Growing up I always knew that I wanted to help people, that is my biggest passion and what makes my life going. When I first enrolled in college I wasn't sure which profession to pick but with help from my counselors and closest family members I made the decision to become a teacher and fulfill my dreams of helping others. In this journey many people have played a significant role in shaping who I am; my mom has become my biggest supporter by being there for me day and night in all the difficult moments, my husband that pushes me everyday to be my best version, my beautiful sister that looks up to me, my daughter that inspires me to work with children and my all my peers because we share this dream together. I can only hope that that in the near future I can become an inspiration to my students.
To be able to work with Exceptional Children there is a quite a bit that as teacher we need to understand:
Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Students (CLDE):
According to the book Teaching Students who Are Exceptional, Diverse and at Risk in the General Education Classroom Minorities constitute the majority of public high school students in more than 20 of the country’s largest school systems. Teachers need to be very open minded about the challenges that they may face and how to face them. My peer Maria Arriola commented the following regarding her cultural identity:
"Cultural identity is what makes us the person we are. We may not be aware of how much it impacts the way we see things or act. My cultural identity identifies me as who I am. I may be a little preservative on my background but I do not hide it. It´s not easy going around telling everyone where you come from, since you do not know how they will react to it"
Communicating and Collaborating with other Professionals and Families:
As teachers we need to be able to have a good relationship with the people around us , see Pearson (2014) in chapter 3 where it gives all the details such as communicating and collaborating with other professionals, and most importantly the family of children as part of the assessment, IEP participation, placement, transition, behavior support plans, and mediation.
"As teachers we need to be able to facilitate learning for our students especially for those who have disabilities" by Denisse Rodriguez
Developing Success for All Learners: Differentiating Instruction and Assessment for ALL Students
When teaching our students we need to keep in mind all the different approaches that we have, is our responsibility to cover different instructions to cover all the different learning styles. One of them is Differentiated Instruction my peer Iris Hernandez described to be the same material presented, just in a different way. She explained that Differentiated Instruction supports students with different learning styles, it helps with better retention of information, reduces time needed to learn new material, reduces failure/retention rates and students can demonstrate knowledge in a variety of ways.
"When learning solving problem mathematical problems there can be set up different workstations through out the classroom. The students will be divided into groups and they will rotate as a group until they have gone to every station. One station will have games to practice their addition problem solving real life question and they will have to come up wit solutions. Another station will be focus on subtraction activities. Another station will be on analyzing graphs. The student will have to solve each activity to go on through the next station they will have a limited amount of time to do it" by Ariadne Diaz
Response to Intervention (RTI) is another well known approach and it is define as a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. With the RTI approach schools can identify students that have poor learning outcomes, be able to monitor the student progress and be able to adjust the intensity or frequency of those interventions depending on the student’s responsiveness, and also be able to identify students with learning disabilities.
"RTI approach is beneficial for all students whether if they are in general or special education and it can be implemented in all grade levels." by Destiny Grolou
Social Acceptance and Managing Student Behavior
When setting up our classroom, we need to make sure that we establish a classroom climate where our students can feel comfortable, that promotes appropriate behaviors and acceptance of students with disabilities. In Pearson, chapter 5 they give us a few tips to create the “Learning happens here!” environment such as seating arrangement that helps communication to all the students, and how to create an organization,easy access to instructional materials, and many ways to limit distractions. Students perform best in organized classrooms where materials, equipment, and personal items are in good condition and well arranged.
In order to obtain an excellent student performance, teachers need to become their role model. We need to treat all of our students with respect, my modeling respect we avoid situations such as bullying against students especially our special needs kids. Diversity is a huge part of our schools, we need to make sure that our students respect all the different backgrounds. To ensure that we create a positive environment in the classroom we can focus in different types of providing feedback such as Positive and Negative Reinforcement or the Token system, that help us to encourage a better behavior without judging the student.
