At birth I was diagnosed with a neonatal stroke, which caused me to have permanent brain damage. As a child, I had a hard time communicating with my family. I have expressed my life, feelings, and emotions through art since I was a young child. I found a way to get my thoughts across by drawing pictures and making little sculptures out of trash. I used finger paintings to communicate with my parents when the words would not come out of my mouth.
Art was, for the beginning of my life, the only form of communication I had with the world around me. After a lifetime of mastering this form of communication, I now hope to bring that appreciation and perspective to the world around me through my art and teaching. Growing up in public education, I struggled with my reading and writing skills. I was labeled "learning disabled"; most of my school years, even though I had an IQ of 142. I had to go to special classes, including resource and speech therapy. Having a learning disability my whole life gave me a greater passion and love for art. Art was an outlet for me; it allowed me to be successful at something, and I always shined. It led me to discover that I was a visual learner, and creating helped me process information better. My struggles had become the means of my success, and the factors through which I have impacted my students.
This is a catalyst for further conversations with each of my students who then share their struggles in school. I hope it leads to building a healthy base for relating to each other. Forming relationships allows me to educate myself on how our students learn best. It also allows me to ensure that we incorporate all student's learning styles into every lesson.
As you walk into my classroom, one can see my philosophy that "no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship" I work on building secure connections with each of my students, including the use of prior knowledge and personal, cultural, and community assets. I teach at a predominantly low-income-based school. My students understand that I am open to their needs, and they can come to me for anything, and I will try to accommodate them. At the beginning of the year, I informed my students about my learning disability, and how my struggle with reading and writing led me to discover my passion for art.
My mother was an advocated for me through my K-12 education learning years. Ever
since she discovered I had a learning disability, she fought to make sure I was provided with the right accommodations in the classroom to be successful. My mother had to investigate and research about my strokes to be able to have an understanding of mylearning process and pass the information down to my teachers. It should be the teachers’ duty to understand their students and know what they need and the tools to use to be successful in the classroom. Because of my mother, I am the educator I am today.
I identified with my students and their learning struggles. I was able to provide a safe learning environment to promote students to be themselves and to work according to applying their learning styles. Now I understand why my mother fought so hard with my education and rights. I am the educator I am today, because of my mother