Devorah was a young child who went to a mainstream Bais Yaakov. In preschool, Devorah thrived on the social interaction and playtime experiences, however she struggled with academics.
Before she began 1st grade, Devorah’s mother received a call from the principal. She offered her mother the opportunity to enroll her daughter in a resource room as a means to help her succeed. As the principal described it, this program would give Devorah the individual attention and tools to learn.
The mother, out of pure love for Devorah, enrolled her in the resource room to help her thrive.
In 1st and 2nd grade Devorah thrived in the resource room setting, while attending her mainstream classroom for half-day.
In 3rd grade however, Devorah faced a new struggle. Her mainstream classmates began to shun her and call her the “dumb girl”. Eventually she started thinking of herself as a dumb girl. By the time Devorah reached 4th grade, the bullying by her classmates had worsened. They excluded her from activities and often teased her. Devorah hated school and felt that learning was just not for her.
When Devorah entered 5th grade, she was broken; in her mind she didn’t have the capabilities to get through school. She felt like a hopeless failure. However, her mother believed in her, and with a lot of insight and consideration, enrolled her in a different school for the following year as a mainstream student.
6th grade was a turning point for Devorah. The teacher, Mrs. Gold, cared for every single child. After a week of school had passed, Mrs. Gold noticed that Devorah was not taking notes and asked her about it. Devorah then told her that she can’t as she doesn’t know how, she is the “dumb girl”.
Mrs. Gold, however, would not take that for an answer. She sat down with Devorah and said, “You are going to do this, and I am going to help you.” With love, she taught Devorah how to take notes, while giving her the tools and confidence she needed so badly.
And so, Devorah started taking notes. In the beginning her notes consisted of one sentence in big letters across the page. However, with her teacher’s positive feedback, always focusing on what she can do, Devorah started to blossom. Mrs. Gold continued to encourage Devorah day after day. She made modifications for her by writing notes for her to copy from the white board during class. The teacher also called her in the evening to set up study partners with her classmates for tests. There were no red X’s on her papers; Mrs. Gold gave Devorah big checks on test papers. Instead of getting 5/20’s she was given +5’s.
As time went on, Devorah changed as her confidence was built by her extremely dedicated teacher. This was a teacher who let nothing stand in the way of helping a child shine.
When Devorah left 6th grade she was a new child. A child with confidence. A child who could accomplish and wanted to try harder. She was not the top of her class; however, she was a child who believed that she could do it, and therefore succeeded in graduating elementary school.
Devorah entered high school armed with confidence. Scholastics were still a challenge, but with hard work, Devorah did well. After high school Devorah went on to college and then eventually graduate school.
This true story is about a successful educator today, Mrs. Devorah Brody. Many years after she thrived under the gentle care of Mrs. Gold, she stood as the valedictorian of her TTI and Daemen College Special Education graduate class. Devorah completed her master’s degree with 3 young children of her own. It was hard, but worthwhile. The degree gave her an added confidence in her work and helped her become a better teacher and person. With the proper training, her teaching abilities grew exponentially and she actually gained by completing the program while mothering, as it gave her insight as to how to balance priorities.
Today, her workplace asked her to become the director of the program she teaches in. Devorah accepted the position, but as she really loves classroom teaching she has continued as both the director and a classroom teacher. In her kindergarten classroom, she ensures that her students know the Aleph-Bais and have their phonemic awareness skills when they leave her class, but most importantly she makes sure that each child knows she is a shining star and that she has the confidence and skills to interact with others properly.
Recognizing the difference that Mrs. Gold made on Devorah’s life was the impetus that encouraged her to enter the field of special education. She knew that she wanted to be that teacher who would make a difference in children’s lives as Mrs. Gold had done for her.
Devorah recommends that those with a feel for the education field reach out to TTI at; 718-376-0974 Ext 11 and push themselves to become better educators, so the next generation of children are cared for and given the confidence they need to succeed.