Several St. Joseph’s College alumni returned to their alma mater in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Monday to have an in-depth discussion about the latest trends in teaching special education classes.
Moderated by Mary Buckley Teatum, a child studies instructor and a 1970 graduate of St. Joseph’s College, the panel took questions from the audience. Many of the questions — touching on topics like strategies in the classroom and ways to collaborate with general education teachers in inclusion classes — came from current St. Joseph’s students pursuing a degree in special education.
The panel of SJC alumni, seated across the front of the student lounge in Tuohy Hall, were eager to share their expertise with the attentive audience. The evening’s panelists included special education teachers Danielle Endes ’13, M.A. ’16 and Andrea Rosado ’08, clinical psychologist Elizabeth Williams Auricchio ’63, Ph.D., disability civil rights attorney Mary J. Goodwin-Oquendo ’06 and middle school dean Atiba Theophille ’08.
Advice For Budding Teachers
Before the night was through, the panelists shared advice for students studying to become special education teachers.
Goodwin-Oquendo and Endes both stressed the importance of getting hands-on experience in the classroom and keeping an open mind to learning new teaching techniques.
“Curiosity is key,” said Goodwin-Oquendo, explaining the importance of going to conferences and talking to other students studying other disciplines. Goodwin-Oquendo said that peers studying other subjects, like psychology or sociology, may have interesting insights to share that could help make budding teachers be more prepared to get their future students the help they need.
Theophille added that it would behoove new students to get comfortable with creating lesson plans — and knowing when to revamp them.
“If you’re teaching, that doesn’t necessarily mean your students are learning,” Theophille said.