I know I have introduced myself and spoken to many families, but I would like to take this opportunity to share a bit more about myself and how I became a special education preschool teacher. I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and moved back to Los Angeles after graduate school in August of 2017. I received my Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Oregon with an endorsement in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education.
Growing up I always knew I wanted to work with children, however, I wasn’t sure in what capacity. In fact, growing up, I didn’t want to be a teacher. But during my freshman year of college while registering for classes, I saw a course that was under the subject of Family and Human Services. I was originally a psychology major so when I wasn’t able to register for the course I dug deeper to find out why.
I quickly learned that Family and Human Services was a specialized program at the University of Oregon. In order to take the course, I needed to apply to the program and be accepted. Immediately, I knew I had finally found my path and needed to finish all the requirements necessary to apply for the program. Without realizing it in the moment, this was going to change my life forever.
Now that I was a Family and Human Services major, I needed to select an internship as part of the program’s requirements. I chose to intern in a classroom for young children that had Orthopedic Impairments. Due to the nature and severity of each individual student’s disability and the number of adults in the classroom, we worked with each child one-on-one. I had no idea what I was signing up for and I ended up working with students that changed my life, and the way I looked at the world, for the better.
One day I was a little upset about a grade I had just received on a paper. I am someone who always wants to give my best and I was worried that the grade would hurt my overall GPA — to me that was a huge deal. However, that same day I was working one-on-one with a student who was visually impaired and born without eyeballs. When I walked into the classroom, I saw him lying on the floor, so I thought he was asleep. Little did I know, this student loved to play possum and pretend to be sleeping to trick the teachers and make them laugh. Since I wasn’t in the best mood I remember telling everyone in the classroom, since the student was sleeping I was going to let him rest and take a moment. Upon saying that, I immediately heard the student start to giggle. In just a second my mood was completely turned around and myself along with everyone in the classroom began laughing hysterically because the student had completely tricked me. At that moment I realized how silly I was being and immediately started playing with the child, completely forgetting about my paper.
From that day on my view and outlook was changed. If this student could find the positives and joy in his life, how could I not do the same? How could I be so concerned about a grade on a paper when this student was battling so much more? I now always look at the glass half full and truly try to always be positive, happy, and find the joys in life, just like him! He and other students I am blessed to continue to work with motivate me to keep teaching and do everything I can to bring joy and success to young children with disabilities and their families.
I am so excited to get to know you and your children even better and create a fun as well as happy school environment with lots of opportunities for learning and growing!
— Teacher Heather