Teacher of Students with Special Needs
Teacher of Students with Special Needs
As a young teenager, I was unsure what I wanted to do as a career. I went through several different majors through my first two years as an undergraduate. During my second year as an undergrad, I had the opportunity to mentor a middle school male for an adolescent psychology course. The student was learning new concepts that he was struggling to understand from his teachers. It was at this moment, I realized that I had a natural gift. I was raised with an older brother diagnosed with...
As a young teenager, I was unsure what I wanted to do as a career. I went through several different majors through my first two years as an undergraduate. During my second year as an undergrad, I had the opportunity to mentor a middle school male for an adolescent psychology course. The student was learning new concepts that he was struggling to understand from his teachers. It was at this moment, I realized that I had a natural gift. I was raised with an older brother diagnosed with Williams Syndrome and an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Therefore, working with children, adolescents, and people with special needs was something I have done my entire life. At this time, I applied to work at the local YMCA with “at-risk” teens helping them with homework and teaching them the core YMCA values. I began as counselor and was quickly promoted to a site director for the program and the summer program. I found that I had a gift of motivating, encouraging, teaching, and changing students’ perceptions on their futures and watched several of them display growth knowing I played a small role in pushing that student in the right direction. Therefore, I became a teacher because I had a life experience and could bring a family perspective to the field of special education, and because of my experiences working with adolescents during my first couple of years during my undergraduate studies. Which has led me into spending the last eleven amazing years working with students of all abilities levels in which I have never taught the same lesson twice.
After earning my Bachelor's Degree from Northern Illinois University in Special Education, I had the opportunity to work at a private therapeutic day school called Clare Woods Academy. I taught in a self-contained classroom with multiple needs with ages ranging from eight to twelve. The majority of the student population within my classroom were students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Although my three years of experience at Clare Woods Academy was one I loved and will never forget, I had to move forward into the public school sector for financial reasoning. Following my experience at Clare Woods Academy, I have worked for Plainfield Consolidated School District 202 in Plainfield, IL at the school district's public alternative school, Plainfield Academy. I have been working at Plainfield Academy for the past nine years. During the past nine years I continued to work with students with multiple ability ranges from your typical "regular education" students that was board placed in the building, students diagnosed with emotional/behavioral disorders, students diagnosed with learning disabilities, and students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. During the past nine years, I have learned several ways to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of my students and help them excel at a fast pace while I taught a comprehensive behavior program simultaneously throughout each class period. It was a great opportunity to work in an alternative school environment and I felt it was a true learning community in which not only did students learn but the faculty did, also. I moved to Keyport, NJ in June of 2015 to work on my dissertation in the field of special education which led me to begin tutoring.
Strong attributes of a teacher would include several different factors. An excellent teacher must have good organizational skills and knowledge of the curricular content to be able to prepare effective lessons in a sequential manner. Prior to that, an excellent teacher must know his/her students’ needs and learning styles to allow for differentiating a lesson that applies to all learning styles within the classroom. In addition, an excellent teacher should be well prepared prior to a lesson in order to keep students engaged throughout the entire class period while using classroom management strategies. A lesson should be designed with natural transitions within the class to meet the needs of all students and allowing them to learn through their experiences with the content being taught. A teacher should act more as a facilitator of a lesson to allow students to generate ideas and concepts in a more meaningful manner. Finally and most importantly, a teacher must be moving around and assessing students during activities given whether it be a hands on activity, small group activity, large group activity, or independent activity. This will allow the teacher to engage with the students through asking them higher-order thinking questions to allow for further growth and reflect on what the students are learning. If the students are having difficulties with the task given, an excellent teacher will use the reflective process to re-engage and re-teach the concept to increase student learning. In conclusion, I believe instruction should create opportunities for collaboration, problem solving, real life application, reflection, and allow students to take ownership of their learning. Effective teachers continue to grow professionally, use a variety of technology, use data collection and reflection process to increase student learning, and collaborate with colleagues to share exemplary practices.
As you can see, my experiences and my education make me a great candidate to help you with your learning needs. Please contact me to schedule sessions to meet your learning needs.