The Viking Post

A Certain Type Of Person

Kimberly Cruz, Staff Writer, Sports Editor

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Smile comparable to the sun on a good California day; a soft refreshing glow. Eyes built around a mother’s kindness that can look on anything and find it beautiful. Such attributes are not needed to be a teacher, but for those who are commonly disregarded or turned a blind eye upon, these attributes are treasure.

Zimmer. A woman whose radiancy seeps through even a simple email.

Mrs. Zimmer-Castillo in the past pursued a different path. She was planning on teaching general education, but “I fell in love with students who have special needs. I love taking information and breaking it down to a level that students with special needs understand.”

Being a teacher is a round o’clock job. You might go home, but your job is your second shadow. A typical day varies for each different types of teachers, but for Mrs. Zimmer being a teacher lives up to this reality.

“As soon as I walk in my room at 7am my phone is ringing and then it does not stop ringing! Special Education is the biggest department on this campus, and someone will always have a question….“Zimmer is this student in RSP or SDC, Zimmer don’t forget to send me John Doe for Speech, Zimmer one of your kids got in trouble I need you to come to the office, Zimmer can I have the assessment scores for so-and-so, Zimmer come to the counseling office, Quintero needs your assistance with a special education student.” Mrs. Zimmer stated laughing to herself as a way to signal to brace yourself.

She continued, “The bell rings, and my students come in, knowing I expect them to tell me what they did in so-and-so’s class, and to show me their agenda. Next, I go down the row, “John Doe what do you need help with?” All the while the phone is ringing, my cell phone is going off with text messages from my student’s parents.”

“Next, testing period, I need to assess a student for an upcoming triennial IEP. Switching from teaching mode to assessing mode…In my mind I am thinking, don’t look at the student when they are thinking of an answer, don’t rush them, oh crap this portion is timed, this student might not do well on this part then they will shut down for the rest of the test…crap I need to keep them motivated.”

According to The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that requires that public schools create an IEP, Individualized Education Program, for every child receiving special education services. The IEP is meant to address each child’s unique learning issues and include specific educational goals. The school must legally provide everything it promises in the IEP.

“Phone rings,” Zimmer, your parent in here for your 10:15 IEP.” I grab my paperwork, and walk to N43, depending on the student, I think, “YES! This IEP will go quickly because the student is on track to graduate!” Or, “Oh nelly this student has behavior issues, and he/she is not on track to graduate, how is the parent going to take hearing this news?”

During lunchtime Mrs. Zimmer is finally get to sit down and eat with no questions, but then a student walks in saying, “Zimmer can you help me with this essay?”  

During collaboration, she walk into an English class, while the teaching is reviewing the assignment I’m responding to emails, because when else do I have time? I walk around or work in small groups helping students understand the material, the same thing happens when I go into a math class.”

Prep period is supposed to see to be a breather in between your several classes, but it’s also a time to more work done.

“Prep period…NOPE, now I have to hold another IEP or write one, or write an academic assessment report on the student I just finished testing earlier. The phone will inevitably ring, “Zimmer one of your students got in trouble I need you to come to the office, or Zimmer a parent showed up and needs to speak with you.”  I guess I am finishing this report at home. The bell rings and I pack up, walk out, going over everything in my mind I need to do tomorrow.”

Although educating other professionals to understand students with special needs, is quite though, being able to see her students understand material, and figure out how to do well on their own with the skills she’s taught them makes it worthwhile.

“ I believe God gives everyone gifts. One of mine is teaching special education. There is nothing I would rather do!!” Mrs. Zimmer stated.

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A Certain Type Of Person