Lauren Bell has worked as a reading specialist for Y.A.L.E School serving children with autism in Cherry Hill for the past five years. She is now the director of the new Y.A.L.E School opening in Philadelphia. Miss Bell has a Bachelor of Art degree in elementary education from Penn State and a master's degree in teaching from St. Joseph's University, as well as certifications in special ed and as a Reading Specialist.
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching in the classroom environment?
"All of my students deserve a learning environment that promotes their strengths, piques their interests and challenges them to succeed in a safe, systematic and motivating way. Finding the right combination of tools and strategies to make this happen is only part of the process. It's just as important to me to acknowledge students' unique qualities, assure their emotional well-being and encourage their hopes and dreams, along with those of their parents – now that's a challenge! So I look beyond the four walls of my classroom to make learning real and exciting. That's why I love teaching in a vibrant and engaging community such as Manayunk, where learning and skill building connects so readily to the real world around us."
Are continuing education courses beneficial for teachers?
"Teachers need to be learning as much as they are teaching, so yes, continuing education is vital. This can come in many forms - classes, conferences and seminars and webinars. I apply what I learn in the classroom. For example, I have learned how to integrate more hands-on learning in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) from the continuing education programs I have attended."
Do you feel a master's education is helpful in your day-to-day career?
"I earned a master's degree in teaching from St. Joseph's University. And yes, without a doubt, my advanced training and certifications as a reading specialist help me and my students every day."
Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter the teaching profession?
"My advice is to love what you do! Teaching is not a job, it is a lifestyle. Right there next to parents, you are on the front line in the life of a child and can make a huge difference. Be prepared for hard work and long hours, but also for the most satisfying work you can imagine."
Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. She reports on various topics such as: Social Media, Local Events, Entertainment, Food and Drink and more. Her work can be found at http://firstsendmedia.com/
for more features.