Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Story Tellers

Story Tellers is a weekly feature hosted by Shannon from
I have been using Story Tellers to transcribe an audio tape that my grandfather made in the early 80's...but I have been really busy this week and didn't have time to transcribe it in time. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 here.

 I still wanted to participate, so this week I thought I would share the story of how I became a Special Education teacher. Enjoy!

The only reason  I was able to attend college was because in my senior year of high school I received a scholarship to attend Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC. The only stipulation was that I had to study be a Business major and maintain a 3.0 GPA. No problem! Yeah right. I failed Spanish 101 during the first year and lost my scholarship. I did not quit though. I completed another year of business classes as well as most of my core requirements but I was very unfulfilled in my studies. One class in particular "pushed" me over the edge.

It was Business Economics. I hated it. Let's just say the teacher was not very good. For our final assignment we had to write a paper on anything related to business, no guidelines. Some students did business plans, some did the stock market, some did company policy manuals. Here is what I did...FORGOT ABOUT IT! Yes, I totally forgot about the assignment. The night before it was due I remembered and I spent all night thinking about what the heck I was going to write about and couldn't come up with anything. All I could think of was how horrible the class had been and that he (the teacher) made me want to change my major. BINGO- I wrote my final paper on why the class was so bad, why I am changing majors, and what he should do to improve his class. I also forgot that we had to present the paper to the class. I initially refused to present because I didn't want to embarrass the teacher, but my classmates encouraged me- I think they thought I was shy-they didn't know what I had written about. I went up to the podium and let loose. No one clapped at first, they all kind of sat there and looked at each other...and then the clapping began. I think I got the longest applause. I said what they were all thinking. I got an 'A' on the paper, after all, it was business related. The next day I submitted my change of major form from Business to Education. I graduated with my AA in Education-Elementary and Special Education Pre-Major in May 2005.

I transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and declared my major as Elementary Education. During my first semester I took Into to Education and Introduction to Special Education. I had to do my first clinical then. That semester I did clinicals in a 3rd grade classroom, a 10th grade English class, and a separate Special Education school. I did not enjoy the 3rd grad class and the Special Education school scared the crap out of me. I then submitted a change of major and declared myself as an English Education Major. (Side Story: My dad use to work for the New Hampshire Institute for Mental Retardation and use to bring us to work with him sometimes. One time, my brother and I were playing basketball in the gym at his work and a client who had MR came in and began strangling me because she wanted the ball and didn't know how to ask. I was young and scared-when I did my clinical at the Special Education school one of the students came up to me and attempted to grab my head/neck because he wanted to smell my hair-it reminded me of the incident with the basketball and I had a freak out moment)

I loved all my English classes. What I did not love was that to become an English Teacher I had to take 2 more semesters of Spanish...and since I failed Spanish 101 I didn't think I would do so well in advanced Spanish. During this time I had applied for a job as a teachers aid to work with a student with an Emotional Disturbance. I did not get the job. However, a few months later I got a call from the school saying they had a position open in one of the severe and profound special education classes. I accepted it. I loved it.

I submitted my final change of major form and declared myself a Special Education major. At UNCC there are 2 Special Education tracks: Mild/ Moderate (learning disabilities, emotional disturbances) and Moderate/ Severe (Autism, MR). I chose Moderate/ Severe. I graduated in December 2007 from UNC Charlotte and I was the only one with the Special Education- Moderate/ Severe Degree.

I graduated on Saturday, December 15th and started my first teaching job on December 17th at the school where I completed my student teaching. In December I will celebrate the completion of 3 years of teaching. I love my job, I learn something new everyday and I grow as a teacher and as a person.

Through my entire educational experience I have learned that
Things Happen for a Reason
and I continue to live by that motto each day.

Thank you for joining me for Story Tellers. I hope to have Part 3 of my transcription ready for next week. Is there anything you, my readers, would like to know about me? Which features on my blog do you enjoy to read?


  1. I certainly agree with your motto...Things Happen for a Reason. As a retired teacher and coach, I have first hand knowledge of the importance of special education teachers, and their Special Dedication to their chosen field. Good for you to have the 'Stick ToIt' attitude. Your students are fortunate to have you for their teacher. Keep up the good work!

  2. Bless you for choosing the field you are in. I don't think everybody can do it, nor do they have the heart to relate as you have to do.

    You never know the influence you have. I commented on a blog and got the reply back that this accomplished man credited my husband with influening him to continue his education! Who knew??

  3. first of all, brave you for presenting your paper, god certainly prepared you in an nontraditional way.
    YOu have chosen a hard field, I know and am related to some autistic children, it can be quite difficult. We had a MR boy in our neighborhood when I was little, he was so strong, I was afraid of him, I always smiled and said hi, but I kept my distance, I was afraid of his temper not his affliction.
    Thanks for caring for children who need you, It is a high calling. Blessings to you!

  4. Gosh, I didn't know that about your busienss class and how it ended....or perhaps I had blocked it out! You are always surprising me, always astonishing me and always inspring me. Love you and miss you!

  5. I admire anyone that can teach special ed. It's certainly great that some like to. I enjoyed your story. Jean

  6. Oh yeah I remember you hating this teacher! Yes things happen for a reason...you lost your scholarship in order to appreciate getting a college education...even it is was a start with an Associates in Business. I can think of another lesson learned here...you get what you pay for ;) You stuck it out, paid for it and found what you really love to do...and you are able to recognize the lesson that things happen for a reason...and usually when the things are HARD or DIFFICULT to deal with. Great story and job well done. Very proud of you ;)


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