I have spent the majority of my career focused on helping adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). I began my career as a direct support professional for adults with IDD, and felt, from that time forward, that that was the best area for my talents. It was not until near the end of my Masters program that I looked into making a change.
One of my professors and mentors in my Master of Education (M.Ed.) program suggested I look into Alternative Route to Licensure to become a Special Education teacher. She commented on my strong advocacy skills and the high quality of work I turned out in the class. She felt my skills and strengths made for an excellent Special Education teacher and wanted me to look into making the change.
I had no desire at the time to make a change to teaching. I was confident in my skills for the adult population and greatly desired a position in adult services. However, I take suggestions from mentors seriously and decided to explore the possibility of becoming a Special Education teacher.
I took a job as a substitute teacher my final semester in graduate school. I focused mainly on Special Education classrooms. Later, I would sub for general education classrooms in the elementary setting (4th, 5th, and 6th grades). I took single day, multi-day, and long term sub assignments. Through these assignments, I came to realize that my professor and mentor was right. I do have strengths and skills as a teacher.
I was able to recommend things to teachers I worked for and along side. I was able to develop opinions, and gather and test different ideas and strategies to use for instruction and positive learning environments. I became passionate for teaching those with IDD of all ages. Therefore, I began my road to becoming a Special Education teacher.