Dear Ms. Williams,

"I hope that you can look in the mirror every day and say to yourself, there's no one like you!" Jake Miller- Like Me (2012)

(P.S. One of my favorite songs!)

When I started this course:

I knew for certain that I wanted to be a teacher. My dream was that I would one day become a teacher for students who were hard of hearing. My plans included BUTLER CC, WSU, maybe a stint as an interpreter and then hopefully some fancy school where I would make TONS of money teaching my class of  hearing impaired students. All cut, dry and easy. And then you asked me to do something that I didn't like to do... take time out of every week and learn about kids with all sorts of disabilities or above average abilities.

And that's when I knew:

I had limited myself. I had put on blinders that weren't letting me see the variety of teaching options that were open to me. To the places that could do with some of my talents and ideas. Once I had decided to be a special education teacher I had picked an area and superglued myself to that one spot. Not that it was a bad choice and that they couldn't use me as well, but it wasn't the only area. So I took a step back and tried to remember why I had decided to become a teacher at all.

First things first...
Since when did i care about the money?

So with each project I reevaluated what made me want to be a teacher. Never thinking about paying bills or buying things. As I read each article and watched each video, I realized that most of all, I wanted to surround myself with people who needed me just as much as I needed them. I needed a purpose.

Then i asked myself:

What is Dr. G trying to teach us with all of these assignments? Maybe the point isn't that we know that children with disabilities need more attention or time on assignments, or that gifted students need to be pushed a little harder to make sure that they aren't just coasting through school.

Maybe the idea was that in order to be the best teachers possible, we needed to be able to think outside our

COMFORT ZONES!

Mine had been deaf education. I had decided that was my path but I hadn't thought about how I would teach them. As silly as it seems I had just thought of these students as regular kids who just couldn't hear. I had never made an ILP for a deaf child, I had never thought about integration into a regular classroom with hearing students. I hadn't imagined motivation strategies or goals. I had just decided that I wanted to teach them. I cried because I felt that I was already letting my students down by letting my mind get caught up on the dollar aspect and not what type of teacher I wanted to become. I had said that I wanted to be a GOOD teacher but being a good teacher is like saying "I want to eat food" when someone asks you what you want for dinner.

I was stating the OBVious!

Hopefully every teacher wants to be good, but I wanted to be a prepared teacher. A teacher with ideas and a teacher who could not only step outside the box with her teaching methods, but use the box to reach higher levels of teaching.

It might sound cliche... but I want to be the world's greatest teacher!

When...

I chose this course I knew that I was going to learn about students with disabilities but I wasn't expecting that you would put so much stock in the ideas that I had. You didn't just assign me sheets of facts to learn but instead gave me the information and let me come up with my own ideas and thoughts. Nothing was wrong if we truly took the time to think about it. I didn't face any challenges in this course except time. I needed more time to learn about all these different subjects and to learn about myself as a future educator. And if I wasn't sure about my understanding of a topic, I could look to my peers for examples. And hopefully they could look to me for my ideas. This course was everything I thought it would be and MORE. My only wish is that it could have been just a little longer. I feel as though we had only just begun.

As a student, I let myself down in that I didn't allow myself enough time to complete certain assignments. I missed the opportunity to complete the field assignments because I didn't plan ahead. I'm disappointed in myself for that but I plan on taking some of my own time and going to observe a classroom anyway. Also to ensure that I won't be short on experience, I'm applying and hope to become a para for USD 259 by next year.  

I've learned...

(from personal experience and from this course):

These students that we all hope to someday educate aren't different, weird or even too hard to handle. They may take a little extra "work" but that's the fun of it. I've decided to remain undecided in what field of special education I want to pursue. I'm still going to continue learning sign language because that may be what I was truly meant to do. But I'm going to approach my career path the same as this course. I'm going to gather as much information as possible, imagine how I would handle different situations and in the end I'm not going to be afraid to put my own spin on it.

Thank you all for being so friendly and giving me the push in the right direction. I might not have commented on your assignments, but I enjoyed reading everyone elses projects throughout this course.

And thank you to You, DR. G, sometimes I was nervous about what I had submitted, but you never had a discouraging word for me. As a student, that was something that helped me through it all.

Hopefully in the future I'll be teaching alongside you all, because from what i can see, You're all AMAZING TEACHERS already!

xoxo, Em"ily"

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