Believe it or not, teachers have a major impact on our lives.
Not only do they pump us with important information, teach us viable skills, and organize fun field trips (yes, we do consider this part to be extremely important in everyone's path towards higher education), teachers' views and attitudes can highly influence their students' outlook of the world.
Just as a good teacher can change our lives for the better, a bad one can prevent us from growing, learning, and self-improving.
Only when you realize the importance a teacher has or had in every single one of our lives, only then can you fully appreciate the things this Jacksonville, Fla., educator does for his pupils.
Meet Chris Ulmer — or, as his students refer to him, Mr. Chris.
Ulmer is a special education teacher and works with a group of children who have various diagnoses, from autism to speech apraxia and traumatic brain injury.
Ulmer told A Plus that his foray into special education was quite random — after graduating from media studies at Penn State, he wanted to focus on coaching college soccer.
However, Ulmer found his heart set on child education while he was finishing his master's degree. And it hasn't changed ever since.
He's been working with the same group for three years now and says they've become a family. But it all didn't happen just naturally ...
In his lessons, Ulmer employs lots of different techniques to make sure the children are not only learning basic information about the world, but also develop their empathic and creative skills.
They talk about each student's disorder, perform songs and play games, and discuss complex topics such as equality, the economy, love, and friendship. Ulmer uploads snapshots of their sessions to his Facebook page, Special Books by Special Kids, which he created after a failed attempt to publish a book about his experience.
One of his recent posts has exceptionally garnered people's attention. In a post shared on November 15, Ulmer shows the 10-minute morning ritual he and his students undergo every day.
Ulmer explains that every morning he takes 10 minutes to compliment students in his special education class:
With just a few words said personally to each student, Ulmer outlines their strengths and talents instead of focusing on their "deficits." He believes this simple gesture is the best way to teach kids about love and harmony.
Ulmer claims that since the class acquired this practice, the kids' confidence and self-worth has dramatically increased.
"After a few weeks of this practice, my students started complimenting one another consistently. They praise each other for accomplishments as if it was their own," Ulmer writes in his video.