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Running Head: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Autobiographical Essay
Alicia Birch
Professor Jen Lund
College of Western Idaho
Fall 2014

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Running Head: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Autobiographical Essay
He did it! He wrote his name! These were the words of many excited classmates as
they witnessed one of their peers with many physical challenges form his name after months of
endless struggling. On another occasion, I witnessed a student light up when showing off some
difficult, frustrating math that she had done without any help at all. On a separate instance, a
student too afraid to go out to recess independently, went out and played with a peer. These few
experiences I have been involved in during my work as an ERR Paraprofessional have all shaped
my desire to become a professional educator. Being a part of both small and large
accomplishments, moments of pure joy when mastering a hard concept, and seeing the
excitement and confidence students gain as they reach their potential has shaped my desire to
become a teacher one day. Through my educational background, work history, service/
extracurricular activities, past experiences, and goals, I am confident that I will be a valuable
educator one day- one that can help my students discover their full potential, no matter how
difficult it may seem.
Educational Background
My educational background has very much paved the way for my love and interest in
becoming a professional educator. As a child, I attended Franklin South, an elementary school in
Gilbert, AZ. After first attending a public school in that area, I was moved to Franklin South, a
well-known charter school. This school provided me with an upbeat, challenging curriculum that
enabled me to be accountable and responsible for the success of my education. Upon the
completion of my 5th grade year, I moved to Meridian, ID where I attended Sawtooth Middle
School. I then attended Rocky Mountain High School, completing my secondary education.

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Currently, I am obtaining my post-secondary education at the College of Western Idaho in


Nampa, ID. I plan to transfer to Boise State upon my graduation from CWI to complete my
education degree. I officially have received my high school diploma and am currently an
undergraduate student, excited to obtain my Elementary Education degree.
Over the last several years as a student, I have had many opportunities to participate in
unique educational experiences that have shaped my development as a professional educator. As
a child, I participated in the Challenge program in my elementary school. In both middle school
and high school, I was able to participate and help lead both the National Junior Honor Society
and the National Honor Society. As an 8th grader, I was elected to be the Secretary for the
National Junior Honor Society at my middle school. Throughout both middle and high school, I
participated in American Sign Language and Spanish courses that allowed me to increase my
ability to communicate in other languages. My background and experiences in education have
largely contributed to my development as a professional educator. Being a leader in the National
Honor Society contributed to my strong ability to take control and be in charge of accomplishing
tasks. I am assertive, responsible, and reliable in any task given to me, and being secretary of this
prestigious society helped me to learn this trait.
Work History
My work experience has varied greatly in the many responsibilities and duties I have
possessed. While the many jobs I have held have differed widely from one another, all have had
an impact on my development as a professional educator. As a student in high school, I worked
at a t-shirt company, completing orders for different businesses and making sure production was
successful and accurate. This job taught me the value of being precise, following through on
tasks, as well as time management. All of these skills have better prepared me as I am entering

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Running Head: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

the teaching field. In addition to working at the t-shirt company, I worked as a personal nanny for
a family and taught a young child American Sign Language lessons. This job provided me with
the knowledge and skill of making lesson plans, providing the children with fun and educational
activities, and ensuring safety and a positive learning environment for all the children under my
care. These values I learned throughout this job have also prepared me in many aspects for when
I have students in my future classroom.
While both of these jobs have contributed greatly to my development as a professional
educator, my current job as an ERR Paraprofessional is the main reason behind my desire to
become a teacher. Upon graduating high school, I was hired as an ERR Para at Prospect
Elementary in the West Ada School District. Currently, I am in my 4th year of teaching at this
school. Some of my roles and duties in this job include: implementing and following individual
students IEPs and Behavior Plans, assisting the Special Education teacher, preparing lesson
plans, teaching individual students as well as running groups, modifying and adapting classroom
materials for students I work with, teaching socialization skills, managing behaviors, as well as
countless other duties around the classroom. This includes running copies, organizing files,
taking and inputting IEP data, and keeping the room ready to successfully work with and teach
students.
Through this job, I can honestly say I have found my love and place for teaching. As I
have been placed with students with varying and diverse abilities, I have developed the
knowledge and surety that all students can and will learn. Students love to learn! They are just
waiting for the right person to pull out the knowledge and give them the confidence to reach their
full potential. During my first year as an ERR Para, I was placed with a very challenging student
with numerous struggles. Expectations were not set very high for this student, and it seemed

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some had given up hope. I knew this child could learn. I set high expectations, encouraged this
student, and helped them discover the joy of learning through patience and hard work. By the
end of the year, this student was communicating and independently completing tasks that people
never thought possible. This unique experience has really driven me to develop myself as a
professional educator so that I can help all students find the ability to learn and reach their full
potential. Through this career, I have gained knowledge and grown as I have been trained and
succeeded in my ability to connect and work with children of all capacities. My patience,
knowledge of teaching to differing learning styles, behavior management techniques, and
familiarity with IEPs will all help me as a future educator, because I will be immersed in all of
these duties.
Service and Extracurricular Activities
In recent years, I have been involved in several service and extracurricular activities that
have largely contributed to my development as a professional educator. Of the many different
projects and organizations I have been a part of, the most significant include my roles in Special
Olympics Idaho, my membership in National Honors Society, and being a teammate on both
volleyball and dance teams. Growing up, I have always loved service opportunities. I find it
enjoyable to help someone and see the light it puts in their eyes as they are being loved and
helped. I have learned some of the most valuable lessons through my experiences in both service
and extra-curricular activities.
Through Special Olympics, I was able to learn the value of organization, timeliness,
patience, and working directly with children and adults with various Developmental Disabilities.
For example, when the Special Olympics were being held here in Idaho, I was a large part of the

