I am passionate about teaching! During my undergraduate studies I wanted to "build buildings, while building lives one day at a time". When I transferred from architecture into the teaching profession it was out of a heart of compassion and the belief that I had built buildings, but now it was time to build lives through teaching students. I was advised to go into special education, since math and art are my favorite topics, and it was a natural progression to teach math. I have been teaching since 2008 and my teaching practice is reflective of California State University, Dominguez Hills core values. I believe students learn best through activities such as writing their thoughts, discussing individually, collaborating, and by creating things themselves. Addressing the needs of diverse learners such as English Learners (ELs), or struggling students can be accomplished through using visuals and by allowing time for group interaction by having students:
- physically move at their desks,
- interact with the text,
- do hands-on engagements, and finally,
- cut -and-paste work into interactive notebooks.
I have been able to accommodate diverse learning styles by providing small-group- and whole-group-instruction, stations rotations, peer tutor activities, and by utilizing interactive notebooks. I like Cal State Dominguez Hills' core values at the College of Education (COE), because the teaching profession should not just be a career, but a calling. [They] believe that educators "...have the ability to improve the lives of children through greater access to educational opportunities... [so that they can] learn, grow and thrive."
I have had the opportunity to teach in a co-taught setting and in a special day class (SCD) setting. Co-Teaching afforded me the opportunity to teach alongside a general education teacher and provide special education services to students with IEPs, while also serving students in general education. This involved co-planning lessons, following students progress, communicating with parents, grading, etc. Whereas my experience in a special day class setting, showed me how to plan at a slower pace and the importance of patience. Amongst the two settings, my preference is the co-taught setting.
Prior to earning my credential, I worked as a substitute teacher, in which I was able to walk into a classroom and achieve order and teach. My strengths were in taking a lesson plan and making it come alive. Best practice I believe is a constructivist approach, whereby there is a sense of discovery and students are engaged from the minute they walk into the classroom until they leave. Now in my field experience, I would like to hone my skills of how to provide intervention or remediation for the students with special needs and the general education students who may be struggling due to social emotional factors beyond the classroom that impede their learning.
It is not enough to plan lessons, follow students progress, communicate with parents, and grade papers. Best practice is a 'constructivist approach' whereby there is a sense of discovery and students are engaged from the minute they walk into the classroom until they leave. There is an added benefit that I bring to the table: I can relate with students who are disenfranchised. Personal experience taught me the following is quintessential to regaining physical and mental wellness in ones education: positive affirmations; grace to make mistakes -- without faultfinding; providing options to lessen the pressure and stressors of life; providing breaks; and finally, care and concern. These five essential tenants helped me reemerge during a trying time in my life. Having experienced this first hand and seen how this is demonstrated in the classroom, give me the confidence to know that I can impart the same rigor, relevance, and instruction, into my junior high school students. This will empower them to thrive regardless of the obstacles they may face.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Southern California - Bachelor in Architecture, Architecture
Graduate Degree: California State University-Dominguez Hills - Certificate, Special Education