I first remember getting an email in the Fall of 2007 stating that I was qualified to work at this amazing center on campus called the Techniques Center. I was really intrigued with what they had to offer and I remember doing extensive research on this organization. I was so eager to become part of their team that I made sure everything was in order; my resume was bright, and I even did some research on disabilities and how they impacted a student’s life. I walked into West Hall with a bright smile and submitted all my documents, only to be told that hiring was complete and would not resume again until Spring!
Spring 2008 happened and so did my new job at the Techniques center. Just like any other job the learning curve was steep. What was I getting myself into… My first year I had 3 amazing students. This is when I first was introduced to the feeling that only a “teacher” would be able to feel. Students who had been failing were finally passing. Students who had never received an A before were now earning their letter! It was such an amazing experience that I could not have asked for anything more. I quickly began to recruit! I continued to work at Techiniques until I graduated in May 2010. The work environment was amazing, and to this day I still recommend this program to both students and tutors. I had such a great experience and I felt valued and respected in the center. Don’t get me wrong we had fun too! There were many times when I might have been “too loud, too crazy, and even too strict.” But the students were learning and I was learning myself. “Practice what you preach” was definitely our motto and we had become role models to our students. They knew they were not the only ones who thought college and the university life was difficult. But being in the center and studying side-by-side allowed for them to understand that they were not alone.
The skills, knowledge, and work ethic that Techniques offered allowed for me to be where I am today. I graduated Tech with a B.B.A. degree in Marketing and Management and right away I was torn. We are taught to become the next great leaders in our generation. Would working in a cubicle get me the same great joy that the Techniques center offered? Luckily I was accepted into Teach For America in the Hawaii region. I knew that a big part of the reason why I got into TFA was because of the center. During the final round of interviews there were a total of 6 candidates. 3 of which were from the Techniques center. I then became a 3rd grade general educator in an inclusion setting. I was able to continue working with students with disabilities and used the knowledge that I learned previously to become successful. 92% of my third grade students passed the math-standardized test in 2012; which is almost unheard of in the special education world.
Once my commitment to TFA ended I knew in my heart that I needed to do something bigger in order to help the students. How can I affect more than 30 students a year? I was then offered a career at Autism Training Solutions in June 2012 where we focus on training professionals in evidence based learning strategies. Teachers, paraprofessionals, students, parents, and more, are now learning how to teach to students who are on the autism spectrum. I have the privilege to work side by side, and meet some of the most influential people in the field on a day-to-day basis. So as I look back and think about “How did I end up in Hawaii and Boston with this amazing opportunity to make a difference?” I answer myself and say the Techniques center got me here.
WRECK EM TECH!