Course Reflection

By Jennifer Rehmert

Letter of Expectation

I believe this class is required to prepare us for what it is like to be a teacher in a Special Education classroom. Children with special needs are sometimes difficult to work with because their needs are much higher than normal children. Sometimes it can be frustrating trying to understand what they need or why they just can't do things the way other children do. During this class, I hope to be able to decide if teaching is something I really want to pursue, or if I should make a different plan.

From my time observing classrooms in the Intro to Teaching class, I discovered that classrooms have changed since I was in school and even since my children were in school. I am still interested in teaching, but I don’t know what kind of classroom I should be in, or if I should instead help children in other ways, such as being a counselor or a para. I am still very open to the idea of being a teacher. Ever since I was a young girl, I have wanted to be a teacher. Playing school was one of my favorite things to play. I just hope I have the self discipline, creativity and patience to do it.

I have had some experience with Special Education children through my family, my time as a day care provider, and from when I was in high school. My nephew David is autistic and my niece Lexi has cerebral palsy. While I was a day care provider, I took care of a little boy with spina bifida for several years, and also several children with ADHD and other behavioral problems.

Children with special needs are not dumb. Most of them are very intelligent, they just have a hard time expressing their needs. Sometimes it is hard to understand what their needs are, and it is hard to comprehend what it is like to live in their world. For example, children with Autism have to have things done on a strict schedule and they need a reliable routine. My nephew tends to have melt downs if everything is not the same way every time. My sister has a hard time when her husband is out of town for work, because that always starts the day off in a different way. As a caregiver, or teacher, that can be very frustrating because life does not always happen on a schedule.

My plan to be successful is to really try to make the most out of this class. Sometimes it is hard for me to be creative, so I tend to put off the things that require me to use my mind, or think outside of the box. My expectations for myself are to overcome this "fear" and just get things done. I don’t know why curriculum's scare me. I think once I know how to do them, maybe it won't be so scary for me.

My expectations as a teacher will rely on this semesters classes, and whether or not I will become a teacher, or find another way to help children. The kind of student I am now definitely will effect what kind of teacher I am, because if I am not able to get things done as a teacher, I will not be prepared to teach the children.

I think the issues I will face on my journey to become a teacher extend out further than whether or not I should teach, because of where I live. I am not sure how I will be able to student teach, go to classes, and still make a living. Most businesses here in Hesston do not stay open after 5 pm, and unfortunately school hours are typically 8 am to 3 or 4 pm. I am not sure this class can help in any way with that issue. I am hoping there is a simple solution to this problem.

Did the course meet your expectations?

Yes! This course was everything I thought it would be. I liked using the different forms of technology, but towards the end it got harder to find new methods that were not complicated to use.

Did you meet your own expectations of yourself?

I think I did meet my own expectations for this course. I did my best, and that is reflected in my grade. I actually completed everything on time, and did not have to use my late coupon, so that is always a good thing!

How did you “grow”?

I think I have more confidence now then I did at the beginning of the class. I was able to teach a lesson plan, which scared me to death, but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I was also able to interact with the Special Ed kids at the Hesston Middle School. We played games, and I helped them with their homework. It was a good experience.

What did you learn?

I learned that Special Ed students really are special. They are kind and caring, and they all deserve a chance to get the best education possible. I learned that Special Ed teachers need to be patient, listen, and really get to know the students in order to know what their individual needs are. Special needs children need structure and rules, and they need consistency.

What learning experiences will you "take with you" as a future teacher?

I believe that special needs students should be in a regular classroom as much as possible. These students need to be able to interact with the other students, and not be isolated in a separate room. Not only does this type of interaction give them more social skills, but it allows the students who are not labelled special needs a chance to see that the special education students are no different than they are, it just takes them a little longer to learn things.

What did you think of the course, the teacher, the students, the assignments?

I really enjoyed this course, and I also enjoyed each of the assignments. They were not difficult, but at the same time I had to use the creative side of my brain alot more than just reading a chapter in a book and then taking a test.

The students that I interacted with were alot of fun. I got beat playing the game Stacko, and learned that there is a program that allows students to speak and it will convert their words into text. This is especially helpful for students who have a hard time focusing.

Mrs. Quinn, the Special Ed teacher I worked with, was wonderful. She was very accommodating to my schedule, and she shared alot of information with me on her thoughts and values as a special education teacher.

Dr. G is a great instructor! She always answered my questions, offered great advise, and gave honest feedback. I really enjoyed being her student. I am a little sad that this is the last assignment!

What changes would you make, if any?

This class taught me alot, and built up my confidence. If there was one thing I would change, it would be the amount of apps and programs available to choose from for our assignments. The further along we got in the class, the harder it became to find a different program to use. Other than that, I would not change anything. Each lesson was very informative and fun to complete.