Joshua LevyElementary Education/Special Education
While at UNL, I engaged in a plethora of unique and heartfelt conversations with a diverse group of friends. In addition to a robust social life, I developed my approach to engaging learners with special needs during my time at UNL. The opportunity to teach in a classroom setting one to two times a week in a practicum as an undergraduate student was a great experience for me. The semester I was a student-teacher sealed the deal for me that I was going to pursue my lifelong career in education. Learning from brilliant and respected professors in the field of education was an added bonus to my academic pursuits in the Teacher's College. Attending football games was a huge highlight as well.
Just a few weeks after graduating I started teaching children with emotional disturbances, autism, learning disabilities, and other special needs. I continued to teach individuals with special needs at the elementary school level and I also taught high school students with special needs. I pursued a brief career in administration as an assistant principal at both the elementary and high school levels, while acquiring my Master's of Educational Administration. For nine years I worked in educational publishing as a project and program manager, and I acquired an M.B.A. along the way. The past three years I have been serving as the Founder and Executive Director for Joshua's Stage - an enrichment program for children ages 3 to 18 and adults with a wide range of special needs; featuring after-school programs, camps, workshops, performances, and exhibits in theatre arts, improv, dance, music, arts and crafts, photography, and Create-A-Story.
This question couldn't have been more timely. Last week I presented a teaching method I created called The Creative Method™, the method that we use to implement activities in Joshua's Stage, to a parent discussion group whose children have special needs. While I was preparing for the presentation, I was flooded with memories of my time at UNL, specifically in the Teacher's College. Even as I write this response, I am reflecting on: my experiences in practicums; the textbooks I read; the papers I wrote, the discussions as a cohort we had in our methods classes; my freshman year Education 101 class; learning about Piaget and Vygotsky in Educational Psychology in Mabel Hall, and my experiences while student teaching. While I was only slightly aware that great things were in store for me at the time, my experience at UNL was a significant contributing factor to my founding Joshua's Stage, and to my creating The Creative Outlet Method™.
Your experiences at UNL will take you to who you desire to be, where you want to go, and beyond. Make the most of your time at UNL, because while you can't do it all over again, you will take it with you, and it will be a strong source of catalyst and pride. Also, spend time at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery by yourself and get lost in a painting, you'll find yourself on the other side.