What made you want to work in special education?
While in college, working on a different course of study, I unexpectedly ventured upon an instructional class of special students while visiting my college advisor’s office. As time progressed, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by their presence and instruction. When it came time for my student teaching practicum, I asked my advisor if I could do half of it in the regular and half in the special education classrooms. She replied that it was an unusual request, but she would work out the particulars so I could. Well, the rest is history! I thought I knew, but after the experience in the special education classroom, I totally knew I had found my purpose in life.
What led you to become a CTI Coordinator? How long have you been in that role?
I was the Special Education Chair and taught severe, profound, and moderately intellectually disabled students in the classroom, providing money management (Buck-havioral System) and job skills through a new Community-based Vocational Training (CBVT) program that I initiated in the county after attending a S.E.T.S. course and workshop at Georgia State.
I was offered the CTI (RVI at that time) job at my current school (Paulding County High) in 1990. Still, I didn’t act on the offer because my student teacher at the time needed employment so I recommended him for the position instead to secure the possibility of success for my students participating in the CBVT program.
In 1997 the CTI position was offered again at East Paulding High, but I rejected the offer again. My Department Chair was distraught with her job and needed a change in positions and schools. So, I recommended her for the position in my place.
As time progressed and the CBVT program was proving successful- increasing my student’s attendance, money management skills, job training skills, and obtaining semi-supportive employment opportunities- when the CTI position was offered again in 2005, with nothing to hold me back this time, I accepted the position. I have been the East Paulding CTI Coordinator for 17 years now and love it!
I truly regret not taking the position 16 years earlier. However, the old saying must be true, “Good things come to those who wait.”
What is your favorite part of your job (as an educator and/or CTI coordinator)?
Building positive student relationships!
What are your favorite events that Georgia CTI hosts?
The Leadership Conferences because the students are allowed to develop and build essential life skills, such as processing emotions, developing positive interactions and relationships with others outside their local community, managing daily activities and personal challenges, improving their confidence and self-esteem, and understanding how and when to ask for needed guidance.
Why do you think it’s essential to keep Georgia CTI active in your school?
Not every student learns the same way, has the same interests, or likes or dislikes the same subjects. This means that not every student in a teacher’s classroom enjoys or understands what’s being taught. Some students secretly feel inferior or afraid of being humiliated in front of the class for not understanding a topic as quickly as their peers.
That’s where CTI Services can make an impact. We build the student’s self-esteem by finding and providing unique care, techniques, and support to make the student feel comfortable. We build a positive rapport through time and dedication. We think outside the box to find out how each student learns best and appropriately.
What would you tell someone who was thinking of becoming a Coordinator?
I would say, “It’s the best and most rewarding job in my school system!” It allows me to experience meaningful interactions and build positive relationships with my students while providing them with important skills for personal development, critical thinking, and problem-solving. I can also provide tools for communication, socialization, making friends, establishing networking opportunities, and recognizing the impact of their actions and behaviors on their life and others.
Is there a quote that motivates you?
“All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.” – Magic Johnson