Saturday, March 10, 2007

March Madness II

Question 2: Describe training and/or experiences you have had that best qualify you to work effectively with students who have special learning needs such as learning disabilities or attention deficits.
I have had the pleasure of working with a diverse and wonderful population of students. Over the course of the past five years, I have had an abundance of professional experiences which have helped me develop as an effective teacher for students who have special needs. Whether as a tutor, counselor, teacher’s assistant, or classroom instructor, each of my experiences has added another dimension to my teaching and honed skills that I have come to value and cherish.
My intention into being an educator began as a part-time tutor in the academic support center at Antioch College. Through all four years of my studies, I tutored and aided students who were transitioning to become successful in college courses. I think one of the greatest gifts I possess as an educator is patience. My tenacity and fortitude led me to become a successful tutor on campus. After graduation, I became a counselor for students and parents who had been abused. These students faced a myriad of learning and social challenges. I worked with counselors and special education teachers to help them rise above and work with their disabilities. Facilitating and witnessing their academic victories remain part of my inspiration to being a professor.
By far the most rewarding and experiential aspect that has influenced my ability to work with students with special needs has evolved from being a classroom teacher. I have several classes that are devoted to struggling readers as well as students who have an array of learning disabilities. Although my training and education have given me a great foundation for working with these students, I have found that forming personal relationships, observing, and showing care and patience for students who may learn differently is the strongest tool in my toolbox for helping every student be successful.

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