Can you tell us about yourself?
“My name is Eileen and I work at Chatsworth Charter High school. I am a special education teacher there. I teach on the alternate curriculum. I am also the junior class sponsor. I am also a freshman class sponsor. I am the link food coordinator and currently the PTA president. I work at Chatsworth Charter High school and I have been there for 10 years now.”
Why did you start a career in education?
“Well my dad was a teacher. He was a teacher at Chatsworth Charter High school for 36 years. He was there, he was teaching the day I was born. I pretty much grew up there. I didn’t have any other ambitions besides becoming a teacher.
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
“I don’t think I would do any other job. I love teaching. I would find a way to teach no matter what the situation is, rather it would be public school, private school, homeschool, anything as long as I was teaching, I would be better happy with that.”
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
“30 years ago, I was pretty much in high school. I had some respect for teachers. We also didn’t have that need for immediate gratification because we didn’t really have cell phones at the time. The cell phones were the large box ones that went into the cars and so we didn’t have Instagram. We didn’t have Snapchat. We didn’t have that immediate gratification of looking for something up on the internet, doing searches and seeing what was out there on the World Wide Web.”
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
“The teacher usually having to go to the tap room and put the phone on a special device and dial in on a dialing modem. Now we have Wi-Fi. We have computers and tech tubs in our classrooms and the kids have a more various ways of looking up information. And also, for students who don’t have speech, we have devices where its eye gaze device. Where all she has to do is pretty much type in what she wants, and it will speak to us. So, there is a lot of talk to text devices and audio vox type devices that kids can use nowadays.”
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
“I would tell them to go into Special Ed. I am a special ed teacher now for 14 years. There is a lot of a lot of foster youth in special ed and I think they are the ones that tend to fall through the crack. And if we could get some really good young teachers out there, I think we could really hit all the students that kind of have been falling through the cracks for the last 15 years.
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
“I really believe in small group learning. So put the kids in small groups with like abilities. Maybe even a student that has a lower ability with a so the kid with the higher ability can act as a peer mentor to that student. And I would do more interactive lessons so that the kids instead of being lectured to would have the opportunity to look things up and interact with whatever the lesson is. And that’s my story. I am home. I was in my classroom about 20 minutes ago. But, unfortunately, we are being effective by the current fires here in Southern California and all the schools in the valley where I work at were put on a minimal school day. Thank you!