What she does:
I am a significant support needs teacher. My class is comprised of students in grades k-5 who have a variety of disabilities. Each student has a different communication, support, and general education inclusion need. My students are also members of military families. In addition to their disabilities, the children and families are continually dealing with the stress of frequent moves and deployments that can last for several months.
In addition to being a special education teacher, I have a 25-year-old nephew with cerebral palsy. Watching him grow up, I discovered that the more involved he was in school activities, the more accepting his fellow students were. Over the years I’ve discovered that relationships between students are not formed just by sitting in the classroom next to each other, but by sharing common experiences.
As a special education teacher, my goal is to integrate my students as much as possible into all aspects of the school day. I work with an amazing group of paraeducators who volunteer their time to support students in extracurricular activities like basketball, golf and various academic clubs. I also sponsor a social club where students with and without disabilities can interact in fun activities, as well as a sign language club.
What others assume:
People assume that a person with a disability cannot participate in “normal” activities or a typical classroom. Every person has a disability, some are just more obvious than others. My disability is math!
What they should really know:
With proper assistance, a person with a disability can do anything they want and exceed everyone’s expectations.
My biggest challenge is managing staff and schedules to ensure my student receive as much time as possible in inclusive classroom environments.
No success is too small. I love to celebrate every achievement with my students. I have whooped and hollered for a student who sounds out their very first word, or when they count to 10 for the first time.
I have the best job in the world!