I am taking Special Education Part 1 for three reasons. Here, I will explain and dissect each of them accordingly.
- A Yearning for Learning
As an educator, my top priority is the learning of my students. I feel that I am an energetic, passionate and patient teacher who strives to connect with and nurture each and every student in my classroom. At the same time, I too yearn to learn; hence I am taking this course! Special Education Part 1 is my first Additional Qualification course and after 10 years in the teaching profession, I think it is long over do. Ongoing professional development is key to a successful teaching career and Spec Ed Part 1 seemed like the natural choice. Early in my teaching career, I had the opportunity to take on a whole school responsibility as Gifted and Talented Coordinator at an inner city London, England secondary school. Although this experience was amazing and I was able to expand my skill set, I realized after that I needed to focus on the other side of the special needs spectrum just as much. By taking this course, I hope to learn more about IEPs, how they are created and what factors go into their development and implementation. I also want to learn about the IPRC process and how I can better identify exceptional students. Expanding my current knowledge on specific learning disabilities and disorders is always top priority as I feel this will enable me to better accommodate my pupils.
- Beefing Up My Teacher Toolkit
Ultimately, by taking this course, I really hope to add to my ever-expanding teacher toolkit. We live in a time of ultimate inclusion and never has there been such an environment of tolerance and acceptance (thank goodness!). Through this course, I hope to further broaden my understanding of differentiation and inclusion, learn better ways to accommodate all learning styles and most of all, appreciate the wide range of diverse learners out there! As I have previously mentioned, I like to focus on the ‘whole child’ and beefing up my teacher toolkit will only boost my confidence in catering to all of a child’s learning and personal needs. I would also like to gain some experience and knowledge in dealing with parents of special needs students. I have had experience with this in the past, but feel like I could do with some new tips and tricks.
- Becoming an Advocate
Lastly and most importantly, I want to become an advocate for students with exceptional abilities, no matter where they fall on the spectrum. I often tell my students and my own children to be their own advocate, which is easy enough, but having educators advocating on behalf of students with special needs is so crucial as well. Every student deserves our best and I want to speak up on behalf of those most vulnerable and those who at least find it difficult to speak for themselves. I also want to share best practices with my colleagues, fellow parents and other education professionals as I believe that learning new skills are sometimes only as valuable as executing and sharing them with others.