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I have always believed in education. I was the typical goody-goody-two-shoes in high school, well in every grade, but I was more than that. I expanded my horizons and tried different things. I played sports, which taught me the value of teamwork and a little healthy competition. It also taught me what could happen with a little determination and drive. I was also a part of French club and the National Honor Society. Both taught me to be proud of who I am. It wasn't until college that I was able to direct my passions, reading and writing, to a career path. In college, I discovered that my passion was passing on my love of learning, of reading and writing. I also defined my beliefs as a life long learner and as a teacher. My beliefs are described below.
Education is many things. It is curriculum knowledge gained through textbooks and other learning tools, but it is also personal life skills gained in the classroom. While it is the teacher's responsibility to cover the curriculum, a teacher's job does not end there. It is also the teacher's responsibility to aid in the development of the whole child, which involves a child's emotional, mental, physical, and cognitive abilities. School is where a child learns to socialize, respect others, develop self-esteem, and learn discipline, accountability and responsibility. Every child should be given the chance to develop as a whole person.
It is a teacher's responsibility to provide learning experiences that are appropriate for all levels of learners. Teachers should have high expectations for all students, but neither high achievers nor low achievers should be frustrated by those expectations. If teachers create positive learning experiences for all students, I believe that learning will thrive throughout the classroom.
Children learn in different ways. All children deserve an equal chance to learn and it is the responsibility of the teacher to meet these different learning styles to the best of his or her ability. This is done by presenting material in a variety of ways, as well as incorporating as many hands-on experiences as possible. I believe children will retain material better if they experience it. I also believe children need to be shown the relevancy of content area material to real life.
Communication in education is important for the development of the whole child. By communicating effectively, teachers have the power to help every student strive to reach their dreams. I believe that learning is possible for all children. I also believe that all children can be successful. However, it takes a willingness to learn and a collective effort from the students, the teacher, and their parents to make it possible. Everyone needs to be involved if the development of the whole child is to take place.
My beliefs and convictions about education have grown and expanded through all of the different experiences I have had in education. However, I think the experiences from this past year have only made my beliefs and convictions stronger and more developed. In September of this past year I was asked to substitute long-term for an intervention specialist who is battling pancreatic cancer. I was asked to pursue a supplemental license in special education, which I began, unknowing the depth of a career in the field of special education. I quickly realized all that is involved in special education. I became privy to a side of teaching that I was completely in the dark about. I had no idea the demands that are placed upon not only the special education teachers, but the students as well. This is also where I met Sammy. As a young child, Sammy was identified with a cognitive disability. As a fourth grader, Sammy was reading at barely a first grade level, could only do basic addition and subtraction, and behaved like a robot. However, Sammy had great comprehension when a passage or word problem was read to him. He was the model student; he did whatever was asked, the first time, and had a passion for learning. He made everyone he met smile. Yet, I had my work cut out for me. His mom wanted to see improvements. She worked with him and I worked extra with him when I could. Sammy's passion for learning made me dig deeper into my teaching toolbox for a way to present the information in a way that Sammy would understand. This was not always easy. In fact, it was a lot of trial and error, but by the end of the school year, Sammy's reading had improved a little, he could now add and subtract 4 digit numbers, and multiply one digit numbers. He blossomed socially. His sense of humor developed right before my eyes. He smiled more and he was more comfortable around his peers. He was a robot no more. Sammy changed my opinion about special education to a more positive one. He motivated me to do my best. It is this motivation and experience that has led me to pursue an intervention specialist's license. I feel that through the personal rapport and creativity that I put into my teaching, I can help the students in special education achieve their goals and be successful not only in the classroom, but in life too.
I am a very passionate educator who puts everything I have into whatever I do. Through my experiences this past year, I have learned a lot about teaching and about meeting the needs of all students. For this reason, I believe I am needed in the field of special education.