Studying Special Education, making a difference

Brittney Farias
Brittney Farias

By Lea Killian

Managing Editor

At 6 p.m. on Sept. 16, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be hosting a Zoom session to discuss the Department of Education’s Special Education Boot Camp.

Students participating will learn about the Special Education Boot Camp Pathway for becoming certified teachers and CU’s upcoming Boot Camp course beginning on Oct. 13.

While the Boot Camp course is intended for graduate students who are interested in becoming certified Special Education teachers, CU offers students like Sophomore Early Childhood Education Major Brittany Farias a chance to begin their academic path to Special Education through its Early Childhood and Elementary Education Bachelor’s Degree programs.

In Aug. 2018, Farias began substitute teaching at Freedom Elementary School located at Fort Sill when, after only two months, the school offered her a full-time position.

Since then, she has known she wanted to teach Special Education.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Farias spent her mornings helping her students learn about things like the weather and the days of the week before preparing them to go to their centers.

There, the students would spend about 20 minutes at each center learning about math, science or reading.

Now that there are social-distancing guidelines, facemask requirements and stricter cleaning regiments, Farias may spend a bit more time making sure the students have hand sanitizer, but it certainly hasn’t dulled her dedication to providing each student the education they deserve.

“My students deserve a shot just as much as any other student,” Farias said. “They deserve to have a normal life as much as we can give them, but you have to care – and that can’t be taught.

“You have to want to watch these kids grow and become more independent, and watching them do so all year is such a magical experience.

“Hearing a nonverbal student count or read for the first time or watching a student who has a hard time keeping themselves calm learn ways to cope with their anxiety is a feeling like no other.”

Farias knew that continuing her education at CU would allow her to have a greater impact on more students, and is already enjoying many of her classes – especially her Children’s Literature class instructed by Associate Professor Lynda Robinson.

“It has already taught me so many great things about how students learn to read and how the passion for reading begins with a teacher,” Farias said.

Even though working full-time and attending college as a full-time student is a challenge for many young adults, Farias understands the problems Special Education teachers and their students face, and works passionately to assist in any way she can.

“There are still so many things wrong with the education system and the lack of resources we can provide for students with special needs,” Farias said.

“There is always room for improvement. I hope the stigma around Special Education will stop being such a deterrent for potential educators.

“Society is so quick to reject anything different, but to me, that is why we need to love our students even more.

“We need to give them a chance to grow and learn like every other child, no matter how long it takes them.”

For more information about the Special Education Boot Camp, students can find the link to register on CU’s website.

For questions about the Zoom session, students may email the Graduate/Transfer Admissions Counselor, Tracy Price, at tprice@ cameron.edu, or contact her by phone at 580-581-6749.

For more information about becoming a teacher, students may email cuteach@cameron.edu.

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