Find Out “Wednesday” with Structured Learning Teacher Catherine Gulledge

So very sorry for the delay… getting our schedules together to be able to post last Friday was a little challenging.

Our “Find Out Friday” continues today with a look into the life of my niece, Catherine Gulledge. She just finished her Masters from Western Carolina this week and received her special education and general education certifications.

Catherine’s interview:

  1. What inspired you to work with children who are differently abled?

I have always been interested in other’s perceptions and how I could best understand different ideas, needs and the thought process of others.  I have an older sister who is differently abled than myself and at a young age one could notice the differences between her and her typically developing, same-aged peers. It was never discussed in my household, to this day I do not know her official diagnosis and so I have always had the desire to fill that gap in my personal knowledge with as much education on other’s diagnosis.

  1. How does your classroom differ from a general education classroom?

My classroom structure is extremely different from a gen ed classroom, although I try to keep it as least restrictive as my student who needs the maximum support allows. I have sensory wall panels that I use to create physical & visual boundaries that assist in teaching work flow in designated areas. I have visual cues everywhere that serve as safety reminders, schedules, routine tasks analysis and a method for communication for my nonverbal students.

  1. How have you utilized organizations like DonorsChoose to enhance your classroom materials?

My classroom has been truly blessed by generous donors and foundations that fund projects through DonorsChoose. I have had projects funded for classroom wall panels, indoor recess equipment, materials for academic centers and most recently, for sensory items and educational enhancement items for distant learning.

  1. How do incorporate the Montessori method into your classroom instruction?

I worked with several knowledgeable community members to research how my students with autism could benefit from a Montessori approach.  I created a DonorsChoose for Montessori math materials and learned how to best teach my elementary students using the materials.  The hands-on, simplified, less distracting materials increased progress on math goals in my classroom.

  1. How has this period of distance learning been for you and your students?

Technology is difficult for my students to use for educational purposes.  My students have preferred programs they consistently use on technology so when trying to introduce academic uses for technology there has been a lot of refusal. My students benefit from hands-on learning and most require physical assistance to complete tasks. Their parents have really had to step in as a one-on-one teacher and that has been challenging for students to understand the transition in the role from parent to teacher.

  1. What would you like others to know about being an educator?

All the cliché statements like, “Teaching isn’t for everyone”, “Teachers deserve their summer break”, “Teachers use tons of their own money & time to make a successful classroom”, etc.

Wow! I learned a lot from her interview and I hope you did, too. Thank you for reading.

If you know someone you’d like to nominate for Find Out Friday, please let me know.

Enjoy your “Find Out Wednesday” today!





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