Ever since she saw the increasing need for special education teachers firsthand in her Chicago high school, sophomore Madison Barrera has been a strong advocate for inclusivity in the education system. Through her studies as a Special Education major and Speech Language Pathology minor, Madison is practicing the belief that educators have the power to make lasting positive impacts on every student. She says, "Our job is to keep all of our students in our minds with every decision and always demonstrate care for our students’ success."
A little bit about Madison:
Q: Where is home for you?
A: Chicago, Illinois!
Q: What is your year and major?
A: I'm a sophomore majoring in Special Education and minoring in Speech Language Pathology.
Q: What do you enjoy about the campus experience, so far?
A: So far, I have enjoyed the great friends I have made at the university! It is nice to get to know so many people with such great passions for learning!
Q: How did you know you wanted to go into the field of education?
A: Educators are a key part of society. They make lasting impacts on future generations, and I want to make a positive impact.
Q: What do you enjoy about the College of Education?
A: The College of Education is full of many hardworking, driven, and supportive people. I like the tight-knit community aspect, and that we are not afraid to speak our minds.
Q: Do you have a favorite professor or course? Why?
A: My favorite professor is Professor Poetzel in my CI 431 Teaching Mathematics course! He makes the content enjoyable to learn and has reminded me of the importance of mathematics in education.
Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?
A: I enjoy taking care of plants and gardening! I also like to go for runs and spend time outdoors.
Q: Tell us about your future career plans after graduating and why you want to pursue that field.
A: After becoming a leader in an inclusive art and physical education program in my high school, joining clubs, and volunteering, I realized the vast need for additional special education teachers, especially in Chicago. As a future educator in the city, I want to continue to make more positive impacts on our current education system and advocate for inclusivity within schools. Every student has different abilities, and it is vital for them to feel included and maintain high self-esteem when they are in school, making inclusion a beneficial aspect of the environment. As a teacher, it is quite imperative to be able to communicate fully with my students, so they are able to reach their highest academic potentials. Teachers should build meaningful relationships with every one of their students so they can feel understood, heard, and supported in their educational journey. As educators, we must always remain flexible and receptive to new ideas and keep learning every day from one another. Our job is to keep all of our students in our minds with every decision and always demonstrate care for our students’ success.
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