When teaching my online courses, I try to provide students with information that is “between the lines” in regards to what they may encounter as early childhood or special educators.
There are many aspects of teaching that are not covered in textbooks, journals, lectures, etc. I like to share aspects of the job that they may not be aware exist. For example, in one of my courses, we talked extensively about the importance of teamwork in providing services for children with special needs. I was a part of a very cohesive team when I taught developmental preschool. I shared with my students various techniques that I used to help build my team and to keep the members working well together. Working on a team takes hard work, respect for each member and their ideas, and the ability to delegate responsibilities. I give the students strategies for working on a team and I share various obstacles that could occur when working on a team and ways to positively work through them.
In another course, our readings provided information about the role of paraprofessionals. Having had paraprofessionals as part of my team for many years, I was able to share strategies that they could use as teachers to help the paraprofessionals on their team feel like important and effective members. I also shared ways that they could provide paraprofessionals with meaningful responsibilities and the knowledge to work effectively with students.
I often provide students with scripts that they can refer to when conferencing with parents and other professionals. One script pertains to sharing concerns with parents when a teacher has a student who demonstrates attention deficits. This gives my students a model for conversations that may occur throughout their careers.
Posting a "Burning Questions" request in the weekly forums, gives my students who are completing their student teaching, a chance to ask questions or express concerns before they enter a classroom of their own. I do this to help make their transition from GCU to their first teaching job a positive experience.
Teaching online courses and sharing my years of experience with future and current teachers has become my passion. GCU provides a great environment for individuals preparing to be teachers. I'm glad to be part of the learning environment!
After completing a 31-year career as a special and early childhood educator, I, Teri Beardsley, started a new chapter in my life, as an online instructor. I love this position and am finding great rewards in sharing my knowledge and experiences with future and current teachers.
I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Speech Pathology at Illinois State University and my Master's in Education at Northern Illinois University. I completed coursework that has enabled me to be currently certified by the state of Arizona to teach in the areas of Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disorders, Early Childhood Special Education and Elementary Education. I also have endorsements in Reading, Structured English Immersion and Early Childhood.
I recently retired after 26 years of teaching Resource, Kindergarten and Developmental Preschool in the Peoria Unified School District in Peoria, AZ. Prior to teaching in Peoria, I taught a cross -categorical classroom and Resource in a small rural district in Illinois.
I am currently the coordinator for West Valley AZ ASSIST, which is a monthly social/support group for young adults on the autistic spectrum. I am also the coordinator of a support group sponsored by Prince of Peace Episcopal Church in Glendale, for parents of children with disabilities.