Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to pull for the underdog, or the ones that had the less advantage. I pull for the team that barely has a fighting chance, and continuously cheer on the second best.  That feeling comes with being a teacher I guess, always wanting to help out and be the one to fix things. Children always had a special place in my heart, so once out of high school I could not wait to start my journey on the Special Education pathway. As many fresh out high school students do, I chose to complete my gen ed classes at the local community college starting in 1991. After two long years, I furthered my education at Lynchburg College and was endorsed in Special Education. If I felt like my callings were fulfilled at Lynchburg I would have stopped there, but I knew there was more for me. I came back and was endorsed in Learning Disabilities, Emotional Disturbances, and acquired my Autism Certificate. I did not complete all my schooling continuously; I put my motherhood responsibilities first, and then continued my education. Not only did I have all these endorsements under my belt, in 2000 I completed my Master’s Program in curriculum instruction. Due to all the great schooling and instruction I have been through I am licensed to teach K-12/ Learning Disabilities/ EBD/ Autism K-6 regular ed. In the classroom is where all my magic happens. For me, a typical day could derive of many things. Students come to me for a given period of time, and sometimes I would come to their class for inclusion purposes. Different students came in my classroom different days/times. Some students would stay for 50 minutes, others longer. When I was teaching my biggest frustration had to be the parents. If the parents are not involved in the students life then that makes our job more difficult than it already can be. I still see this as a problem that can arise in schools today. When the administrators are not knowledgeable about special education, it creates a challenge in the school that shouldn’t be a problem. But because they were not educated it could generate some conflict. With all this being said, I love my job and everything that comes along with it. When I mainstreamed my students in the classroom to where they can finally stay in the regular ed classroom, that was heaven on earth to me. Knowing that all your hard work and patience paid off is something money can’t buy.  Every year I go to the high school graduation and watch the students graduate. How awesome is it to see a student in elementary school struggling to read, and then seeing them on the podium receiving their diploma? That’s the moment when I realize this is what my job is all about.  To the future special education department, I advise you to be flexible and ready for everything, I mean everything! Do not let your students catch you off guard, they know when you are. Create high expectations for your students, if not they won’t reach for anything.

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One Response to Runner-Up

  1. Katherine Keller says:

    I think this is a really good way of looking at special education. I feel like a lot of us feel like we root for the underdogs. I know I think students with special needs can be so much more than anyone believes simply because so many of them that I have worked with don’t let their disability keep them down. That drive is so inspirational.

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