Gentle Teaching Stories:
“It felt like home, and I knew I had found my place.”
November 11, 2021/inBlog, Gentle Teaching, Stories
I remember first hearing about Gentle Teaching in the presentation that Jim and Ben had given to my class. I had never heard of Gentle Teaching before, but was intrigued. As I listened to Jim and Ben talk about relationship building, the importance of companionship, autonomy, respect, and love I remember thinking to myself, “that is exactly how I think all humans should be treated.”
I realized I had been practicing Gentle Teaching, or aspects of Gentle Teaching for a long time. I also realized that I wanted to be a part of an organization that encouraged this type of care. Previously, I had worked at organizations that restrained people with disabilities, rewarded them for “good behaviour,” punished them for “bad behaviour” and treated them like perpetual children.
I have seen people being forced to do things, or told they were not allowed to do things because of their disability. I have heard caregivers degrade the people they were supporting, yell at them, and belittle them. I also experienced people with disabilities having their relationships, sexual preferences, desires, and fantasies laughed at, or told they were inappropriate. None of these instances were ways of care that I agreed with, or supported. I always knew that people deserved a life of equality and interdependence.
When I started I COR, I remember thinking it was a breath of fresh air to be surrounded by people who shared my views. People who inspired me, and truly believed in the same things as me. It felt like home, and I knew I had found my place. It wasn’t until I took Gentle Teaching training, and become to consciously use Gentle Teaching in my daily life that I started to understand how important it is to live a life of gentleness not only while you are activity supporting someone, but in daily life.
Gentle Teaching is my constant reminder to smile at the old man in the grocery store and offer a helping hand, to give grace to the women yelling at you for what appears to be for no reason, and to show compassion for the man on the street asking for money. Gentle Teaching has reminded me to slow down, take a deep breath, and use my eyes hands words and presence to help people feel safe. Not just towards the people I am supporting, but all people.
Gentle Teaching has taught me that showing unconditional love for someone, even at their most difficult times, can lead to a beautiful and mutual relationship. Over time, Gentle Teaching has simply become a part of who I am. It has improved my relationships and friendships, it has helped me navigate many difficult situations, and ultimately it has lead to a fulfilled career and life.
COR family member