Mutually Passionate

Michelle Rosa
Education Adjunct Instructor

It had been seven years since I had had the opportunity to teach. I had left a traditional special education teaching role and accepted a role as a consultant for students with disabilities. I had grown to miss the daily interactions and connectedness I felt for my students, their families and my colleagues. I would often think about playing school as a child… setting up classrooms and teaching to an imaginary group of students. I felt the passion that made me love work begin to wane.

I began to look for opportunities to reignite my passion. In the fall of 2015, LCC provided me the opportunity to teach again. I was offered the adjunct instructor job and I would be teaching Introduction to Special Education to students preparing to become K-12 educators. I was so excited to teach again!

At the beginning of each semester, I ask my students to share their career path as future educators. Many express their desire to be early elementary teachers because they love the impressionable spirits of young children. Some express their desire to be high school teachers because they are zealous about literature, mathematics, or science. They express excitement and motivation to teach!

As the semester progresses, the world of special education, in the context of K-12 education, unfolds for them. They quickly understand that educating students with disabilities extends beyond impressionable young spirits and curriculum. They learn about compassion, advocacy and building supportive teams. They learn about laws that dictate equal access for students with disabilities. They learn about the extensive paperwork required for programming, services and expected outcomes. They learn what it means to have a physical disability, a cognitive disability, a speech impairment, Autism, Blindness or Deafness. They learn about the roles of a Speech Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, a Social Worker and a Psychologist. Most importantly, they develop an understanding of the integral role they will have as a teacher. Their motivation does not waiver. They are inspired!

At the end of the semester, I again ask, what is your career path as a future educator? The responses have evolved. Special Education Teacher. Psychologist. Physical Therapist. Speech Pathologist. Occupational Therapist. I smile. No matter what career path they choose, I am confident they will thrive because they have a thorough understanding of the diverse needs of students with disabilities. They have learned so much and they are ready! Our passion for teaching has been mutually ignited!