My Inspiration and What It Lead To…


Thanks to my brother, I am a teacher making a difference!


Why I became a special education teacher…




allchildrencanlearnI was recently asked why I wanted to become a special education teacher. I thought I would share this with you on this blog. As a sophomore in college, I was “undecided” as a major. I did not know what to do with my life. There was so much pressure to decide what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. Deciding your major in college is one of the toughest decisions as a college student.  As a child growing up, my parents talked to me about becoming a doctor or a lawyer.  In Asian families, there is lots of pressure among the children to do something prestigious. Of course, all they want for their children is to be successful. There were some things I knew for sure. One of the things I knew is that I  did not want to become a doctor or a lawyer. What I did know was that I wanted to help people and make a difference. Even though I can do that as a doctor, I knew I couldn’t handle blood or the sight of it.

While I was a junior and senior in high school, my older brother talked to me about his experience working in summer camps with children with special needs. He shared stories with me and  brought home pictures of happy children in wheelchairs and other various disabilities. I was inspired and definitely curious. I admired him and the people who he worked with. This was the first time I saw children in wheelchairs. I was like a little boy asking his dad questions about trains and cars.

In college, there was a small school where children with special needs went to school. The school for special needs children was in the School of Education building on my college campus. I thought about my brother and his stories at the camp for children with disabilities. I was interested then and wanted to work with children with disabilities as my brother did.  Towards the middle of sophomore year, I volunteered in the school. I was there 2-3 times every week balancing my studies and volunteering at the school.  There were students in wheelchairs and ambulatory students. They were all on various cognitive developmental levels. Some students had to be fed and changed having limited mobility. Some students had physical therapy, occupational therapy and vision services. After making observations, asking questions and volunteering for almost six months, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Those six months flew by and I learned so much. I was inspired and motivated to do this…  I knew my major was going to be Intensive Special Education and I knew I wanted to be a special needs teacher. I was looking forward to completing my junior and senior year in the School of Education and also received my master’s degree in Intensive Special Education. My brother and the teachers I worked with at the small school on my college campus inspired me! I came to a conclusion that all children can learn. Each child is a unique individual having their own way of learning. Each child deserves respect whether he/she has a disability or not. As I wrote in the post “A Little About Me,” My decision to become a teacher has to do with my passion to make a difference in the lives of people. My work philosophy is based on the belief that each student is a unique and valuable person who should be treated with respect. I view students in a holistic manner and acknowledge their need for support services in all areas of their development.

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A Little About Me


Welcome to My Blog

Welcome educators and families of individuals with severe special needs. This is a blog spot where ideas are shared from my classroom experience of more than 10 years! I hope you will benefit from this blog and use these ideas in your classroom or home. My name is Mary Tran. I have both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in intensive special education. I graduated from College with a masters in Special Education in the year 2000. I have been teaching students with severe special needs for thirteen years. The program where I teach serves students with severe special needs from 11 to 15 years of age. The students in this program have complex medical issues such as motor issues, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, etc. Some students are g- tube fed and have seizures. The students I have taught are significantly developmentally delayed, cognitively functioning from 0-6 years of age. I have worked in private, public and urban schools. I enjoy adapting educational materials to fit the needs of my students. I continue to explore ways to use technology in the classroom and am currently using various switches, the iPad and the Smartboard. I am continuously observing the students and their responses to create ideal objectives and goals for their IEP’s (Individualized Educational Plan).

I am a parent of 3 children who are all under the age of 7. Some ideas used in my classroom are also used at home with my children or with my students. All children benefit from structure, consistency, a schedule and routine. In this Blog, I will also share with you what I use with my children at home and some things that I use in school.

My Philosophy

I am currently a teacher for students with severe special needs. I enjoy teaching my students. I like to create the curriculum and see the curriculum   being effectively used.  I like to make goals and see them accomplished. I feel that all children can learn even with disabilities. With experience, I feel that I have a better handle on accommodations and adaptations with the curriculum. I enjoy making accommodations that work and make learning easier.
My decision to become a teacher has to do with my passion to make a difference in the lives of people. I want to be a part of the team that enlightens and informs children who are the next generation of the knowledge and necessities in life. I want children to become independent and think for themselves and make decisions for themselves that are critical to their lives. I want children to know the difference between right and wrong, hate and love and consideration and cruelty. I not only want to teach these children but teach them well. Teachers are educators and role models that start to share the knowledge and share it with others. It is like the domino effect. One person cannot educate alone and enough. One person can make a difference but people who work together can make a huge difference.
My work philosophy is based on the belief that each student is a unique and valuable person who should be treated with respect. I view students in a holistic manner and acknowledge their need for support services in all areas of their growth and development. One of my goals as a special educator is to create an individualized educational environment which will encourage and nurture each student’s strengths in order to help him or her become a full participating member of society within the context of his or her own level of independence.

My three cherubs in their asian new year outfits!


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