Jade Yim Pham
MEdT Dual Secondary/Special Education Student, 2017-2019 Cohort
"I want to be a part of the movement that bridges the gap between general education and special education."
- MEdT, Teaching - Dual License SPED/Secondary
You are an emergency hire and have a MUSE (Mentoring Unique Special Educators) mentor. How has the MUSE mentor and program supported you?
My MUSE mentor supported me mainly through encouraging words and a listening ear. My program supported me with financial aid so that I could afford my education while on minimal teacher pay.
How are you able to manage being in the program and working full time as a teacher?
Working as a full-time teacher and being in the program has been a challenging feat. However, I manage by taking advantage of the resources provided, such as meeting with my MUSE mentor and collaborating with my colleagues.
Do you recommend the emergency hire route to others thinking about doing the program?
I would only recommend becoming an emergency hire to those who have demonstrated a consistent ability to balance and prioritize effectively.
Did you always know you wanted to become a teacher?
Quite honestly, I never imagined myself to be where I am today. I had always thought I would pursue a career in politics or law. However, life took an unexpected change after finishing my undergraduate degree. I realized that my passions rest not in researching and analyzing, but in cultivating personal relationships. My desire to become a teacher blended with my desire to plant my feet in my local community and give back to the place that built my foundations.
How did you become interested in special education in particular?
My knowledge of special education prior to this program was lacking. I became interested when I learned of the growing need for educators in this field. The reality is that there is a population of students who often feel pushed aside because of their disabilities. I want to be a part of the movement that bridge the gap between general education and special education.
Why did you choose to pursue this program?
I chose to pursue this program because I wanted to become certified in both general education social studies and special education. As a dual-certified teacher, I would have the qualified background to differentiate instruction and meet the needs of all types of learners. I want to share my love of social studies with students by making content come alive and connecting them to the lessons through innovative teaching methods.
What has been the best part of the program experience so far?
The best of my program experience thus far would have to be my amazing cohort and supporting professors. My cohort has become a family to me; we share both our joys and struggles with one another. My professors have supported me every step of the way in both the classroom and on the field as an emergency hire teacher. The relationships I’ve developed in this program have been vital to my successes as a teacher and my desire to continue in this field.
In what ways do you hope to make a difference in the field of education?
I work at a Title I school where most students come from extremely marginalized backgrounds with recurrent trauma and absent role models. I hope to make a difference by pushing the field of education to be more than just classroom learning, but into a safe place where students can develop social-emotional learning and self-growth. I currently work at the school I actually graduated from, which makes me feel like I have come full circle. I share a very similar background with many of the students, and I have walked down the same path of struggles. My story shows that we don’t have to fit into the mold that society tells us we should; rather, we can become whoever we want to be, through grit and determination.
How are the people and the program in the COE helping you along your way?
The College of Education is helping me along my way by providing me with caring, knowledgable professors and with a valuable mentor on the field to apply my education.
What are your post-program plans?
My post-program plan is to continue teaching at the high school level as a special education teacher. Eventually, I would like to transition into being a general education social studies teacher. Furthermore, my hope is to take on leadership roles within my school and in professional development programs. As a teacher, I plan to always be a student as well.