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Something that you want us to know about you or something about you that is interesting: I am from a very small town in Central Oregon called Culver. I enjoy hunting, fishing, golfing, and being outdoors. I have invested a lot of time and work into my wrestling career and am currently still working on it.

Explain your education & career goals: I am currently a junior at Souther Oregon University working towards a degree in Elementary Education. I plan on graduating next spring, unless i choose to work towards a minor degree in Spanish. If it is possible, I would like to teach somewhere close to home in Central Oregon. After teaching for several years, eventually I would like to become a principal. As far as the future goes, that is all I have planned at this point.

What brings you joy? There are many things that bring me joy including being around my family, friends, and accomplishing goals that I set out to do. I enjoy seeing those around me succeed, so I am very open to helping in any way that I can with the people and community that I surround myself with.

What is your greatest fear about being a teacher? I worry sometimes that I am too intense for some kids. By intense I mean I expect a lot out of people and I worry that I have not developed the skills to know when expectations are unrealistic for certain students. But am eager to develop those skills.

Did you ever experience a time when something was extremely difficult to learn? Explain that time and how it made you feel.
There was a point in my wrestling career where I struggled to find victories, make weight, and motivate myself. I was cutting about 18 lbs. a week to make weight and was not enjoying life. At that point I hated the sport and decided I was never going to wrestle again. I have yet to endure anything as difficult so far. I somehow survived the season and am finding success on the mat once again. After that season, I now look at life through a different lens.

How might this piece of your history help you connect to students with learning differences?
That experience gave me a sense of empathy for kids or people who struggle with school, sports, or anything physical or mental. Because of the horrid experiences I endured, I am able to understand how difficult some things can be for people. I do not believe in quitting or giving up, sometimes you just have to attack the issue from a different angle.

What do you want to gain from this course?
I would like to develop the skills necessary so that I can effectively teach and move students with exceptionalities forward. There is no doubt that someday a student with exceptionalities will be a part of my classroom. I want to know what it is going to take to make that student feel welcomed and be a part of the class. I would like to leave with an adequate knowledge of the most common exceptionalities that I might have or see in a classroom.

Peer Relations Introduction: Peer acceptance represents social status or popularity withina large group, whereas friendships represent relationships based on mutual respect, appreciation, and liking. Early adolescence is a time characterized by friendships that share more common feelings and are more supportive than when children are younger. At the same time, youth who have more mutual friends (i.e., individuals with a similar degree of affection for one another) are more likely to be accepted by their larger peer group.
Peer acceptance and friendships are distinct constructs and contribute to youth development. Peer acceptance has been shown to be associated with greater feelings of belonging and fewer behavioral problems in youth, whereas, friendships have been shown to directly influence feelings of loneliness. However, both peer acceptance and friendships similarly provide youth with self-esteem and improved psychological adjustment.

Why I chose this topic: Through the years I have observed students, friends, and teammates go through the benefits and downfalls of peer relations. I have come to highly value my own peer relationships because of the struggles and accomplishments I have been able to achieve with their help and support. Being able to choose your friends wisely is a skill. I believe it is a very important skill because of the strong influence they have on you. Hanging out with a good crowd and surrounding yourself with people who have common interests and goals is important.

Top Five Things I Learned:
1. I learned that there has been a fair amount of research done in peer relationships on students with exceptionalities over the past decade. The research that has been done shows that students with exceptionalities who spend more time in the general classroom develop more social skills than those who spend more time in an isolated classroom.
2. Students who spend most of their time in a segregated resource setting show no improvement in their social status amongst their peers.
3. There is a fair amount of controversy over the effects of the full inclusion of students with exceptionalities.
4. I learned more details about the full inclusive initiative and the regular education initiative. Research supports that full inclusion has more benefits, but should not be the only option.
5. I learned more about the effects of peer relationships and their importance.

Top Resource:

5/5 This is a link to a research project on full inclusion of students with disabilities in the context of the regular education initiative (REI). The website is called ERIC-Education Research Information Center. I choose this as my top resource because not only does it address my topic directly, but also has information on many other topics as well. I highly recommend this website to anyone and I plan on using it in the future as well.
Other Resources with brief description and rating (5 point scale):

4/5 This article discusses the various effects of peer relationships and factors that contribute to possible peer relationship problems including reputations, family problems, social behavior and many others.

3/5 This website gives information about what peer relationships are and the importance of building peer relationships. This website also gives information on how to promote the development of peer relationships.

5/5 Kids Together Inc. is an informational organization for students and adults with disabilities. This organization lays out several benefits of a fully inclusive classroom.


3/5 This health journal focuses on the athletic identity, affect, and peer relations in youth athletes with physical disabilities. This journal suggests that sports may contribute to quality of life by promoting positive affective states.


3/5 This research focuses on the social relationships of students with exceptionalities in mainstream classrooms.


3/5 This is a scholarly research journal done on observations of students with exceptionalities in the general classroom.


4/5 This is a journal done on the sociometric status of students with disabilities in a full-inclusion school. Very informational.