We sat down with Lauren Sabawa, our Carolinas Sales Executive, to discuss how her passion for special education led her to Classworks.
Before joining Classworks, Lauren was a special educator for nine years in the New Jersey public school system.
Tell me a little about your background in teaching. As a special education teacher and interventionist, I have taught a variety of diverse learners ranging from Pre-K through fifth grade specializing in working with students with language-based learning disabilities like dyslexia. In my prior school district, I worked with some amazing colleagues as a consultant teacher to identify best practices for delivering differentiated instruction and providing academic support and behavioral management strategies for students with IEPs.
Did you know you wanted to be a special education teacher right away? Initially, no. I am dual certified in Elementary Education and Special Education and originally wanted to be an elementary teacher. I knew it was important to understand how to teach students with disabilities, especially in an inclusive environment. When I completed my Masters in Education and started applying for teaching positions, I mainly got called back for special education openings. Of course, there was an immense need, but I took it as a sign. While completing my student teaching, I was placed in a self-contained mild to moderate disabilities class. I fell in love with my students and truly saw their potential. It was challenging, but it was then that I just knew that working in special education was my niche and exactly where I wanted to be.
Tell me about when you knew you were making a difference in the classroom. Being a special education teacher is about fostering relationships in the classroom and is one of the most important aspects of effective education. Figuring out what makes a child tick can be key in helping them gain the confidence and abilities to master important life lessons and skills. Forming relationships with my students ensured I could build that trust and clarified how I could better support their learning.
What are the biggest challenges, in your opinion, for special educators? Being a teacher is difficult, but being a special education teacher is even more challenging. Special educators often are teachers of all skills and abilities and all grades. With that comes additional responsibility and challenges surrounded by unique circumstances and the tolling day-to-day emotional job demands. Special education teachers are entering the profession with limited preparation and find themselves in classrooms without support, trying to teach students with varying needs who need specialized instruction. All of these things impact the role of the special education teacher, combined with the need for more professional development, training, and resources. Then add the overwhelming documentation, federally mandated regulations, annual testing, IEP, parent meetings, limited planning time, etc.
What brought you to Classworks? When I decided to leave the classroom, I knew I wanted to stay in education but help on our larger scale. I found Classworks and was drawn to the company’s mission to provide educational equity through technology to support student's academic and behavioral needs.
Why do you feel that Classworks is an effective tool for special education teachers and students? Special education students should be provided with several opportunities to realize their potential. Classworks helps enhance students’ learning through specialized instruction that gives access to content in many ways. Teachers can target and accurately identify students' needs and have the tools needed to develop compliant, high-quality IEPs.
What problem(s) do you think Classworks solves in today's challenging educational environment? I speak with special educators at educational events who struggle to have enough time in their day but still want to help their students succeed. It is often an eye-opening revelation when I show them how Classworks can help simplify their lives with SDI and the ability to create effective and aligned IEP goals. Ultimately, we all want to help students achieve their academic potential, and Classworks allows them to do just that.
Want to know more about how to use Classworks to Create Meaningful IEP Goals? View our latest article featuring how to create high-quality IEP goals.
Your Solution for IEPs & Specially Designed Instruction
Classworks simplifies the IEP process with a research-based framework to create targeted, meaningful IEP goals, deliver academic instruction to meet goals and measure progress toward goals. To learn more about Classworks for your Special Education program, chat with us at classworks.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.