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Floor Hockey category, and was in charge of making sure the athletes were in the correct spot,
being fed and taken care of properly, and ensuring athletes were having a fun and safe time. My
role in this organization was not only fun, but taught me the importance of being organized, on
time, and assertive when accomplishing tasks. Most importantly, my role assured my desire to
work with Special needs individuals as an educator. As I completed this service, I knew I wanted
to work as an educator in this field one day.
In addition to Special Olympics, my membership in the National Honors Society
throughout high school provided me with countless service opportunities over the years. I was
able to participate in Rake up Boise each year, organize clothing drives for needy members of the
community, and participate in cancer walks, school fundraisers, homeless shelters, and nursing
homes all over the city. Through these many service projects, I learned how to focus on others
needs before my own, the joy of helping someone in need, and the importance of organization
and communication. Much planning was involved, and communication was key to ensure that all
projects were a success. As secretary, I learned leadership skills, time management, and the value
of working as a team. All of these qualities will very much help me in the as a future educator.
Finally, as a teammate on both dance and volleyball teams in high school and currently, I
am skilled in knowing the importance of giving 100%, making sure I am on time, cooperation,
dedication, and endurance. When I first started to dance, it was so hard. I knew I loved the sport,
but it didnt always come naturally to me. As I practiced and was dedicated, it became easier and
is now something I love as a hobby. As a teacher, there will be students that I do not connect with
easily right off the bat. With dedication and the value of never giving up, I am confident that as a
teacher I can connect with and reach even challenging students to help them succeed. Being a

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teammate and participating in both Special Olympics and NHS has helped me instill these beliefs
in myself as a future educator.
Reasons for Choosing Education as a Career
While I have always had an interest and love for the Education field, I did not always
plan on becoming a teacher. As a young girl, I always thought I would grow up to become a
Dolphin trainer. I truly loved animals and dreamt of studying to become a trainer at SeaWorld,
putting on show after show for the thousands of people each day. It seemed like the perfect
career to me! In middle-high school, the realities of becoming a dolphin trainer set in, and I
decided to look into the health field. I had an interest in becoming a Pediatric nurse, and even
going to school to become a Pediatric Oncology nurse. It wasnt until about my Junior and
Senior year of high school that I truly considered the education field, after falling in love with
working with children with developmental disabilities.
In both my junior and senior year of high school, I was a peer tutor in my schools ERR,
working with peers with various developmental disabilities. I found joy in working with these
students, and truly connected and formed strong bonds with them. I found so much satisfaction
and passion during this time, and would be able to talk for hours to friends and family about the
amazing accomplishments I was seeing. My experiences have led me to the decision to get my
degree in both general and Special Education, so that I may have the ability to either be an ERR
teacher, or be well equipped to teach General Education with a strong knowledge of how to work
with and include children with developmental disabilities in my gen-ed classroom. Whether its
ERR or 1st grade that I decide to teach, I am confident that I will be able to help my students
reach their full potential because of these experiences.

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As a teacher, I anticipate many rewards. I look forward to the simple things like
developing a positive and strong rapport with my students, as well as the big things like seeing
my students succeed in their educational goals, both long-term and short-term. I anticipate
working with students who are struggling, and seeing them overcome the challenges that they
face. I also anticipate building bonds and friendships with my colleagues as we plan and
implement different techniques to work with the students we are responsible for. Finally, it will
be extremely rewarding to become someone who is looked up to by a whole classroom of
children, as we learn and grow each day together.
Professional Goals
As a future educator, I have set many goals for myself, both long and short-term. As
someone who wants to encourage, educate, and be a role model for my future students, I think it
is crucial to have both short-term and long-term goals. This will not only help me to be able to
achieve my purposes as a teacher, but better prepare myself for being an example of improving
oneself for my future students. I want to be prepared and always be improving so that I may set
the tone for how I want my students to improve and accomplish greatness in their lives as well.
Ultimately, my goal is to graduate college with outstanding grades, and to become a General
Education 1st grade teacher. In addition, I would like to complete my Special Education degree,
so that I may have the option of teaching either 1st grade or in the ERR. Once I have become a
teacher, some of my goals include being able to be build a strong connection with my students,
helping them accomplish the educational goals set out for them, and seeing the good in each day.
I have always said I want to be teaching before I am 25, so I have also set a goal to get my
degree before that point.

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Running Head: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Before I complete my long-term goals of receiving my General Education/ Special


Education degrees, I have many short-term goals that will help me get to that point. Some of my
short-term goals include completing my homework/assignments on time, making schoolwork a
priority in order to receive good grades, being positive about my career choice, and getting more
hours at work so that I am able to be in a financially sound spot. I want to spend my money
wisely, develop a better savings account, and excel in all of my classes. All of these short-term
goals will help me to reach my long-term goals of becoming a 1st grade or ERR teacher.
In order to achieve these goals, there are many different ways I plan to go about them. I
plan to prioritize, and always get assignments done on time. I plan to have strong communication
with my instructors, practice self-discipline, and always stay motivated. Once I have graduated
from the College of Western Idaho, I plan to enroll at Boise State University where I intend to
finish my degree. With hard work and dedication, I will be able to accomplish my short-term
goals. In turn, accomplishing my short-term goals is what will lead me to achieving my longterm goals of being a 1st grade/ ERR teacher.
While the process of obtaining my Elementary Education and Special Education degrees
will be long and challenging, I am confident that I am more than ready to do so. Getting to work
with, teach, and connect with a whole classroom of kids will make everything I am doing now so
worth it! My educational background, work history, service/ extracurricular activities, past
experiences, and goals have provided me with the valuable experience and knowledge I need to
obtain my education degree. I know that getting to be an influence in the education of young
minds is the exact job I want to have throughout my life. The rewards and joy that will come
with this career will be priceless and I am so excited for this educational journey.