- For Teachers
Hello, I am applying for a Master's of Arts degree in Special Education. I am coming from four years in the fine arts where creativity is key. We had no rules. Back to reality... here is a version of my personal statement. Please make suggestions/ edits if you have time. I would really appreciate it. THANK YOUU!!!
Beginning around three years old, my mother was constantly told how much I wanted a pony. Horse toys, horse books, horse stickers, I was hooked. Little girls want a pony, but I WANT A PONY! At six years old, my mom took me to my first riding lesson at a local New Jersey horse farm. All of my show and tells, book reports, essays, were filled with information about horses and overflowing into drawings all over my notebooks. It got to the point where I would get great grades in school just to wake up at 6:00am on the weekends to pick up manure. When at home and done with schoolwork, there would be a sketchbook open full of, you guessed it, horses.
At fifteen years old, I was training thoroughbreds for the racetrack or the show ring. Then, my trainer asked if I was ready to teach a few new students. I agreed. Quickly, I realized that teaching is its own art form. Several trials and errors are made in an attempt to accurately communicate information to the individual student. Eventually, I felt as if I had found ways to efficiently progress as an instructor.
Then walked in a six year old named Anna. She was moderately autistic and I realized that I had to completely reevaluate my knowledge as an instructor. At first, Anna, her mother, and I sat in the quiet lounge and watched the people riding in the indoor ring. After two weeks, we all walked together through the barn looking at the horses, and after a few more weeks passed we pet them. One week, it was just her and I walking through the barn. We came to a large pony named Lou and she stood there touching his head, smiling. That was the first time she never looked around for her mother.
She was the bravest child I had ever met. Initially petrified, she fought through and months later was sitting on-top of her beloved, Lou. Soon, we were walking and steering around the ring while playing games. Her progress was noticed throughout her daily life. When her mother told me that her teacher was commenting on her improving communication skills, I knew that Lou had helped.
After working with Anna, I knew that I needed a career working with people who see and think a little bit differently. Personally, I shared my thoughts through the fine arts. The idea of communicating thoughts, ideas, places, etc. without using words is incredible. While reading an article in my sophomore year art class, I stumbled across an art therapist who worked with people from all backgrounds, including people with special needs. Bingo.
My college career was on its way. I had enrolled in the School of Visual Arts in New York City for a Bachelorís Degree in the Fine Arts. After graduating, my goal was to head straight for my Masterís Degree in Art Therapy. Well, that was the plan until my summer before senior year when I got accepted to join the SVA Graduate Art Therapy program for a three week course in Florence, Italy.
On one of our day trips, we visited a house where adult residents all had special needs. Two of the residents had agreed to share their artwork with us. With the help of a translator who also ran the household, we heard about their processes and reasoning of their creations. It was beautiful. Afterwards, our translator discussed her passion for working with the special needs population. She said it started when she worked with one boy who had an intellectual disability. Then, I remembered Anna.
From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to strictly go into Special Education. After some research, I realized that with a BFA there were still opportunities to get my Master of Artís Degree in Special Education. So, I continued through my senior year at SVA and graduated in May of 2009. In September, my apartment lease was up and I decided the best decision was to move back home to New Jersey until I got an opportunity for a graduate program. While home, I am taking several local opportunities to volunteer, and this is only strengthening my desire to become a Special Education teacher.
With a Masterís of Art degree in Special Education, I would be able to become a qualified teacher working within the New York City public school system, preferably in a high-needs district. I thrive off of challenges and by working with limited resources would only increase my desire to succeed. I am a firm believer that there is always a way to successfully find a positive solution. As a horse trainer, there were horses that people would give to our farm because they were deemed dangerous or useless. Those were the horses I took on who also became the most successful, even though I am sure I was thrown off of them more times than I can remember! However, those riding experiences opened up an opportunity to share my knowledge by teaching students. One of those students was Anna. By receiving my Masterís of Arts degree in Special Education I will be able to use learned tools while in school to later help people go through their daily lives a little bit easier.