In an interview with Alyssa Corniels, an LASP Special Education teacher, I got to finally understand how a day teaching special-needs students was, and what the job entailed. Working as a special education teacher, Corniels does a lot of hands-on activities with her students all day. She says “we have so many different abilities in our classroom, I like to change it up,” and the day is filled with fun and versatile activities that everyone, teacher and student alike, can enjoy. She even mentioned that one of their recent units involved a lot of water-based experiments, and everyone got to enjoy themselves when experimenting.
Corniels is with her students all day, where she teaches specific courses that primarily have to do with self-sufficiency. One of those classes is personal development, where “the class is more focused on their jobs, job skills, getting them ready to go out in the community and be an active member of society” Corniels says. They have the chance to learn about the interviewing process, functional math, and calculating money.
She also says that she gets to know all of her students quite well, since she’s in class with all of them, and she’s grown quite fond of them and their company. She says “I got to see one of my students working at Jewel, which was awesome,” and she loves to ask the kids about how their days went, how their nights go when they leave, and love to get a chance to really get to know them and all of their hobbies or their daily activities that they do.
She loves working here because Yorkville is her community, which in turns gives her the satisfaction of being able to give back to the community she’s come to love, and she says “it’s great being a part of the community and being able to contribute to the school that I went to.” She knew that teaching is what she wanted to do when she was going down the nursing branch, only to take a teaching class and fall in love almost immediately with the idea of teaching itself. From then on, she started to train to become a teacher, and ended up teaching special education in Yorkville after growing fond of the students at Yorkville High School.
She says that her favorite part of the day is both the end and the beginning, getting to know how their days or their nights went, and she says that “Any time I can talk with them one on one is a great thing.”