Osprey Profile

Jessie DeBuhr

Kings Bay, Georgia • Exceptional Student Education

Growing 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 career.

 

In 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.

 

However, 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.

 

UNF 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.

 

One 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.

 

I’m 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.

debuhr, jessie inside

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.