I Believe - by Will Schuetze
By: Will Schuetze
I just started high school when I met my two new teachers, Ms. Stinson and Ms Demi. I was not happy to come to high school, especially for a kid with autism like me, when being around four hundred students feels like being around a million loud students, and having all new teachers was scary. When you have autism, you get used to the same words from the same teachers. You get used to the same schedule and if your schedule changes, you can’t function. Your brain gets off. It’s hard to get back to your schedule.
Ms. Stinson’s room was calming. I liked all my friends, but still, I was not used to the new classroom and new teachers. My first week was hard. I threw everything on the floor. The next week, I felt something inside of me when I was throwing a computer away. I had these two teachers in front of me waiting with all the patience in the world. These two teachers made me stop and think - made me stop the bad behavior. For the first time in my life I felt bad for what I did. They had patience and understanding of my behavior that nobody had for me since elementary school when I had Mr. Jeff. I felt that I was loved by my teachers. That made me feel good.
I’m a boy with autism who cannot talk. I mean, not a single word. My parents took me to this lady named Soma who taught me to use this letterboard and communicate with her. I can’t use the letterboard with everybody. I wish I could, but I guess my autism won’t let me. I think a lot about how to win autism and be able to use the board with everybody.
It was a Tuesday and I was doing LA with Mrs. Demi when I first used the letterboard at high school. I will never forget her happiness. She is a teacher with an accent. It took me a while to understand her talking to me, but don’t worry, it won’t take you long to understand her inside beauty and the love she has for her job. She is the teacher who made me believe in myself. Stinson is as good as Demi. She believes in me. She made me not be afraid to show this world that even kids like me can be smart. When my teachers realized how much I know, Ms. Stinson wanted me to be able to earn high school credit. That is a big change for me to go to general ed. I was in life skills classroom all my life. I was very excited and scared at the same time about going to general ed.
It is hard to believe the work the middle school teachers made me do. When Stinson came to visit me I was so embarrassed for her to see me doing kindergarten work in eighth grade. Sometimes I think it was not the teachers’ fault. It was me not being able to use the letterboard. They had no idea how much I know and I didn’t think they believed I was smart. They thought that functional was more important for me to learn than academics. I didn’t like that, so I never did good work and so they thought I couldn’t sort forks. I know how functional is important in life, but nobody knows how important the academics are to me. I just want to be able to learn more and be able to go to college. I think I can do that. My teachers made me believe I can do that. I never believed I could go to a class with twenty students and be able to sit quietly and learn with my peers in general ed.
I wanted to write about my story because these teachers changed my life. I believe that having a good teacher can change your life, just like they changed mine.
Will Schuetze is a freshman at Westlake Highschool in Austin, TX. Born in 1996, he has lived his entire life in Austin with his parents Karin and Tim Schuetze. He has two younger siblings: Bryan ( 13), and Julia (8). Although nonverbal, he has found his written voice, and through that medium, amazes those around him with his knowledge of world politics, current events, and his witty stories. His favorite activities are watching cooking shows, swimming, hiking, watching movies, and basketball. He wants to go to college someday and pursue a degree in Economics.
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