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    ok, so i graduated last may with my b.a. in mathematics. i began that major before my injury with hopes of becoming a high school (or middle school) teacher. now the time is coming to get the ball rolling and start doing it. but part of me is scared. i know beginning teaching is scarey anyway, but i have this monkey on my back saying that the wheelchair issue is going to be a problem (all of the "kids" are taller than me for one thing).

    so anyway. can you help me kill the monkey and just tell me that i can be a fully capable teacher despite this? maybe some of you are teachers or know teachers or something. i want to be a good teacher. i want to be good for the students' sake, not for myself and i worry that my "problem" will hinder their education and that is not acceptable.

    disclaimer: no monkey will actually be harmed in this process.
    Godspeed...
    freewheelchairmission.org

    #2
    Don't underestimate kids nowdays. There is no reason they (or you) should consider they are not getting the best possible teacher and education just because you are in a chair. I think you have an excellent field open to you...I know math teachers are much in demand in my area. Be open and frank with the kids, call them on anything inappropriate, and find a principal who will back you up.

    I know a number of teachers who have injuries similar to yours (and higher) who teach at the junior high and high school level (business arts, math, English). Any new job is scary...but you have already been through one of the scariest things that can ever happen to someone (your SCI) and you managed to survive that...this should be a piece of cake! Good luck, and have some faith in yourself.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      #3
      I worked as a teachers aide for a bit over two years. Grades k-8 at our local church school. I worked with all grades, all subjects and was very well accepted by students and their parents. I say, from my experience, go for it and don't worry. The only difference in you and any other teacher is your chair has BIG wheels. And the upper half of the chalk board is reserved for those who are taller

      https://www.facebook.com/john.baxter.1213986

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        #4
        Congrats, Joey, on earning your degree.

        Have you started or completed your student teaching? I don't know the specifics of the program you were in at your school, but I am curious what your experience was, if you had worked with students yet?

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          #5
          Go for it!

          Originally posted by JoeyMearig
          i want to be a good teacher. i want to be good for the students' sake, not for myself and i worry that my "problem" will hinder their education and that is not acceptable.
          Congratulations on graduating!
          Think back to who your best high school teacher was. Do you even remember how tall he or she was - probably not. Height, color, sex, really has little to do with how good a teacher is. Sounds to me like you've got the ability, knowledge, and desire so go for it. My son had one teacher with a sci in high school and a friend who is now teaching art from his chair.
          Around here (NJ) one needs to get certified by taking teaching courses, and then doing student teaching. Do that and you'll have more of an idea how much you like teaching and the schools will probably be fighting over you.
          Good luck,
          Carl

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            #6
            I have worked with kids for four years (middle and high school). Sometimes I think they respect me more than some of the other people that worked with them. My only suggestion is to be honest when they ask you questions in the beginning. If they think you are uncomfortable they will feed off of that so just be you and act natural.
            www.cawvsports.org
            The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Don Juan Matus
            We are Virginia Tech… We must laugh again… No one deserves a tragedy… We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid…We are better than we think and not quit what we want to be…We are the Hokies…We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail. We ARE Virginia Tech! ~ Nikki Giovanni

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              #7
              Congrats Joey. Contrary to what you said, I think being in the wheelchair will make better adults from the students you teach. It will teach them a lot about diversity, humility, etc., and the JH/HS ages are where it would be most effective.

              I just retired from my third "career," just turned 44, and I have a BS in business, MIS. I want to go to law school, but the cost is just too much.

              My second choice is teaching, and I've been wondering how to go about getting what more education is needed, considering I already have a bachelors degree in business.

              Do you need another year even with a BS degree to teach? I haven't researched it yet as I've been trying all different ways to go to law school on the cheap, but couldn't find any.

              Sorry for sidetrackin' your thread, I think you'd do the kids you teach a great service by being who you are, and you can instill in them many important qualities that an able-bodied person could not.

              Best of luck
              Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
              Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

              Thanks!

