Degrees and Certifications:
BS from East Carolina University in Special Education
I am originally from Mount Olive, NC. I graduated from Southern Wayne High School in 2008 and continued my learning at East Carolina University. I graduated from ECU in 2015 and immediately began teaching in special education. My passion is for teaching students with disabilities. My happy place is in the classroom with my kids teaching, and learning from one another! I still live in Mount Olive and travel to BF Grady each day. Go Panthers!
My Teaching Philosophy
The key to a successful classroom
I believe that a positive learning environment is a common denominator in a successful classroom. Providing a positive learning environment for students is important for many reasons. A student must feel comfortable in a classroom so that he/she can participate in classroom discussions, answer questions orally, and interact with peers without feeling embarrassed or out of place. A positive learning environment also includes support from peers as well as the instructor(s). A child is more inclined to go out on a limb and answer a question he/she does not necessarily feel may be correct if he/she feels supported by his/her surroundings. Creating a positive learning environment requires assistance from teachers, peers, parents and other influences that may affect a classroom. The teacher’s role is to model positive behavior and demonstrate what is expected from each student before a school year begins. A student’s role is to be willing to provide the support and comfort needed in a positive learning environment, as well as to be open in learning how to provide the components needed for accomplishing a positive learning environment. Parents are the main factor in the learning environment because they are quite influential in the student’s life. I believe a positive learning environment is a gateway in providing the necessary services for a student and after all, what student/adult does not want to encompass themselves with positive surroundings?
Why I Chose Teaching
It struck me as a child while watching, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that I was going to be a Special Education teacher someday. My mom told me once, “Courtney I should have known when other children’s favorite movies were Dennis the Mennis and yours were I am Sam and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that you had an interest in those with special needs.” However, the movies were not all of the signs pointing towards being a Special Education teacher, the church was as well. I can recall a time around the age of 12 when I attended Thunderswamp Church and met a young man with Down syndrome. James was in his late 20’s at the time and most 12-year-olds were not so keen on holding a conversation with him. I, however, spoke with James as if he were my best friend. Talking with James came very natural and I was not nervous or frightened, compared to some of my friends. Many experiences like James occurred throughout the years assuring me that this is what I am meant to do.
Once I was accepted into East Carolina I finally got to say something I had been yearning to say since I was a child, “I would like to major in Special Education”. It felt like such an accomplishment to sit across from my advisor, who was unaware of the emotions I was feeling, knowing that I had actually made it to the place that would serve as an aid for me to achieve my ultimate goal in becoming a teacher. My classes have been so informative and interesting. Unlike math, which does not necessarily illustrate my intellectual ability, SPED classes have been second nature to me. All of the information I have learned in my SPED classes, I can actually remember and recall. When you know what you want to do, the work is not working but rather a way to learn more and practice what you essentially will be doing in your career.
It is not an option for me to fail. The motivation I have primarily stemmed from my obligation to my future students. If I am not teaching Special Education in a classroom, I feel I am depriving the students of the education they deserve to receive. It is my duty to provide my future students with an education accompanied by daily living skills. I have never steered away from my goal of becoming a teacher and no other field of study has ever interested me. The amount of paperwork, or salary, or personal stress being a Special Education teacher includes, does not factor into my decision. I want to wake up and enjoy my job every day, and that is something money cannot buy.