There is a lot to be said for having known a great teacher. Looking back you may recall a teacher who had profound influence on you or even had a hand in shaping the person you are today. It is what teachers do, after all! Teaching is the only profession, across the board, that can claim credit for working with tomorrow’s leaders and shaping the future of the world.
One of those such teachers is, Tara, a special educator focusing on children with severe and profound disabilities. Her focus age group is kindergarten through the second grade. In her classroom she works with up to 10 students who range in various disabilities, either categorized with behavioral or cognitive disabilities. Based on their cognitive level, she provides specialized instruction for each child.
On how she got involved with special education:
“It started in high school, students had the opportunity to take an elective called S.A.S or Students Assisting Students. We spent time in severe/profound classrooms and could help the students with work and life skills. After being in the classroom one semester I knew this was the field for me. I loved going there each day. These were the happiest kids in the world who had been through so much and still wanted to learn.”
On what she loves about the job:
“These students have minor achievements daily, and when they get a concept they’ve been working on, seeing how excited they get makes it all worth it.”
On challenges she faces:
“Budget cuts are a big one right now. Schools don’t have enough money to supply enough teaching assistants or supplies. Usually, we pay for everything we need in the classroom. I have 10 students all varying in needs and not enough resources to supply them.”
On advice to future teachers:
“As I wrap up my first year, my advice to incoming teachers is don’t expect everything to be perfect. It is nothing like the classroom. You will constantly learn new things.”
Lastly, Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off on May 2nd through May 6th. Thank a teacher in your life, because it takes super human power to shape little minds. For more information on Teacher Appreciation Week visit the National Education Association website.