CAS, Special Education Teacher
Why did you choose your profession?
I have always felt I had a calling to help children who had social, behavioral, and educational difficulties. In my ten years as a social worker, I worked with children aged 6-12 years old who were either coming out of hospitalization or on the verge of needing to be hospitalized if specialized treatment wasn’t provided right away. I provided group and individual therapy as well as family support and consultation for the full year they were in the program where I worked. Teaching runs in my family, and so I followed in their footsteps and earned my Master’s degree, and became a special education teacher. My first job was working in a third and fourth-grade sub-separate classroom for a year and then moved to a fifth and sixth-grade sub-separate classroom for two years. At that point, I decided to work in another district where I became a special education preschool teacher and I currently teach a five full-day program that is partial inclusion and partial sub-separate. (I was also the Lead Preschool Teacher for the district for 6 years.) My students fall into different disability categories, but many are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I earned my Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS Degree) in school administration as a Special Education Administrator, but I continue to work in the classroom because I love working daily with the students and the close communication/consultation time that I provide to my parents each week and monthly meetings. I have been in the education field now for 18 years.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
I felt that it was very important to work with these 3-5-year-old students because these are their foundational years and it just amazes me with the progress and changes I see in my students each month. When I see a student who had limited communication, social and play skills, and low pre-academic skills start to interact with their peers, express their wants and needs, and be able to participate in a classroom setting with fewer behaviors, I feel such a sense of joy for them. To hear parents tell me that they can communicate with their child better and participate in more community activities as a family fills my heart.
How has your IBCCES training/credential helped you in your career?
I knew that even with many professional development workshops and courses that I have taken over the years that getting my CAS would comfort parents with the fact that I have the training and knowledge that would help their child make progress and become a successful and productive student. I am able to give advice and support to other teachers and provide parents with visuals, social stories, and behavioral techniques that they can implement at home. School administration can see my commitment to the social-emotional and educational well-being of those that I teach.
How do you use/implement what you learned in the IBCCES certification training?
I am able to demonstrate knowledge of the special education field, my training, and experience in working with students with varying disabilities especially those with autism, and provide parents with education, support, and understanding to help them at home with their child.
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