SUCCESS 1 and 2 Teacher
Employer- ESU 6
Years- Beginning my 2nd year of teaching
Bachelor of Arts in Education- December 2014 University of Nebraska - Kearney
Endorsements- Mild to Moderate K – 6 Field BAE
Early Childhood Unified 2nd Major
TESE- 873 Teaching Students with Multiple Disabilities Grade- A+
TESE- 872 Instructional Strategies for Individual with Intellectual Disabilities Grade- A
TESE- 880 Critical Issues in Special Education Grade- Ongoing
2015 - 2016 ESU 6- SUCCESS 1 and 2 Teacher
I teach a SUCCESS program in Geneva, NE at Fillmore Central Elementary School. I educate children that need extra time, help, love, and patience that are in kindergarten through the fourth grade. Many of my students are non-verbal and/or have physical disabilities; therefore, they present different teaching challenges. I am constantly adapting to their individual needs and learning with them, while utilizing a life skills program. I am passionate about this work and love what I do though often challenging.
January 2015 to May 2015 Paraeducator
After I graduated from the University of Nebraska, Kearney, I worked as a paraeducator, within the Kearney Public School system, at Central Elementary School. I worked in the life skills program and individually assisted a student in meeting his specific educational goals. This student has seizures and needed extra assistance at all times of the day. Working in this program, taught me many things like patience and overtime progress can be made with any student. I continue to implement these attributes in my current classroom.
While still attending college I worked at a church camp, Lutherhaven, for three summers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. While I worked with a variety of campers throughout the summer, I was most passionate about working with Champ Campers. For two weeks of the summer, special needs campers, aged 7- 40 came to camp. My group of campers consisted of 6-10 champ campers and also high school volunteers. I tailored that camp’s curriculum to my campers, organized appropriate games/activities, and also supervised the younger volunteers. It was while working with these campers that I decided to be teacher for students who have special needs and require extra help.
Further my education to benefit my students’ education
When I began attending college I did not know what I wanted to do and so I had a hard time focusing on my studies. After I worked with special needs youth, as mentioned above, I decided that I wanted to teach special needs students for my career. After this realization, I began school at the University of Nebraska – Kearney to obtain my teaching degree in Special Education. I excelled at my education classes and have used the things I learned in the classroom to improve the education of my students in their classroom. This past summer I was able to take some graduate level courses. From the classes I have already taken I feel that my students have been able to benefit from my classes already in many ways. An example is in TESE 873, I learned about different tools for communication, I use the tools from this class in my classroom everyday. One of the tools I use is a reward chart; it allows students to see what they are working for and how many more activities they have to get done before the student get that specific reward.
Making myself available to other positions within the special education field
I have taught within a special education classroom for one year and have now begun my second. At this time, I still have a lot of passion about teaching in this field; I envision myself teaching for many more years. As I continue my education I will continue to grow and change in my position as an educator. Farther down the road, I would like to consider working in administration or supervising other teachers. Specifically, I can see myself educating future special education teachers. In this way, I will continue to teach and have an impact on special needs students by preparing their educators.
Improving my IEP skills
One of the most important roles of my position is to write IEPs and to ensure that everyone on the IEP team is in agreement about the goals and progress of the student. While I have been improving on my IEP skills, this program could assist me in writing the best IEPs for my students. While improving my IEP skills I would like to focus on the goal portion by tailoring goals to student’s needs and having more specific goals that relate better to each student. Through this program I will gain confidence in writing IEPs and can then assist others both in writing IEPs and using IEPs. More clear and precise IEPs will ensure that everyone is on the same page. I would also like to learn more and become proficient at the SRS system and how it functions. Since the SRS system is used in almost every school in Nebraska, I feel that it would be wonderful to have more knowledge on how to use this program to the fullest, which in return will help with writing IEPs and IEP goals.
To gain a Masters in Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living Skills Specialist
I am very excited to start working on this degree. When I started to look into master’s programs I knew that I wanted to continue my education in regards to life and functional skills. I contacted Dr. Donna Montgomery and she shared with me that UNK would have the perfect degree. As soon as I found out that UNK was going to have this exciting and new degree, I immediately decided to apply for this program. I was not passionate about school until I began my teaching degree. I want to continue that passion and excitement through this program.
Gaining skills to teach my students
In the teaching profession, and specifically life skills, it is important to continue one’s education. I want to stay up-to date on the newest techniques and skills so that I can be the best teacher possible. I work with a variety of youth, which can change every year, and so it is important to stay current on curriculum and methods for all different students. There are many different challenges that can occur with my students, and I want the knowledge to deal with each challenge as it arises. I want to continue to learn and challenge myself to give my students the best education possible.
Use of Technology
Computers- I use computers to help my students with typing skills and learning the alphabet. I use computers to teach students new skills and to review skill that students have already mastered. I also use computers as independent workstations.
Tobii and Proloquo2go- In my classroom, I have students who use technology to communicate to others. These two different programs are amazing for students who need help with communication, it allows them to have a voice. These programs allow for students to have more independence.
iPads- for communication and apps- Technology is an integral role in my classroom. I use it for basic learning purposes, however, I also use it for communication. IPads can assist in communicating with students that I otherwise would have a hard time communicating with. Students are able to review and learn new skills. iPads are also used for incentives/rewards for completed work.
Example of van rules
I made this for a student who needed visuals for getting on the van before and after school.
Safe room think sheet
I use this with students after they have had a difficult time in class. This is a nice way to talk about what we can do differently next time.
This is the computer systems student uses for communication.
Example of van rules
Safe room think sheet
Experience with Diversity
Low Income families- I student taught and worked as a Para in a school that was mainly composed of low-income families.
Children from abused, abandoned or neglected situations- I volunteered at a camp for youth that had been in abusive homes. I have also worked with students that have been removed from their home due to abuse. These situations have given rise to unique challenges and sensitivities that must be taken into consideration while completing their educational plans.
This summer, I visited Haiti through an organization called Healing Haiti. The purpose of this trip was to visit where my stepfather was born and give back to his home country. One of the volunteer opportunities I participated in was a visit to a special needs orphanage. Due to the lack of basic educational resources, my goal in the next year is to help create, build and financially support a sensory wall.