Teaching tip: Choose your words carefully

Perhaps this paragraph seems a little harsh for the third paragraph of an advocacy letter, but in re-reading it, I can only sense the reserve and carefulness with which I held back my frustration and anger (the letter was written two years after I first met Bryan, my eyes red from crying and my heart reflecting on what I should have known and what I might have done differently had I known the depth of dysfunction to come).

As a special education teacher, I knew the power of words, written documents, and a teacher's signature. I also knew that I could be sued, fired, or worse if I wrote untruthfully or slandered the Longs. Despite the injustice which was the topic of my letter, Ms. Long's rights had to be protected.

Today, with additional experience as a special education teacher, as well as the benefit of a Masters’ degree and doctoral coursework in Special Education, and after countless re-readings of this letter, I would not take back one word of that paragraph from 2009, nor any words from the paragraphs and pages that followed.