UWO Special Education teachers take pride in providing the best learning environment
Emmie Stroede ’13, a special education teacher at Oaklawn Elementary School, Winneconne, spends every school day creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of her students.
In her eighth year of teaching, the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh alumnus said that no two days are alike in nature, temperament or structure.
âRight now we have a very heterogeneous group of students. I have three autistic students who do not speak, but night and day different from each other, a student with an extremely rare chromosome deletion, a student with a head trauma, a student with a physical condition affecting their brain and another with cerebral palsy. With my students’ long list of disabilities comes its own unique set of needs for which I must plan lessons and meet the physical and educational needs of my students, âexplained Stroede.
Stroede was originally drawn to special education after providing respite care for children with severe disabilities as well as austim therapy for a few students. She formalized her passion for helping her students develop their skills and independence through her degree from UWO to which she credits her success in the classroom.
âMy teachers at UWO challenged me to be organized, creative and to be able to think quickly. Time spent in class has taught me that special education is not just another teaching job; it is seeing and living life through the prism of accessibility. Educating these kids is a marathon, not a sprint, it takes pace, focus, flexibility, creativity and a crazy amount of optimism and energy, âshe said.
Supervision of future educators
Roxanne Kakreka, a UWO Cross-Category Special Education student from Schaumburg, Ill., Receives hands-on training in Stroede’s classroom as she completes her classroom teaching hours. The experience built the skills to build positive relationships with students to help them feel safe and comfortable every day.
âI grew up in an inclusive school district where peers with disabilities were integrated into my classroom. I never saw them as different, they were my friends and made a huge contribution to the classroom environment. My experience as a student teacher has reinforced the fact that every student has the ability to learn and deserves the best possible education that we can give them. I know my career in special education will help me make a positive impact on the children in my class and it will mean the world to them, âsaid Kakreka.
Stroede has been a mentor for initial and advanced practicum students at UW Oshkosh as well as those requiring hours of classroom observation. It is an important experience for everyone who comes into her classroom to understand the amount of collaboration and work it takes to be a special education teacher.
âRoxy is an incredibly caring person; she will be missed by the students when she leaves us because she has forged very strong bonds with each of them. I am so proud of how she has grown over the past few weeks – planning detailed lesson plans while considering a student’s preferences and learning needs, delegating responsibilities when needed and learning how to use teaching aids. She is also ready to volunteer her time to make sure the students have what they need to enjoy the school day. I am so proud and can’t wait to see what she does in her own classroom, âsaid Stroede.