We all experience moments in our lives that leave us changed, forever marked and forever transformed.
Dec. 15, 2000, shaped the life of Anna Wells, an Auburn University education major. This was the day two proud parents welcomed Robin Hobbs, their new baby girl, into the world. Wells celebrated the birth of her first cousin, and little did she know the impact this 6-pound-5-ounce child would have on her life.
Hobbs was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder leaving her unable to learn basic skills such as reading and writing. Doctors told the family they were unsure if their little girl would ever be able to speak or communicate with the outside world.
Devastated and defeated, the family began to take Hobbs to special education classes. The 6-year-old girl resisted at first, but she soon began to make progress in her classes.
“I knew the moment I saw Robin she would impact my life,” said Wells. “The first time I watched her pick up a pencil I knew what I was put on this earth to teach special needs children.”
After 10 months of special needs classes, Hobbs said her first word; mom.
There are few individuals in the world that are capable of teaching special needs children. It takes patience, love and a constant belief you’re making a difference in a young person’s life.
“I spend twice as long preparing lesson plans for my special needs children as I do for my other children,” said Wells. “Is it worth it? Absolutely.”
Wells has been given the opportunity to teach at several different schools, allowing her to best prepare for the future. In the last three years she has taught at Opelika Middle School, Beulah High School and Northside Intermediate School.
“I have never left a school without feeling like I had impacted at least one of my students,” said Wells “I remember the time when my 12-year-old student wrote her name for the first time, I felt like I had changed the world. There is no better emotion than bringing light into a student’s world where there is so much darkness.”
Wells has taken on a challenging roll as a special needs educator, one that not many individuals are capable of undertaking.
Like Robert Frost once famously wrote, “And I look the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Wells hopes to graduate in May. She plans to stay in Auburn and continue impacting special needs children.