Professor Steven Alvarez
My &”Specialized&” Dream
As a child, I had always pondered what I would be when I grew up. When I was about 5 years old, I was determined to grow up and be a stay at home mother, just like my own mother had been at the time. I was determined to be the best mother in the world, one who would pack a delicious lunch for her children, and tuck them into bed at night. However that dream changed as I grew older, and throughout my lifetime I have had many different dreams about my future; such as becoming a pop star, creating an amusement park, and writing storybooks. It was only when I finally entered college that I realized I had always loved working with, and the idea of taking care of children; and what I truly wanted to do with the rest of my life was to teach children with mental disabilities.
My career goal, which I have slowly been working towards throughout my 2 years in college, is to become a special education teacher for elementary students. I am currently signed up as double major in elementary and early childhood education and psychology in Queens College. I have taken many pre-requisite classes, as well as several courses specifically designed for elementary education. These courses allowed me to be taught by actual elementary school teachers, who have years of experience with working with children, and the knowledge and advice they were able to pass on truly helped me better understand what I was signing up for as an education major, and helped my improve the way I teach so that I could articulate in a way that would be comprehensible to students of a young age. These classes are slowly molding me to become a great teacher.
Also, I am doubling majoring in psychology in hopes that it will help me to better understand the mentality of special education students, so that in the future I will be able to teach them in a way that they will be able to grasp. Psychology courses have given me a lot of background on not only the disorders many children throughout the world are facing today, but also on how children, and their parents tend to view and handle these mental disorders they are faced with. The courses also helped me learn how to best deal with certain children with specific disorders, which I believe will help me to be able to better communicate and teach children with mental disabilities in a way that they will best be able to understand and grasp the information being given to them. Being an elementary education and psychology major have helped me to drastically improve my teaching abilities, allowed me to have a better concept of what I would most likely be facing in the future when I accomplish my goals, and overall prepared me in almost every way possible to become a great teacher.
I have always had a heart for children, and for people who are less fortunate then I am, and face more hardships then any one person should have to face in a lifetime; therefore, I am drawn to children with disabilities. In our society today, those with mental disabilities tend to be looked down upon, not only physically, but intellectually. However, mental disabilities are not something to be looked down upon; it is a hardship, that no child should have to face, but a hardship nonetheless, that can be overcome.
I hope that becoming a special education teacher for young children will enable me to teach students that are often times looked down upon intellectually by society. I would like to become a teacher that can show them support, patience, and believe in them so that hopefully they will believe in themselves, and be encouraged to face whatever hardships are ahead of them. Mentally and physically disabled children are easily overlooked as candidates for educational programs. My hopes are that while teaching them, I will be able to open up more opportunities of higher educational programs, and eventually better job opportunities for these children; so that society can no longer look down on them intellectually.
` There are several extra-curricular and volunteer experiences that I have had the privilege of being a part of; and it is these things that have defined who I am as an individual, and inevitably lead me to make my decision of becoming a teacher. There are three main things I tend to focus my time on outside of school and family, volleyball, praise team, and missions trips. I have played volleyball since the 7 th grade, and played on both my high school volleyball team, as well as on teams outside of school. Playing volleyball on a team pushes me strive to be better not only for myself, but for my teammates. Volleyball isn’t just a sport for me, it is something that constantly builds up patience, perseverance, and interaction skills; and overall just pushes me to try my best and to never give up. All the personal and team experiences of volleyball have molded me to have patience and perseverance, that all teachers need when dealing with students. Music has always been a passion, as well as an emotional outlet for me. Throughout high school I was part of my church choir; and when I went to college, I joined my churches praise team band. Singing and playing guitar, and being able to create music with other people is something that has brought a certain level joy and emotional peace to my life. Music is something that can both express the emotions of the player, as well as encourage the listener; and it is something that will definitely play a role in my teaching curriculum in the future. I have also attended many different missions’ trips in several different countries such as the Philippines, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and New Mexico. Each year, my missions’ team and I fund raise and prepare for 6 months; we learn the basics of their language, study their culture, create teaching curriculums to teach to the children there, and prepare medical supplies and gifts to bring to the people there. During every single mission’s trip, I go determined to help others and with hopes of changing the lives of the people I meet; but I leave realizing that it is the people I have met there that have changed me. All the different countries I have visited have allowed me to see first-hand what goes on in the world outside of the U.S; and seeing the poverty and physical sicknesses they face makes me realize how many things I take for granted. Going on mission’s trips have definitely played a huge role in the way I chose to live out my life; and the teaching experiences I had there pushed me to volunteer at Christian Academy, an afterschool teaching program in long island, as well as encouraged me to teach elementary students at a summer school every summer since my senior year in high school.
Ever since I was a child, I always wondered what I would become when I grew up. My life experiences have not only helped me with my decision to become a teacher for children with mental disabilities, but they have also molded me to become a great one. I am now currently working towards my career goal at Queens College; and I hope that the programs at Queens College and my future life experience will provide me with the insight and education I need in order to achieve my dream.