My Story of Inspiration: Mrs. Joe

My Story of Inspiration: Mrs. Joe

Zoey Mahlmann
October 31, 2017

It is not always easy being a 13 year old girl. Having ASD doesn’t help much either. ASD is short for Autism Spectrum Disorder, but I like to say Autism Spectrum Difference because there is nothing the matter with me, I don’t have a disorder, my brain just works differently sometimes. I have been homeschooled since first grade. I love being homeschooled because it is difficult to focus when there is a lot of stuff going on around me. Noises, lights and the world distract me. Sitting still and quiet for too long is impossible also. When I was little I liked school, I wanted to learn. It takes me a little longer, but once I learn something, I’ve got it. Sometimes in the past my teachers didn’t understand that and thought I did not want to learn, or maybe I couldn’t learn. I think I started believing that too.

My mom teaches me at home and we have support from teachers and providers through our charter school. A couple of summers ago after a really bumpy school year, my parents felt frustrated, hopeless and lost. They were thankful to meet with the Special Education Director and her team from our school. My parents didn’t know which direction to go with my education or what to do. The Special Education Director, Maria Carr and her team gave my parents some great ideas and told them about a teacher that might be a good fit for me. Mrs. Carr was so right!!

My teacher’s name is Colleen Joe. I call her Mrs. Joe. She lives about 450 miles away from us. Mrs. Joe teaches me online. It is like sitting at the table together on our computers and learning. Mrs. Joe is kind when she teaches her students. She never gets upset when I make mistakes; she takes time to help me to understand how to do things correctly. She is very cool and awesome! She is patient. Mrs. Joe is always happy and laughs with me. She even came to have sushi at my favorite restaurant and to visit with my family last summer when she was in our area for meetings. When we met, Mrs. Joe and I were both surprised to see that I am a little taller than she is. I love that!

This year Mrs. Joe and I are reading my first novel together. She is not just teaching me how to read a book, but now I am excited about reading. I wrote my first essay on Ancient China recently. Mrs. Joe loves China. She taught me how to add pictures to my essay and how to write a bibliography too. It was amazing. I am learning algebra now also. Mrs. Joe helps my mom and my other teachers with ways to teach me that help me to understand my lessons better.

It must be difficult to be a teacher sometimes. I think Mrs. Joe is very brave to be a special education teacher. I wanted to write this to tell you how Mrs. Joe is helping to change my life every day by teaching me. She shows me that even though school and learning are so much work, I can do it. She believes in me and now I believe in myself too. Mrs. Joe tells me “Zoey you are such a smart girl, I am so proud of you!” I would like to thank Mrs. Joe for teaching me and inspiring me to believe in myself again. Mrs. Joe, I am so proud of you too!