up in Nebraska, I discovered my vocation in life when I was a counselor one
summer at a camp serving children with special needs. I realized one person
could have a major impact on a child’s life and knew teaching would be my
the intervening years, I’ve married my high school sweetheart and moved to
California where he served in the Marines and I first got a taste of working in
a middle school environment. At a junior high school in Twenty-Nine Palms, I
was an instructional assistant for special education and decided that was the
age group with which I wanted to work. Middle school is a very tough time for
many teens, but it’s also the time you can see what type of person they are becoming
and help them fulfill their dreams.
it wasn’t until I moved to Kings Bay, Ga. (another military move) and
discovered UNF that I really understood the value of an outstanding special
education program. I’m majoring in Special Education with an emphasis on Exceptional
Student Education. The faculty here opened my eyes to the world of
possibilities for students with special needs.
faculty and staff were extremely friendly and reminded me of my hometown in
Nebraska. The coursework in the College of Education and Human Services is
challenging because it forces you to get out into the community and into the
classroom. The experiences I’ve had in the schools have been incredible. I
completed a pre-internship at Pickett Elementary School and at Twin Lakes
Academy Middle School, both in Jacksonville. I’m now student teaching in a fifth
grade class at Callahan Intermediate School in Nassau County working with
students with special needs.
UNF class in particular, taught by Assistant Professor Deborah Reed, has been
transformational because it gave me experience working with students with
moderate to severe disabilities. She made me realize I have the skills to help
these students — some of whom come from troubled backgrounds. I can empathize
with these students because I came from a family that struggled financially. I was one of the lucky ones who had a teacher
who cared enough to make a difference in my life.
also blessed to have received a scholarship and would like to thank the Dean’s Education
Advisory Council in the College of Education and Human Services for making it
possible. Not having to worry about how to pay for my education is a tremendous
help allowing me to concentrate on my classes. This scholarship is not only
helping me reach my short-term educational goal, but it will also help me make
a difference in children’s lives.
The children I teach will leave school to make
their own difference in the world. They will leave with the ability to function
in a society where education is the key component. The downturn in the economy
has resulted in many teachers looking for another career — this will not be me.
I will not waiver in my choice. I understand these children will need a teacher
regardless of the budget cuts on the state or national level. I will be that
teacher — the one they will remember.