LeBlanc Elementary teacher Amy Thibodeaux
LeBlanc Elementary teacher uses disability to motivate her
School began last Thursday here in Vermilion Parish. The hallways and desks gained new occupants as new students and teachers began their first lessons of the 2018-2019 school year.
LeBlanc Elementary gained a new teacher this year, Amy Thibodeaux, who is teaching fourth grade, Writing, Language and Social Studies and is partnered up with another teacher who will be teaching Math and Science.
Thibodeaux plans to be a supportive and loving teacher who wants to give her students not only an education but knowledge about what it means to be considerate, loving and respectful.
“I don’t support bullying” she says, “being disabled myself gives me strength, so I want to show them that I am a person that is capable of many things even though I may seem different to them.”
Thibodeaux has Cerebral Palsy. She says that growing up, her family was supportive and loving at all times, as well as her teachers. She recalls her third grade teacher, Mrs. Gautier at S.J. Montgomery giving her daily compliments, not about how she was doing academically, but how she was as a person, saying things such as ‘You have such beautiful long eyelashes’ or ‘You are so kind.’ Thibodeaux says that little things like that inspired her to do the same for children when she grew up.
Growing up with a disability could lead to many issues with self confidence and perception.
In fact, according to disabled-world.com people often experience more than four stages of adjustment to a physical disability which include, but are not limited to anxiety, depression, externalized aggression and adjustment.
Instead of thinking that she could not accomplish her dream of becoming a teacher, her disability inspired her to work diligently into changing statistics and showing other people who feel as if they cannot accomplish what they may want that it is indeed possible.
“My students, I hope, will smile when they understand my story, instead of frowning” she says, “and my first day proved just that.” On Thursday, Thibodeaux shared with her class the reason they may notice that she walks differently and assured them that it was okay for them to ask questions about it. “I feel like I was able to relate to them and that made my first day even more special.”
Along with the support of her family and teachers in grade school, she has admired many of her professors during her time at ULL. Dr. Lucy Begnaud, who is newly retired, taught Thibodeaux so many great things and credits her for being a huge part in making her a great teacher, as well as many other teachers who mentored her during her student-teaching experience at LeBlanc.
“My first day of teaching, I was so nervous” she says, “From watching someone do all of the procedures to actually doing them yourself was a small adjustment for me, an adjustment that is well worth it.”
Thibodeaux makes it clear that she wants anyone and everyone to be inspired by her story. She wants to build a foundation of great teachers, teachers who understand children, children who understand diversity and communities who welcome ‘difference.’
“I want my students to feel comfortable enough to confide in me” she says, “whether it be something personal, or just a little help with an assignment or information.”
Teachers are the gateway to success, building a strong relationship with your students, building their confidence, and seeing students helping other students is a great way to start spreading love, kindness, and making strong and capable adults, no matter what may slow them down.