Special Education major, Sam Fishman is currently student teaching at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign. He says working with his 8th graders has been the highlight of his college career thus far. Sam is in a co-taught english and math period working with four students in a Tier 3 math intervention class. He says he loves building relationships with both the students and staff at Jefferson.
Sam is still trying to figure out what age and classroom he wants to teach in the field of SPED after graduation, but right now, he has his eyes set on middle or high school grades.
More about Sam
Q. What do you enjoy about your campus experience, so far?
A. Two experiences stand out to me right away. For the past 3 semesters, I was fortunate enough to represent the University of Illinois and the Office of Admissions through my work as an Illinois Student Admission Representative (ISTAR). I loved being able to lead tours and talk with prospective students about the endless possibilities Illinois has to offer. However, student teaching at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign has been the highlight of my college career thus far.
Q. How did you know you wanted to go into the field of education?
A. I was inspired to go into the field of education by my parents commitment to public service. Now retired, they both protected and served the City of Highland Park as police officers for a combined 53 years. I realized that going into criminal justice just wasn't the right career path for me and that working with kids was my calling. More specifically, students with disabilities. I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life during 2nd semester of my senior year of high school while I was the Co-President of Stevenson's Best Buddies chapter.
Q. What do you enjoy about the College of Education?
A. There's no place quite like the College of Education. I knew from my first Orange and Blue visitors day that it was going to be my home for the next 4 years. I enjoy being a part of a warm family that is always looking out for my best interest and success. More importantly, each day they challenge me to become a better educator and human.
Q. Do you have a favorite professor, or course? Why?
A. My favorite professor or teacher I've ever had was Dr. David Zola. This man was one the most compassionate, caring, and intelligent individuals I have ever met. His optimism and positivity seemed to radiate off his body and capture the attention of anyone around him. DZ taught me both valuable strategies to use in the classroom and life lessons I will carry with me forever.
Q. Fun fact about me:
A. I have a pretty mean sock collection
Q. Tell us about any research you've done and the mentorship you've received from your instructors.
A. I have been fortunate enough to participate in several research opportunities because of the James Scholar honor program. I'll share two of them... Freshman year, I worked alongside my friend and classmate Silvia Sukenic to research the effects of technology in the classroom to support students with ASD (EDUC 102). During Fall of 2018, I researched about assistive technology for individuals with physical disabilities and created a mock pitch for my amazing professor, Meghan Burke. I am excited and humbled to be working for her again this semester.