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Danielle Sanders, BSEd ’21 — First-Year Teacher Reflection

Danielle Sanders

Danielle Sanders, BSEd ’21, All-Level Special Education
Self-contained classroom, first-third grades

The Baylor School of Education was such a fabulous program to be a part of, and it has helped shape me into the educator I am today. I want to especially shout out Dr. Hodges, Dr. Davis, Mrs. Plemons, and Dr. Goree. They were all instrumental in keeping me passionate about education, and showed me how to truly lead and teach well. I took so many classes that significantly impacted my outlook not only on education, but how to teach to all types of learners. The School of Education at Baylor prepared me far more than I could’ve ever imagined.

I completed my first year of teaching in the Central Texas area serving first- through third-grade students with special needs in a self-contained setting. While I gained a plethora of experience and skills while in my role as a first-year teacher, I felt myself being called to a career other than traditional classroom teaching. I loved working with students with disabilities, but the classroom just didn’t feel like the right place for me. I began to search for jobs that I could get with my All-Level Special Education degree.

I found out about a company in my hometown of Arlington, Texas, called Total Transition Services (TTS). They help adolescents with special needs find jobs and prepare for the workforce. They teach both individual and group classes in the office on functional skills like managing money, social skills, and so many other valuable resources for adults with disabilities who are entering the workforce. I have spent the summer as a job skills trainer where I am paired with students at their job sites. I assist them with any training or tools they may need to perform job functions to the best of their abilities. I have enjoyed my time with TTS, and I feel like I have found my niche. I am able to use the skills and knowledge I gathered from my Baylor education in a setting outside of the “typical” classroom. I am forever grateful to the Baylor School of Education for preparing me for educating students of all ages, and especially students with disabilities.

I hope that my experience gives hope to those who feel that the classroom may not be for them. Education can look like so many different things, and I have seen various opportunities with which I can use my education degree outside of the typical mold of the classroom. There are so many ways my Baylor Education degree has allowed me to open myself up to new possibilities.