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Caitlin Smith on Read With You Presents

Listen to the episode here.


Teaches English for Read With You.

Born and raised in Texas, played sports, wanted to work with children. Enjoyed sports and thought of coaching. Went to SW University in TX. Studied Kinesiology, loved learning about special ed. Loved how it was very individualized. Double majored in special ed. and kinesiology with a minor in Spanish.

Taught middle school life skills in Alaska for a year, working on basic skills.

Taught for 2 years in TX and coached volleyball and track, resource math and adapted PE.

Moved to Michigan and taught adapted PE to kids ages 5-26 in various skills.

Masters degree in special ed. with specialty in adaptive PE.

Had a self contained elementary school- with her for the majority of the day working on basic life skills

Mother of one year old.

Coached for Special Olympics.

Be patient and be flexible. Things don’t always come naturally or easily to students with special needs. Things that you have planned can really change. Use the learning opportunities that become available.

Need to care for students’ basic needs because otherwise their capacity to learn will be decreased and won’t be a priority.

All people who work with children need to be adaptable.

Strategies that may work for one student may not work for another. Example: visual schedule might work for one student; touch on the shoulder might be good for one but not good for another.

We need to figure out what kids need to thrive.

In special ed., kids have IEP and goals that they are working on throughout the year. It’s not catered to the masses, it’s ‘what is going to work for this student?’

As a parent and a teacher, try to keep calm and not get emotional.

First year as a special ed teacher is going to be hard, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel upset. Keep up with your data, because you have to get IEPs in. Have fun. Be flexible. Do what’s best for the students, and as long as you do what’s best for them, you’ll be okay. Find daily joys. You may not always have huge gains like you do in gen ed but celebrate the small successes because they are important.

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