Transition Across the Lifespan Transition planning is a process mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) for all students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in K-12 education. The purpose is to facilitate the student’s move from school to post-school activities. You can find more information on https://ldaamerica.org/transition-planning-requirements-of-idea-2004/
IDEA :The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The US Department of Education describes IDEA as a "law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities." So what exactly is this? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all schools need to serve the educational needs of eligible students with disabilities. Schools must evaluate students suspected of having disabilities, including learning disabilities but keep in mind that not every child with learning and attention issues qualifies for special education services under the IDEA law. They are 13 kinds of disabilities that IDEA covers: Autism , Deaf-blindness, Deafness, Emotional disturbance, Hearing Disturbance, Hearing impairment, Intellectual disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic impairment, Other health impairment (including ADHD), Specific learning disability (including dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, among others), Speech or language impairment, Traumatic brain injury, Visual impairment, including blindness. For more information follow the link to their main website http://idea.ed.gov/
GT : Gifted and Talented Students
The Texas Association for the gifted and Talented describes "“Gifted and talented student means a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience or environment and who: exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative or artistic area; possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or excels in a specific academic field. As a teacher working with gifted students also means adapting the curriculum and lesson plans to be more suitable for the students. For more information you can visit the following website http://www.txgifted.org/
"As a teacher something that I will do to incorporate the students who are considered Gifted and Talented is by providing lessons that are apt for everyone. Maybe for some students a slight modification or challenge might need to be added but it is important to always keep the students engaged in the lesson." by Estefania Ortega
Here are a few websites that help parents and teachers understand more about children with special needs
• Council for Exceptional Children is a website that provides information and updates about resources for Special Education http://www.cec.sped.org/
• National Center for Learning Disabilities http://www.ncld.org/ this site is well known because they provide answers to frequently asked questions.
• Help Guide websites is one of my favorites because it helps children with learning disabilities and also people battling other issues such as depression and anxiety. I encourage people to visit this site at https://www.helpguide.org/
One of the biggest issues that affect our students is the poor engagement of the parents. As a future teacher I want to make sure that parents feel welcome in the classroom. At the beginning of the school I want to make the parent feel as part of our classroom by inviting them personally to a "get to know each other conference" We teachers often believe that they do not want to participate in their children's school, but the truth is they don't know how to become involve, we need to be their guide and let them know exactly where we need the help. Parents of Exceptional Children in particular need to be very involved in the creation of their children IEP and the transition planning. The key for a successful relationship between teachers and parents is communication.
"In order to increase their involvement I would arrange an appointment with the parents and talk about their child before the transition. I believe the best way for parents to get comfortable with this process would be by asking them why they feel uncertain in having their sons or daughters at the IEP meetings so that I can clear information about the transition plan and help them understand what it really does to their child and to not be concerned." by Monica Gabaldon
"One way I would have the student be more involved is maybe by them taking notes in the meeting of what they like and don't like. Hearing straight from the student what he/she likes is a big deal. We don't want to put the child in something that they are not comfortable with" by Margaret Cunnington
I am more than blessed that I have the opportunity to work with Exceptional Children, because for me they are equally the same as everybody else. Exceptional Children deserve the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Is about time that we stop point them out of the society and calling them "Special Needs" because what is exactly that? Every individual has and we are all special!
My wonderful children at my work.
Letter for the Principal
Dear Mrs. Principal,
I am very interested in the teaching position that you listed in the main website of Las Cruces Public Schools. I am much honored to say this May I completed my Bachelor in Bilingual Education EC-6 from the University of Texas at El Paso. This spring semester I concluded my student teaching in the school district of Carlsbad, NM which I loved every second from reading stories, helping with the grammar and completing science projects.
Teaching in an Elementary School is an exciting chapter of my life. Instruction in an Elementary School not only will challenge me as a new teacher but also as a human being. It will open new opportunities to obtain experience as an educator applying the different techniques that I learned from all my talented professors that helped me throughout my academic success while completing my degree. During my Service Learning I worked with students in the elementary level. This included working with Exceptional children using hands-on activities and different teaching styles such as Direct Teaching using imagery as an aid tool, Student-Centered Approach and Inquire-Based Learning to accommodate the different learning styles of each student in the classroom.
As a human being I always had the passion of helping others, I believe that when you give the best to other people it inspires them to try their best at everything that they do. I discovered that as a teacher you help the students become the best version of themselves and help them achieve their academic success. I was first interested in pursuing a career in the teaching field when I was inspire by my own teachers at a very young age, as the years passed I knew that had a desire for teaching young children.
I understand that I don’t have teaching experience, but if you’re looking for someone with a natural-driven passion to teach- one that puts her all heart into what she is doing and desire to learn- then you should consider me for your fall position.
I am sure that my skills and personality are suitable with your job requirements. I’m so happy if I get the opportunity to meet you in person for further selecting process. Do not hesitate to contact me at (915)999-0288. Thank you for your attention. Sincerely Gabriela Enriquez