My twin sister Danielle, right, with me at a Sounders game

What I want you to know about me:
I am a 21-year-old native of Olympia, Washington. My family includes my mother, father, fraternal twin sister, and younger brother. I love to play soccer and read, if there is any time left after my school work!

My education and career goals:
When I was 8 years old, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. Now,I plan to obtain a health endorsement when I get my Masters degree and teaching license. With this endorsement, I will be more prepared to teach children how to lead healthy lives, with a special focus in the area of social and emotional health. I may do this by teaching health in middle school or heading up extracurricular/district wide positive health activities and programs.

What brings me joy?
The reason that I want to teach comes from the feelings I have when helping children. I love to see children learning and understanding new concepts and making connections. Knowing that I helped those children come to those understandings is a wonderful feeling.
Other things that make me happy include spending times with friends and family, reading interesting books, and being outdoors on beautiful warm sunny days.

What is my greatest fear about being a teacher?
I know that many things can go wrong when working with children. I think that my biggest fear about teaching would be not being able to influence children and help them make good choices. Seeing a former student making unhealthy decisions or treating others poorly would make me sad, and feel as if I failed that child. I want to be able to reach all of my students! I know that students have many other influenced in their lives, but I hope that what I teach will help guide them to the right path. I know that I am the person I am today because some of my teachers have guided me so well.

A time when something was extremely difficult for me to learn:
One of my most frustrating learning experience came from a high school math course. I had a hard time grasping many of the concepts, and the homework was not helping because I just couldn’t understand it. I tried to get help from the teacher, but he didn’t seem to understand the concepts well enough to be able to help me. I was frustrated every night and scared before every test. Eventually, my sister and a friend were able to help me enough to get through the class. I know that some of my students will struggle like this. I will be able to empathize with them and get them the time they may need to learn the concepts. I will look for different ways to explain the information, and, above all, I will try to understand the information myself before I try to help others.

What I want to gain from this course:
In this course, I want to learn about the needs of struggling learners. I want to find ways to assess those needs, and I want to know many different approaches to meeting those needs.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur when a powerful external force impacts the brain, causing damage. This damage to the brain can effect cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and/or physical functioning.

I chose this topic for a few reasons. I have a little bit of experience working with people with TBIs, but I would like to know more about people with TBIs as learners. My aunt runs a “Clubhouse” in Seattle, where people with TBIs and their families and friends can go to spend time with others in similar situations, make friends, find support, and participate in community activities. I worked at a fundraising walkathon event for this Clubhouse and had a lot of fun interacting with the members.

When a person is in an accident or is a victim of violence and is diagnosed with a TBI, it is a very stressful and shocking experience, both for the person and those around him or her. The victim may never be the same again. I would like to know more about TBIs so that I will be more prepared to work with students who have TBIs and their families, both from the very beginning and as the student progresses.

The Top 5 Things I Learned

  1. Brain injuries can effect areas and qualities that are very important in school and learning including attention, memory, concentration, planning, organization, problem solving, expressive speech, impulsivity, and social interaction.
  2. Traumatic Brain Injuries can be hard to identify, and are often misdiagnosed as concussions. It is important to learn the signs and symptoms of TBIs when a head injury occurs.
  3. Falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. Precautions should be taken to prevent falls, including correcting unsafe areas and environments.
  4. About 1.7 million people receive brain injuries each year.
  5. Teachers spend much of each day with their students, and they may be the best or only person around to notice changes in a student’s behavior that may indicate a brain injury. Teachers should be aware and observant, and report any worrisome events to the school nurse and/or parents.

Top Resource:

This website has resources and information for everyone who might be involved with a person who has a TBI. For teachers, there is information for regarding how to help a child re-enter school after an accident, which can be stressful and confusing for everyone. Teachers can also find information about helping these students learn successfully and things to look for that may be signs of problems of complications with the brain injury. There is a section called “Brainline Kids”, with lots of information pertaining specifically to children with TBIs. The website is clear and well organized, and it contains so much helpful information. I give this website a 5/5.

Other Resources:

The authors of this website discuss how the PBS system has been very successfully implemented when working with children who have traumatic brain injuries. The information found here is clear and relevant for teachers and parents. I give this website a 4/5.

This site is a fantastic resource for teachers. On it, teachers can find information about student behavior, school reentry processes, assessments, IEPs, instructional strategies, and more. There are also sections for those helping students make the transition to post-school adult life. I give this website a 5/5!

This online document details the procedures, accommodations, and other information teachers need to know when working with students with TBIs in many areas of schooling. The document also contains great information for parents. There are interesting and informative facts that everyone should know about brain injuries. I give this resource a 4/5.

This article is specifically about the Oregon TBI Educational Consulting Team. It tells what they studied, discovered, and planned. Educators can learn about past and upcoming informational sessions and seminars where they can learn about TBIs and schools. I give this resource a 3/5 because it contains helpful information and is relevant to Oregon teachers.

Here is another resource about the benefits of using PBS with students with TBIs. The guest,Dr.ThomasPomeranz, discusses possible emotions or desires that students may be communicating through their behaviors, and gives examples of using positive behavioral supports. I give this resource a 4/5.

The CDC website provides general information on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of TBIs as well as TBI related statistics. The CDC is always a reliable source for medical information. I give this resource a 4/5.

This website is another great resource for families and teachers of those with TBIs. There is more information about school reentry and assistance. Tips for whom parents should communicate with in the schools and what teachers should ask parents can be found here. I give this resource a 4/5.

Provail is an organization designed to help people with disabilities and their families. They provide a variety of programs and services. Through Provail, people can find local resources that fit their needs. This is the organization that Seattle Brainworks functions under, which is the program that my aunt manages. Provail caters mainly to the Seattle area, but can provide information about or referrals to support in other areas as well. I give this resource a 4/5.