Position: Special Needs
Years Teaching: 23 years
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy volunteering and being an advocate for those living with disabilities. My primary hobby at this time is learning as much as I can about adaptive sports and cheering on my daughter as a member of the Cedar Falls High School track team.
What do you enjoy most about teaching? My favorite part of my job is watching my students learn and grow into young adults. Sometimes it may take a month or more for a student to learn a skill. No matter how large or small the task it is a time to celebrate.
What do you find most challenging about teaching? Throughout my teaching career, I have supported families during some of their most difficult moments. I was asked to stay with one of my student’s parents as they chose to disconnect their son from life support. I have assisted families with obtaining items to take care of their basic needs. I recently joined a search party looking for a student of mine that is missing. I have learned that a teacher does more than just teach academics, they teach about life. The most difficult thing about my occupation is teaching my students about life events we have no control over and are often hard for adults to understand, such as death or severe illness, and the unknown reasons why their friend isn’t coming to school each day.
Best tip for new teachers: As new educators, don’t focus on the can’t, but instead work enthusiastically to identify the HOW.
Best tip for career teachers: Never say, “but I have always done it this way,” and remember that those new younger teachers can teach us old timers some bright new ideas.
Favorite piece of advice for students: Everyone has challenges that they have to overcome. Sometimes those challenges resemble mountains that you have to climb. For you to get to the top of the mountain, you may have to run, walk, roll, or be carried. All goals are attainable — the way you reach them may be different, but the outcome is the same. SUCCESS!
What being a Gold Star Teacher means to you: I want to take a moment to say thank you, and I am honored to be named a 2018 Gold Star Teacher. I also want to share what a Gold Star teacher encompasses. You see a teacher isn’t the only one that helps students reach their full potential. Every day I am thankful I have parents that give me the privilege to work with their children. I am grateful for the bus drivers that bring my students to school safely and for the janitors that clear a safe path to enter my room. They even check with me daily to make sure the room is comfortable for learning. I have a team of teachers in my department that are willing to share ideas. Teachers in every teaching area within the building ready to say we can figure this out. Instructional coaches are eager to assist when I need more knowledge. The cafeteria workers make breakfast and lunch so my students can focus on learning. The nursing staff makes sure my students are healthy, and they take the time to train me on how to take care of each student’s needs. The office staff reminds me when events are happening that can make a day difficult or great, but no matter what they have it covered. An administration that expects that every student will learn and be a part of the school community. They are dedicated to giving me the tools I need to improve learning. The school counselors that are there for staff and teachers not only during the day, but after hours, also. The support teams that are there to consult and assist with my students with speech, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The secondary student service coordinator that is always supportive and consistently shares her insightful knowledge. The businesses and services in the community that help me with fixing wheelchairs, figuring out communication devices and providing experiences to young people for transitions after high school. The paraeducators are the foundation in my classroom. They are the ones that make the day run smoothly and are willing to step in to help a student at any moment with a variety of tasks. You see the award may have my name listed, but truthfully a Gold Star teacher isn’t just one person.