by Leonie Globig, Temple Sholom

When I first started in the TAP program, the word to best describe my feelings was nervous. I had never done anything like this before, and I was concerned that I would walk into a meeting, knowing absolutely nothing, and be made to twiddle my thumbs while everyone around me would ooze confidence and knowledge.

Fortunately, when I came to my first TAP meeting, I found this nightmare scenario I had conjured up in my head to be the furthest thing from the truth. Walking into that first session felt like letting go of a breath I had been holding for weeks. No one was staring at me, trying to find every flaw that I was trying so desperately to cover up. Instead, I was surrounded by kind faces. Some that I knew, some that I didn’t, but they were all kind faces. After that first meeting, I was able to put names onto these faces, and I began to understand that most of the people there knew about as much as me, and were all just young teachers trying to learn how to understand their students, same as me.

I can’t claim that being part of the TAP program somehow made me the perfect teacher with a solution for every problem, but it did teach me many things. It helped me understand the perspective of many neurodivergent and disabled students and their experience in school and the world, and how I could best help those struggling with these issues in my classroom. I learned from teachers young and old, who had lived such different lives but who all brought such fascinating perspectives about teaching and life. I started the program wanting to learn how to be a better teacher, and I left with an understanding of how to become that person.

I am still miles away from my goals in teaching, but every failure and new experience is a step towards them. More than anything, the TAP program taught me that despite my shortcomings, as long as I strive to become better then I emulate the teacher I wish to be. TAP has helped me to gain confidence in my teaching skills and has helped me to believe that I can become the teacher that my students deserve. I thank everyone who has contributed to the program dearly.