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One Baltimore Teacher’s Recipe For Success: Special Education, TESOL And Determination

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

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Baltimore County and Baltimore City Public Schools are always on the lookout for talented, qualified teachers that can make a difference in the classroom. The caveat is recruiting individuals with the necessary degree(s) to best teach today’s diverse student body. From language and cultural barriers to varying attitudes towards learning, the students’ needs in a typical Baltimore classroom are, needless to say, demanding. Without the proper training and education in place, the challenge can be daunting, especially for a novice teacher.

(Photo Courtesy of Laura Jones)

(Photo Courtesy of Laura Jones)

Although Maryland is one of the few states that requires a master’s degree to become fully certified to teach, some aspiring teachers have joined the school system with a Bachelor in Education and then continued earning their advanced degree while teaching full-time. Another fast-track option is to enroll in a teaching program that allows you to complete both B.A. and M.A. degrees in just five years.

Laura Jones, third grade teacher at Berkshire Elementary School in Baltimore, has found success in the classroom doing just that. After earning her B.A. and M.A. in education in five-years from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland, she was prepared to jump into a teaching position that was challenging, but even more rewarding than she could have imagined.

How has education prepared you for your role?

“In college I studied both elementary and special education, but about two years after I graduated, I decided I wanted to also pursue TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). My class is inclusive, so I have students learning at all different levels. I’ve been taking at least one class every year and this is my sixth year.”

How does continuing education help keep your skills up to date?

“Having TESOL education really helps when teaching students from different backgrounds. I’ve also found that many of the accommodations, modifications and strategies that I’ve learned through TESOL and special education have helped me to better assist all students, regardless of their background or level.”

Could you have reached your present position without your education endeavors?

“I really love what I do. I’ve always had a passion for teaching. However for me to be successful at implementing effective teaching strategies and making a difference in my students’ lives, my college degree was instrumental.”

Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at beazellblog.com and Examiner.com

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