ABE 1 Autobiographical Essay Kristi Young Tracey MeyerhoefferEDUC 201 Foundations of Education Online, Spring 2011
ABE 2 Autobiographical Essay Have you ever had that smile? You know, the smile that a kid gives you when they havefinally “gotten it” after working so hard for so long? I love that smile. I love that challenge thatgoes along with getting to the smile. This world doesn’t often stop long enough to recognizesmall achievements that might be huge for someone else. I have been fortunate in this world tohave always had the calling to teach special education. I have seen and strived for that smilesince I was seven years old and have by the grace of God never lost the appreciation for thosesmall victories. Unlike many who choose this field of education, I did not receive any special educationservices and I don’t have any family members affected by disabilities. I have just been drawn toit and it seems that the students are drawn to me. I attended school in East Boise which meansthat had I access to schools and opportunities that come as a benefit of living in a communitywith a higher tax bracket. I went to three different elementary schools; the first two were only fora year each and are inconsequential to my overall experience. The third school was RiversideElementary which I attended 2nd through 6th grade. At the time it was a newly built school andhad the very best to offer in every program. This is important to note because my overall viewsof a special educator were shaped by a wonderful special education teacher who inadvertentlyimpressed upon me some concepts which were considered new at the time. One of theseimpressions included mainstreaming which in the early 90s was still pretty new. Afterelementary school, I attended East Jr. High for a year and then Les Bois Jr. High and then wenton to graduate with the class of 2003 from Timberline High School. I honestly was not a great student. I am smart enough to have graduated with honors and Iknow this because I used my intelligence to scrape by after neglecting almost every assignment
ABE 3ever given and skipping a few classes. In hindsight, I think it would have been far less work tohave been on the honor roll. I spent all of my spare time in the special education room, at thetime the term was severe/profound but these days the politically correct term would be “selfcontained”… whatever that means. For the record I have yet to meet a “self contained” studentwho is truly contained within his or her self. It seems that people affected by the profoundest ofdisabilities tend to make the biggest splash impacting others. Professionally I have been serving this population for about 12 years. By professionally, Imean being on a pay roll and having a supervisor and drawing on my knowledge while accruingmore. This is also known as a job. Aside from working in developmental therapy and as a para-educator school district, I have worked as a waitress, childcare provider, and in home careprovider; I’m good at these things but they aren’t what I’m best at. Education just comesnaturally to me. It seems like a lot of work (especially paper work) when I think about it, butwhen I get in and do it, it comes very naturally. I always come back to working with children affected by disabilities; even my volunteerwork usually ties into these skills as soon as people find out what I do. I do quite a bit with mychurch in children’s ministry and I have volunteered advocating for disability rights as well.These experiences benefit me personally as well as professionally, in everything that I do Iencounter new people from different points of view and that allows me to expand my views andkeep questioning what I think I know. In the future,my daily short term goal will be to make a difference in the lives of mystudents and help where I can. In the long term, I hope I can make this world a better place forpeople with disabilities by helping to teach them to help themselves and to help be a voice forthose who don’t have one.
ABE 4 I can’t honestly say what I want to get out of being a teacher or why I want to do it. Thisis just what I do, it’s what I have always done, and it’s what I’m always going to do. I havealways been certain and I can’t really back it up with concrete facts or reasons. I don’t need factsand reasons when my drive is more of a feeling and something for which I seemed to be giftedwith. Seriously; I have tried other things and considered nursing, teaching general education,going into politics, and even being a business owner, but my fire and the talents are in the specialeducation arena. This is who I am, and I hope I can keep learning and be an asset in the field.