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                #8
                rdf, teachers are in such demand that many areas are recruiting professionals already in their fields to teach in schools, primarily public schools. Many programs offer 'on the job/in classroom' training while the individual earns their Masters degree in education - typically 2 year programs. There are a bunch of pro/cons to these program efforts (which won't be debated here), but for those willing to make the commitment and go into it with full understanding of what many difficult challenges might exist, it may be rewarding and worthwhile experience, not only for the individual but the students as well.

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                  #9
                  Thanks chick...but bummer, I thought you only had to get your teaching "credentials" and were good to go, and that these only took one year or less. I didn't know you needed a masters...two more years...don't know 'bout that, meaning if I could do it. One year, though, no problem.

                  I'll research and figure it out.

                  Joey, like I said, I believe you'll be a great asset to your students in many different ways.
                  Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
                  Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

                  Thanks!

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                    #10
                    In some places you can get a teaching certificate if you already have a degree in something else. My sis in law got paid full time with benefits for her student teaching job (already had her english undergrad) because they were/are in such need for teachers in that county.
                    www.cawvsports.org
                    The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Don Juan Matus
                    We are Virginia Tech… We must laugh again… No one deserves a tragedy… We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid…We are better than we think and not quit what we want to be…We are the Hokies…We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail. We ARE Virginia Tech! ~ Nikki Giovanni

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Sorry joey... just real quick to rdf--

                      No, there may be other programs to recieve credentials, then teach, but what I am referring to are programs that pay you teaching salary while you make a 2 year commitment to teach at a disadvantaged school, or where teachers are extremely in need. While teaching during this 2 yr commitment, you earn your Masters degree . The classroom is 'in the field' training. So if you were planning to teach, you are thrown into the pit right pretty much right away. I have some concerns about this, but depending on one's level of commitment, it could work for some. Yes, look into it

                      Joey, I'm looking forward to hearing more about what type of experience and/or prep you've had with students in the classroom, or if this is something you will be doing soon, per your plan or teaching program you may now be going into?

                      As others have stated, if you have the love and passion for teaching, especially working with kids at the middle/high school level, you will do good.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        thanks for the responses. just needed some support. i am recently employed as a substitute, but i'm still undergoing paperwork, so i haven't started yet. as a math teacher, i can probably get a full time job before getting my credentials (which i am starting in january). LA school district is a bit intimidating (2nd largest in the nation). i think subbing will provide good introductory experience, however i will not have the benefit of setting up a routine classroom (getting around among the desks can be tough).

                        anywho...aside from the sci thing (which i'm not really that worried about) is the fact that i'm only 22, so i feel kinda like i'm still a kid myself. i don't remember ever having a teacher under 30. so, it will be interesting how the students respond.

                        well thanks again, i'll update, though it may take a while to have any substance to add.
                        Godspeed...
                        freewheelchairmission.org

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by chick
                          So if you were planning to teach, you are thrown into the pit right pretty much right away. I have some concerns about this, but depending on one's level of commitment, it could work for some. Yes, look into it
                          this is the debate running through my head as well. like i said i can (relatively easily here in super crowded LA) get a job right away. however, although i know math, i do not "know" teaching, so i'm not sure if i'm ready to dive in or not.
                          Godspeed...
                          freewheelchairmission.org

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                            #14
                            Never mind math, teaching from a chair, the size of LA....if you're brave enough to sub in junior high, YOU DA MAN!!! There are some jobs I will not do, and teaching jr high is top of the list. More power to you

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                              #15
                              Joey, I understand where you are now a little better. It can seem like a daunting job/experience not having had the preparation and direct work experience with students, before forging right into a school. I can see how being so young yourself and not so far removed from high school aged students age, that it can be pretty intimidating, especially being now an authority figure with your position as a teacher. However, being closer in age and possibly being able to relate better, or even if that is just perception of students, may be used to your advantage. Having and maintaining boundaries is critical though.

                              As far as the teaching goes, have you considered a more formal education/teaching program to hone your skills and understanding of students needs, as well as aquiring/developing those basic socialization, development, psycho-social, and other issues relevant to working with children/adolescents? I believe that teaching involves much more than simply presenting a subject material to students. No matter how knowledgeable and skilled one may be on a subject area, teaching and imparting that knowledge to others, especially children, is a special skill not everyone may be able to do naturally, but is a skill that can be learned and developed.

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