When asked why they chose special education as a career, both Dora Rodriguez and Melissa Garcia, special education teachers at IDEA Monterrey Park College Prep, answered passionately about student success.
“I chose special education because I truly believe in helping students with disabilities reach their full potential and be just as successful as any other student,” said Rodriguez. “I pride myself on having the opportunity to be their voice and advocate and differentiate instruction to meet their needs.”
Dora Rodriguez, Special Education Teacher & Special Education Coordinator at IDEA Monterrey Park College Prep
“I chose special education as a career because I’ve always believed that everyone has the potential to succeed,” said Garcia. “I wanted to identify and fill in gaps for scholars that maybe felt like they couldn’t succeed and show them, with a little help identifying gaps, that we are all are truly capable.”
Melissa Garcia, Special Education Teacher at IDEA Monterrey Park College Prep
Their hard work helps make a difference for special education students at IDEA Monterrey Park every day. For senior scholar Arianna Vidal, it has been the support and encouragement from her teachers that has driven her to succeed.
“My teachers have helped me become successful by being motivational and always having high standards for all their students,” Vidal said. “This makes us want to work our hardest to make them proud. We know they are always there for us whether it is school–related or personally. This allowed us to build trust and feel like a family, so it was easy to talk to them and for them to give us advice.”
Vidal also shared a long list of names of many teachers at IDEA Monterrey Park that have helped her accomplish her goals – Mrs. Rodriguez and Mrs. Garcia in their incredible company.
Through their support, Vidal plans to be successful in college next year and pursue a degree in sports medicine and business. One thing she is learning right now that excites her: to be confident in herself.
For Rodriguez, knowing a scholar like Vidal feels empowered means she is doing her job right.
“Teaching means making a difference in children’s lives,” she said. “Teaching is about creating a safe and trusting environment for students to learn and grow. Teaching is about molding responsible, caring, and productive citizens of this world. Most importantly, being a teacher means showing up as your best self and caring about your students unconditionally.”
Mrs. Garcia could not agree more. Teaching, to her, is about being given the opportunity to impact and influence a life. A task she approaches with thoughtfulness and joy.
“Teaching takes many forms, and if I can have a positive impact on a child by building up their confidence and giving them a skillset that increases their self-esteem or sparks hope, then I have done my job,” Garcia said. “I want to make a positive life–changing impact on all the students I have been blessed to work with.”
In the beautiful words of Mrs. Rodriguez: Special educators strive to encourage and inspire daily. Thank you to all the special education teachers at IDEA Public Schools and across the nation who are working diligently to make a difference for all students regardless of learning ability. Learn more about our program today at ideapublicschools.org/our-approach/special-programs.