe always repeats the same two affirmations in her classroom: “Be Kind” and “Yes I Can.”
April is Autism Awareness Month, so Lisa and other teachers in the Chino Valley School District are having their students decorate paper puzzle pieces to hang on their classroom doors. While Lisa’s students are familiar with autism and what the puzzle pieces represent, they didn’t know until recently that one of their classmates is on the spectrum.
Lisa experienced one of the proudest moments of her teaching career when on April 4, a boy named Rumari asked if he could say something to the class. His brave revelation — and what followed — left her in tears.
“Rumari has faced challenges and barriers beyond what any of us will ever be able to fully understand,” Lisa wrote. “But today, he stood in front of the classroom with full confidence, enthusiasm, and courage and showed us that there is no challenge or barrier that can stop him. He brought to life the meaning of ‘Yes I Can’ as he explained to his fellow classmates that he was autistic.”
Rumari described his quirks and differences, encouraging his peers to help autistic people “feel like a somebody.” Lisa was so captivated by the speech that she only managed to record the last bit. But that was all she needed to drive Rumari’s message home.
After the little boy finished, his sweet classmates clapped, hugged him, and showered him with words of support. They didn’t have a single negative thing to say. In fact, they made sure Rumari knew they love him for him.
“I think you’re amazing, pal,” one little girl said.
“I think it doesn’t matter what a person does or if it may look weird,” another girl added. “That’s okay. It’s them and it doesn’t matter. They’re good just the way they are — like you, Rumari.”
These remarkable kids have certainly taken “Be Kind” to heart. That’s all Lisa could ever ask for. “If I were unable to ever teach again or if there was ever a question to my path into this role as an educator, this moment solidified my purpose,” she said.
Watch as Ms. Moe’s students accept their classmate with open arms in the clip below. Share to spread Rumari’s positive message.
Today, a beautiful thing occurred within my classroom. My two most important mottos and lessons I stress every single day with my students is to “Be Kind” and to believe in one’s self through the growth mindset of “Yes I Can”. It is #AutismAwareness Month and every classroom on campus has been asked to have each student decorate a paper puzzle piece and hang it on our classroom doors. When I handed out the puzzle pieces, most students were familiar with the idea of Autism and aware of the cause of decorating the puzzle pieces. What my students did not know is that Autism is present within our classroom with one of our fellow classmates, Rumari. With excitement, Rumari rose his hand and said “May I please say something?” I nodded and said “of course”, but never could I have imagined what was to follow. Rumari has faced challenges and barriers beyond what any of us will ever be able to fully understand. But today, Rumari stood in front of the classroom with full confidence, enthusiasm, and courage and showed us that there is no challenge or barrier that can stop him. He brought to life the meaning of “Yes I Can” as he explained to his fellow classmates that he was autistic. With full knowledge, he explained the differences that may come when being autistic and how the spectrum is vast. He courageously spoke about his own differences and quirks, while defining what it means to make everyone feel like a someone. My other students and I sat quietly and listened, completely engulfed in every word he spoke to us. Because of this, it took me a bit before realizing I needed to capture this moment. Without any of the students knowing, I hit record and captured the final moments of Rumari speaking to us and the raw, authentic reactions of the rest of my students. It is then, that I lost my ability to hold back the tears. It is then, that the daily lessons to “Be Kind” and to remember “Yes I Can” were brought together.If I were unable to ever teach again or if there was ever a question to my path into this role as an educator, this moment solidified my purpose. With permission from Rumari’s parents, I wanted to share with you this moment:•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••Instagram: @MissMoeTeachesTwitter: @MissMoeTeaches
Posted by Lisa Rachel Moe on Thursday, April 4, 2019
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