I find nothing more rewarding than helping a student reach an "aha!" moment, or opening a student's eyes to something they never dreamed they would enjoy. These instances alone have made my short time teaching priceless. I am going on my third year teaching, and still have a lot to learn.
Since I began, I have been teaching students with special needs, but their disabilities have run the gamut. I have taught students in both standardized and alternate assessment programs, in grades Kindergarten through 8th, and I have had equally invaluable experiences in every setting. Currently, I am teaching a classroom of 3rd through 5th graders with mild to severe learning disabilities. One of my broad goals for this year is to bring my students to a place where they view their disability not as an obstacle holding them back, but as an opportunity to view the world and new information from a different perspective.
I have extremely high expectations for my students, and I guide them toward reaching those expectations in ways that I know will support their learning and will make them want to learn more. I have vivid memories of Elementary school and the challenges I faced, and I believe that those memories are what help me to develop the most effective strategies for helping my students learn. I know what did and did not work for me in school, and I am sensitive to the fact that each child learns in his or her own unique way.
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