Exceptional Students and Elementary Education Student

Paige Simmons

“You don’t just get a degree first; instead, it's all integrated so you learn and practice now.”


Orange, CA


School of Teacher Education - Elementary; Special Education

Related Degrees

  • BEd, Exceptional Students & Elementary Education

Did you always know you wanted to become a teacher? 
No, actually. I was originally going to go to school for interior design, but I met a friend in college who was dyslexic. When I found a way to help her, I realized that it was what I wanted to do.

Why did you choose to pursue the ESEE program?
I came to this school specifically because of this program. My cousin had done the merged program.

What has been the best part of the program experience so far?
Luckily, it’s been the field and taking classes at the same time. This allows us to really practice implementing the things we learn into our classroom and to see why and how it works.

In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
I hope to make my classroom not a means of teaching to the middle, but to find the best way to for each student to learn.

How are the people and the program in the COE helping you along your way?
If I didn’t have my classmates, I don’t know if I would be able to get through the program. It’s comforting to have 20 other people in the same position as I am. The teachers are always there to answer questions, related or not related to the classroom. Even teachers we had last year are still there to help us succeed in the field.

What are your post-program plans?
I want to teach special education as soon as I graduate. I don’t mind which grade; I like the wide range of grades.

Anything else you would like to share?
I feel like this program is a lot different than certificate programs. You don’t just get a degree first; instead, it’s all integrated so you learn and practice now. If I didn’t do the integrated program, I don’t feel like it would be the same experience.

I'm interested in learning more about a degree or certificate in Elementary Education.

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